Knock on wood, but it's feeling like Team Obama has run a damn near flawless campaign as we count down to D-Day, when we all decide whether we desire a serene, cerebral, empathetic person in the White House, or we choose another emotionally stunted Top Gunner who is destined to work out his daddy issues in public until his dying day.
Who is any pundit to say that Team Obama could've done this, or that, to bolster his numbers heading in to Tuesday? As someone who popped the Champagne cork prematurely in 2004, and blared "No Surrender" on the stereo while the soulless operatives were working feverishly to snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat, I must unload every kitchen sink at my disposal, to insure that Team McPalin's effort is rewarded with the disposition that is just for such a cynical bunch of wretches: the political graveyard reserved for losers who lost without a shred of dignity or decency.
The one kitchen sink that I see as the heaviest, and most effective in potentially yanking any waffler from their side to ours, is a story about John McCain that has made the rounds somewhat like a half ass version of the Wave at a stadium. The anecdote, which says as much as I need to hear about what a monumental hothead John McCain is, took place in 1992. The author Cliff Schecter, in his book The Real McCain, broke the story, and I tracked him down to shed some light on McCain's despicable conduct, which was witnessed by three reporters in Arizona. McCain, then 56, was on the campaign trail with his second wife, Cindy. As Schecter recounts, Cindy was standing with her hubby, and two McCain aides. She twirled his hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there. " McCain blushed, and responded with a level of vehemence that any fence sitter pondering voting for a man who seems to view wars as his version of Viagra has to see as simply scary: "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." Three reporters, Schecter says, were present for this disgusting display, which is an unpardonable offense for any man, of any age, and any stripe. Jaws hit the floor, Cindy McCain was aghast...and John McCain's considerable bellicosity flared to a new level of vulgarity and inappropriateness.
I ask you, fence sitter, do you want this guy, who demeaned his wife like that, meeting with any foreign head of state who may not see eye to with this nation? Mind you, this incident occurred when McCain was 56 years old. Not that it could be excused if he were 16, or 26, or 36, but we have to presume that an adult who had served 10 years in Congress has attained a measure of civility and serenity at that age. Not McCain. His bellicosity, which has merely been hinted at in the last ten months, as he's been termed "erratic" and such, is the sort of character trait that could draw the country into a quagmire with a nation more able to muster a mighty response than Iraq. Really, do you want McCain working off his daddy issues with Medvedev, or his puppetmaster, Putin?
Schecter does not.
"The Obama people have not pushed the temperament issue as much as they could've," Schecter told me. "That's probably because there's so much other stuff out there. The Obama team has done a good job, they've brought it up in subtle ways, contrasting McCain with Obama, through people like Colin Powell, and Bill Weld."
Schecter also theorizes that Obama strategists didn't want to risk their man falling into a common stereotype. "They perhaps didn't want him to be perceived as "the angry black man." Schecter likens Obama to the Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball's color line in 1947, and did so in a most dignified manner. He never responded to taunts and slights, and instead chose to let his superior play speak for him.
Schecter, by the way, spent 10 ten days in Arizona a year ago gathering info for his book. A GOP operative first told him about the "cunt" incident, and gave Schecter the name of a reporter who was present. That journalist corroborated the story, and told Schecter he was tempted to run with it at the time, but chose not to. That reporter is still in the business, in Arizona, as is one other journalist, in another state. The other journalist/witness has left that field.
So, why didn't McCain's public display make the papers back then? The first Arizona pressman Schecter reached spoke to his editor at the time, and it was decided the story wasn't appropriate to share. As Schecter points out, this was before l'affaire Lewinsky, and the press was less inclined to traffic in spicier fare. "There was some regret" subsequently, Schecter said, but later, the anecdote was deemed too stale to share.
Nonsense, I say. If Team McCain can point to his military service (from 1958-1981) and POW status (1967-1973) as resume bullet points that speak to his character, then I can argue with complete confidence that an ultra-ugly blowup from 1992 is fair game.
Schecter's shocking get has made Vanity Fair, the NY Daily News, the New Yorker, US News and World Report, and the Daily Show. But I say it deserves the level of press attention reserved for attractive blond women who have been kidnapped, at least a full news cycle. Schecter agrees.
"This incident says that John McCain doesn't have the temperament to be President," he said. "He's explosive."
Any of you fence-sitters who need another example or three of McCain's volcanic temper, which could easily lead us into World War III, should hurry up an get overnight Amazon shipping of "The Real McCain."
This nation must seek to find a leader who possesses NONE of the qualities that have made Bush such a colossal failure, and if they choose McCain, they are choosing someone with a similar level of petulance, but a stronger inclination to ratchet a confrontation to the level of violence. Schecter said that he doesn't want to play shrink, but offers that it is reasonably obvious, even to the layperson, that McCain has spent his life trying to measure up to and surpass his father, as has Bush: "Obama has this serenity, and doesn't feel the need to posture and surpass his father. He's confident in who he is."
Finally, I'm guessing that this story hasn't gotten more play because of our national timidity and Puritanism. Because people aren't comfortable with saying or hearing the word "cunt" employed as an epithet, does not mean we should ignore a most meaningful incident, which speaks loudly to the character of the man who deems himself worthy to hold this nation's highest office. I say, spread the word, tell anyone you might know who can't decide between McCain and Obama about McCain's propensity for volcanic eruptions against loved ones and colleagues.
Truly, John McCain is not a man suited to inhabit the oval office. Heading a Rageaholics Anonymous meeting, maybe, POTUS, no way.