In The New Republic, Michael Crowley
attempts to describe McCain and Obama as
remarkably similar. Opening line:
Though they differ in many ways,
John McCain and Barack Obama have one thing in common: Each sees
the other as a posturing phony.
Go ahead and read it and come back (quickly, please, I don’t want
to lose you). Crowley goes on to describe ways in which McCain has
questioned the authenticity of Obama’s “reformist” credentials
(through “sarcasm” and “contempt”), while Obama has done the same
to McCain (through “cracks” and “snickers”). But I don’t quite get
The piece only dishes on McCain’s temper and Obama’s
partisanship. So when Crowley describes both as being equally
unwilling to meet in the middle (“Still, for all their talk of
bipartisanship, neither man had demonstrated much of it”), I’m left
scratching my head.
All of Crowley’s sources admit that Obama really was “carrying
water” for Harry Reid. Nowhere does Crowley show that McCain was
doing the same for the Republicans — in fact he does quite the
opposite by referencing McCain’s “sense of honor” that was offended
by Obama’s failure to live up to his word on crossing the aisle.
Meanwhile, conservatives remember well enough McCain’s willingness
to cross them the aisle.
The biggest problem with this approach is the weight placed on
McCain’s temper. We’ve already seen this story. We haven’t seen the
story (and badly needed Crowley to write) about Obama sheepishly
bowing to party pressure and playing the Senate freshman. In this
sense, it’s pretty clear who’s playing phony.
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