Big small deals
Here I am trying to figure out whether Just Words was a small big deal or a big small deal -- and now this
about McCain. The two incidents do have something in common: They ding the characters of Obama and McCain. But they're not big deals on their own. They're big small deals that could add up to something more serious later. File them in the back of your mind for future Belichick-like tendency references. ...
As for McCain, the much dreaded/anticipated NYT story is just an attempt to rehash the Keating Five scandal -- something that was going to be rehashed sooner or later. But the somewhat flimsy piece uses an eight-years-ago flirtatious relationship with a then-30something lobbyist to show that Mr. Integrity still has flaws. Well, no shit. He's flawed. One of McCain's mistakes has been to set himself up as a pious I Cannot Tell A Lie pol. It's almost ridiculous. I've never liked his Straight Talk Express schtick. McCain showed only a few days ago that his straight talk can be bent. (Google "McCain and torture and pander" to see my point.) He's now being measured by the press in the same way he says he measures himself. He asked for it. But that doesn't mean we have to measure him in the same way he measures himself. Compared to other Washington pols and presidential candidates (hello there, Mitt), McCain, by and large, is a principled guy who's not afraid to take unpopular stands in the middle of an election (such as supporting the surge in Iraq and immigration reform). Yet he's also a little bit of a bombastic loose cannon, sort of like Nicolas Sarkozy, though no one can quite match Sarko (check out his latest poll numbers
). We'll have to live with McCain's pious flaws if he's elected president. We'll have to live with Obama's pious flaws if he's elected president (assuming he gets past Billary). But I don't mind. The two are overrated. But at least they're not Mitt or Hillary. Thank God. ...Update
-- Tufts University's Danial Drezner
: 'As a potential Obama-can, I'm still on the fence.' ...Update II
-- 'McCain vows war with NYTimes'
... Notice there's a pandering anti-NYT component to the counterattack strategy. ... P.S. - I liked this Marc Ambinder
line: "There's lots of fairly well-reported innuendo about a lobbyist named Vicki Iseman and a well-written recapitulation of the case against McCain as a good judge of optics... ... but nothing to suggest that McCain compromised his political principles." Well, he did get close to her and took a ride on her client's corporate jet. But agreed: no big deal. I regret putting the word 'somewhat' before 'flimsy' above.