McCain jumps the shark

Skipping a classified briefing on Benghazi to demand an investigation of Benghazi was a bridge too far.

It appears that even some media outlets are getting tired of John McCain’s shtick. His decision to skip a classified Senate Intelligence Committee briefing about what happened in Benghazi in order to hold a press conference demanding a Watergate-style special committee to investigate what happened in Benghazi was a bridge too far.

Most of McCain’s Republican colleagues also played hooky. As Andrew Sullivan Tweeted, “Why seek answers when you already know them from Fox conspiracy dept?”

McCain & Co. are ghouls, feeding on the bodies of the dead. Decent people should cross the street to avoid encountering any of them.

Yes, we all know that you Republicans hate the fact that Obama is not running the sort of crooked, scandal-ridden administration that Bush II, Reagan, and Nixon ran. But he isn’t. Deal with it.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

27 thoughts on “McCain jumps the shark”

  1. Thank you for saying this. The “ghouls” line seems pretty accurate. McCain et al. don’t actually care about the four dead servicemen. What they care about is the political ammunition that they feel it gives them.

    Seven embassies were attacked during the Bush administration (Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Serbia, Greece, Syria, and Pakistan) and yet did you see McCain and Lindsey Graham raising a stink then? No.

  2. I just had a running argument with a fellow I know who insisted on saying Obama and his campaign acted like “thugs” in this recent campaign. I cited a dictionary meaning of the term “thugs” and showed how ridiculous it was to apply to Obama and his campaign advisers. I also said I would never have used that term for Lee Atwater or Karl Rove, who played much harder ball than any of the Obama advisers. I stated there is a pattern of racially charged epithets thrown Obama’s way that are hyperbolic and are really designed to de-legitimize Obama.

    I am still hoping Obama develops a backbone and stops talk about “Grand Bargains” involving Soc Sec, Medicare and the like, and already know it is too much to expect him to reject the Trans Pacific Trade Treaty. But I continue to defend Obama from these racially tinged and delusional attacks.

    1. While poking around in the foetid swamp of right-wing blogs, I have seen Obama called a “thug” over and over again. It’s pretty clear to me that they call him a thug because calling him a nigger would be bad for business, but that’s what they mean. I mean, really, the cool, cerebral, elegant Barack Obama is about as far from thuggishness as you can get. Compare and contrast with actual thugs like Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

      1. While it’s true that LBJ was willing to kill me in Vietnam (if I hadn’t stayed in college and then gotten a lottery number above 195), his famous thuggery was directed at Congress on behalf of Medicare and The Civil Rights Act. In consideration of these, I would rate him a “tragic figure”.

    2. “I stated there is a pattern of racially charged epithets thrown Obama’s way that are hyperbolic and are really designed to de-legitimize Obama”

      So using the term “thug” in reference to the President and his advisors is obviously racially charged whereas the use of “Rethuglicans” is what exactly?

      1. an accurate description of many of their tactics- as when their mobs shut down Florida vote counting to get Bush II in and their efforts to keep voters away from the polls through corrupt laws and disinformation in this election.


      2. Frankly, I would be quite happy if we all stopped using those stupid portmanteaus, which are neither clever nor useful.

        1. I’m with you on that. I find even non-derogatory nicknames unhelpful and less than clever. It never fails to amuse me when Democrats refer to “the GOP”, lending undue legitimacy to the self-honorary title and ceding it to a rival party established 22 years after their own. The Democrats could learn a thing or two about branding from the Republican party.

          1. I stopped using “GOP” as small retaliation for “Democrat Party.” I figure I don’t have to be insulting but I don’t have to be actively affectionate either.

  3. Tactics aside, I wonder whether McCain’s thinking really has drifted toward the paranoid style. (I mean in Hofstadter’s sense, not clinically.) This is far from the first malignant Obama conspiracy he’s fixated on; in fact, it’s been one thing after another ever since he came back from 2008. (It initially seemed likely he was just talking crazy to outflank JD Hayworth — not an easy task — in advance of the Aug 2010 primary, but he never really returned to reality after that.) His political organization at home, which traditionally had had fraught relations with the lunatic fringe, has lately taken to cultivating every demagogue and paranoid kook in the state — 10, 20, 100 Sarah Palins.

    1. If “paranoid style ” includes the love of spite then I am with you. McCain wanted to be President when he grew up. And he got really close once.
      And then a smart, Harvard educated, non-military, younger, well-spoken, basketball-playing black guy punched that light out on him forever.

      To understand the full effects of this on McCain, always consider this item drawn from his own biography:

      That temper has followed him throughout his life, McCain acknowledges. He recalls in his writings how, as a toddler, he sometimes held his breath and fainted during moments of fury.

      Can anybody think of any other creature, great or small, on god’s green earth that would hold it’s breath to fainting out of rage?
      You can’t. McCain is, and always has been, a freak of nature. He jumped the “snark” a long long time ago…

      [Quote source:

      1. Yeah, that was a thing kids did. I haven’t heard of it in a long time, but it used to merit a paragraph or two in childrearing advice books back in the fifties or so.

        It must be one of those disorders that manifests in a certain time and culture.

        1. And the advice in the childrearing books was to ignore it.

          It is amusing in a child: there is no way a kid can hurt himself by holding his breath. It isn’t amusing in McCain — perhaps he has found a way to harm himself, though.

        2. My oldest child did this when he was a toddler. I don’t think it was a deliberate thing, and I would hesitate to draw grand psychological or sociological conclusions from the fact that someone else did it.

        1. In terms of ‘jumping the shark’, I seriously ask when McCain was pre-jump, so to speak.

          And I’m not talking about his ‘maverick’ reputation among pundits, because they wouldn’t know a maverick from a jackelope.

  4. McCain has gotten a pass for far too long. I remember watching one of the Sunday morning gabfests during the 2008 campaign. John Kerry pointed out that McCain had flip-flopped on some particular issue, which was a matter of demonstrable fact, and Bob Schieffer got a look on his face as if someone had pissed in the punchbowl and said: “Are you challenging Senator McCain’s integrity?” I was hoping Kerry would channel Mae West, who, when told by some pompous ass that “My integrity has never been questioned,” sweetly replied, “Questioned? I’ve never even heard it mentioned.”

    1. McCain “jumped the shark” decades ago. Democrats just didn’t recognize it until he abandoned his habit of crossing the aisle to help pass Democratic bills.

      You’ll overlook a lot in the other party’s “mavericks”, as long as they remain that. But McCain has been an ass with temper problems from a long way back.

  5. Nicely summarized, Mr. Kleiman. Fact based, punchy, to the point. When us commie-socialist-Murrica-hating libruls steal Team Red’s strongest asset – messaging – well, you get Bobby Jindal, sounding quite sincere in his repudiation of everything FoxCo. Leave no vacuum unfilled.

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