By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

McCain’s Burma shave

Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff reports that John McCain has chosen a convention chair who once worked as a lobbyist for Burma’s repressive government.

“It was six years ago,” protests Doug Goodyear. Well, gee, he’s got a point. In 2002, the military junta had only been in power for 40 years.

Even better: According to Isikoff, Goodyear got the call because the other guy McCain was considering had once represented Ferdinand Marcos as well as the corrupt former prime minister of Ukraine.

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  1. jvwalt

    Hell, isn’t everybody on the Straight Talk Express a lobbyist or former lobbyist? There’s always the chance that McCain will turn out to be Teflon — like Reagan and (to some extent) Clinton. But there’s an awful lot of bad markers around his candidacy: the cloud of lobbyists, his self-professed ignorance of economics, his seemingly slavish adoption of unpopular Bush policies (especially on Iraq), his open toadying to the hard right. In many ways, he’s reminding me of Bob Dole in 1996: past his prime, possessed of a massive sense of entitlement, and seemingly willing to jettison any principles he ever had in order to secure the nomination.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    JV: I would suggest just one correction — Iraq is something McCain had wanted to do for years. That’s why the neocons supported him instead of Bush in 2000.

  3. Anonymous

    jvwalt,”possessed of a massive sense of entitlement, and seemingly willing to jettison any principles he ever had in order to secure the nomination.”and you had to go back to 1996 to find someone like that?

  4. jvwalt

    dk: You’re right about that. What’s stunning about McCain is that he has the absolute Bushian certitude about Iraq, and a complete lack of ideas about what to do next (aside from “stay the course”). And McCain’s big asset is supposed to be defense and security??? I just don’t get it. anon: Well, no, I didn’t have to go back to 1996 to find a massive sense of entitlement. But there’s a specific type of entitlement that binds 1996 Dole and 2008 McCain: the notion that “I’ve waited a long time, and now it’s my turn.” They both remind me of kids on a playground who haven’t had a chance to use the slide yet, recess is almost over, and they’re stamping their feet and screaming, “It’s my turn! It’s my turn!” And in terms of being willing to say anything, the pre-1996 Dole and the pre-2008 McCain had reputations for independence within their own party. And each willingly abandoned any pretense of independence and turned themselves into cardboard cutouts, in order to appeal to the party base.

  5. Anonymous

    jvwalt,Thanks. Entitlement by former First Lady or first term senator=righteous pursuit of “change” but McCain is a “cardboard cutout”? You’re right, you just don’t get it.

  6. jvwalt

    Anon: Brilliant reasoning, sir or madam. Lump two separate points together, skip my line of reasoning, and dismiss me out of hand. I’ll try to explain this once more. My point about McCain turning himself into a cardboard cutout is this: Throughout his political career, McCain has tried to portray himself as a maverick and a straight talker. He’s generally been perceived that way. It’s been a cornerstone of his political persona. But during this campaign, he has changed positions on a number of issues to conform with GOP orthodoxy (two examples: endorsing the Bush tax cuts and backtracking on immigration), and he has cozied up to people he used to excoriate, like the late Jerry Falwell. I watched Bob Dole do exactly the same thing in 1996. It bought him the grudging support of the hard right, but it also stripped away much of his authenticity. McCain has gone down that same road. Every politician temporizes, compromises, and changes positions in an effort to advance him/herself. I won’t deny that. But I see a specific (and sad) parallel between McCain and Dole.

  7. mike_b1

    jvwalt: don’t waste your time debating an anonymous poster. Just say, “Sorry, you’re right. I meant the poor man’s version of Mr. Burns, only older.”

  8. Anonymous

    Good point, Mike! We all know anonymous posters can’t make valid arguments. Signed Jack HoffA.K.A. “Anonymous II”Date of Birth: 1/17/70Social Security # – 093-78-9399Address: 333 Birch Parkway, Passaic NJFavorite food: Arugula

  9. mike_b1

    I see Old Man McCain is posting here now, too. Good for you, DK!

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