Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Opinion

McCain on Romney: epithet to endorsement

In their book Game Change, a brutal account of the inner machinations of the 2008 presidential campaign, authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin recount a moment when Sen. John McCain — a noted poet in the fine art of delivering profanities, obscenities and raunchy language salty enough to make Louis C.K. blush — described Mitt Romney as a huge … and a flaming … well, it's on page 294 if you're interested.

But earlier this week, the former failed Republican presidential candidate extolled Romney as a potential leader of the Free World, even calling his former rival a "hero" and "great friend," which in pol-speak really means: "You're still a …" Oh, just go to page 294.

This from a chap who couldn't even abide standing next to Romney at a men's room urinal before a candidate debate.

Romney also has snared that critical nod from Bob Dole, another losing presidential candidate, which should lock up the cranky octogenarian vote; as well as Christine O'Donnell's pivotal support, capturing the all-important Wiccan community. Perhaps it's not too late for a pat on the back from the Thomas Dewey estate.

Of course, McCain blew up his own presidential bid when he concluded that Sarah Palin, the Ma Kettle of the tea party, had presidential timber. So it may be something of a mixed blessing to be on the receiving end of a political air kiss from someone with all the political judgment of Nouri al-Maliki, who thought everything was going to be swell once U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq.

In any event, what was McCain to do, except endorse a man with all the warmth and charisma of Mr. Spock, only without the saucy sense of humor?

He could have thrown his lot in with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who endorsed McCain as well back in 2008. But who would have paid any attention since Huntsman has been pulling in polling numbers just behind Thomas Pynchon?

How about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who seems to take pride in being more illiterate about civics, history, current events and how government works than Idi Amin? Not even McCain is that crazy.

Newt Gingrich could be a possibility, but since Newt Gingrich has already won the golden Newt Gingrich endorsement, there isn't much room for anyone else.

Ah, Ron Paul. You would think McCain might welcome the chance to throw a bone to the one guy in the race who is older than he is, but alas the senator opted for the youth movement in going with the 64-year-old Romney.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was never a lady-in-waiting possibility for McCain. Why? See page 294. While McCain may well despise Romney for being a huge this and that, he really abhors Santorum.

The problem is the Eddie Haskell of the cloakroom has a long, historic pattern of saying incredibly dense, obtuse and just plain stupid stuff. It was evidenced a few days before the sham Iowa coffee-klatch caucuses when Santorum said he "didn't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money."

There are several problems with this addled insight, not the least of which was Santorum's delusional reasoning that only black people benefit from public assistance. The NAACP endorsement would now seem to be problematic.

At the same time, when Santorum uttered his views on social policy, he apparently didn't know that in the state of Iowa, 74 percent of Medicaid recipients happen to be rather white, which might suggest the former senator has no problem making their lives better by giving them somebody else's money.

Making matters worse was Santorum's insistence he never really uttered the word "black," although it's clearly heard on the video of the moment. This is the sort of thing that happens when you begin to rise in the polls — cameras follow you around, preserving for posterity that you're denser than a black hole.

Santorum also did himself no favors with McCain when he once patronizingly suggested, as he defended waterboarding of terrorism suspects, that his Senate colleague didn't understand how torture works. Now John McCain may have his faults, but if anyone would understand how torture works, or perhaps doesn't, it would be a man who spent years being tortured by the North Vietnamese as a prisoner of war.

Little wonder then that Romney looms Churchillian-like in this field of GOP presidential pretenders, worthy of McCain's imprimatur even though he regards the former Massachusetts governor as a conniving, flip-flopping, opportunistic huckster. But at least he's consistent.

Even better yet, he's no Rick Santorum, the sage of the sagacity-challenged, page 294 notwithstanding.

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