How to win friends and influence people: Two of our leading lights this week showed how it’s done. Our dear president turned attention away from the massacre at the nearby Navy Yard by rounding up a pitiful score of hostages who, standing sullenly behind him, had to listen as he rat-a-tat-tatted at imaginary Republicans this way and that way. He had a satisfying hunt. Those new layers of contempt and smugness have yet to remove themselves from his permanent sneer.
Then there was the Señor Senator from Arizona who, unlike the man who defeated him, responded in kind to the mighty Presidential Tsar of Russia in everyone’s favorite Cyrillo-Leninoid spreadsheet, Pravda. For the first time in its hoary history the paper even contained some truth. “I am not anti-Russian,” Dzhon Makkeyn began. “I am pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today.” And he never let up and he got very personal. Too bad, of course, that he wasn’t Russian enough to talk that way when it mattered five Siberian winters ago.
At least one Russian reader was moved. “Meester Makkeyn, I’m tired of waiting with the rest of the Russian people on the road to happiness. I’ll ask straight out: where can I obtain an American passport? The air ticket I can purchase myself.”
Alas, others in the senator’s international audience were less impressed. “It seems that Putin wrote about the problem at hand which is Syria and not bad mouthed Obama or no one else,” is how Luigi put it.
“Dear Russians, as a Westerner, I wish to say I am bloody ashamed at this bloody sycophant's opinionated article,” a nameless Tweeter tutted.
“Stay calm, stay calm, mister McCain,” Anton advised. “Do not try to learn us…” (All right, so he was one Child Left Behind.)
But no one outdid the bold Olka Molka, who hiding behind Dostoevsky thundered: “Mr. McCain, you are an embarrassment to the human race! Please, read some Russian literature and travel to Russia for at least ONE discussion conference with the global leaders…. America deserves better than Sen. McCain!”
If so, that would have to be the one and only Miss Meghan McCain, who’s back in our lives with a wicked new televised talk show, Raising McCain. It’s not clear where it’s running, though by most accounts it’s not on Al Jazeera or even Pravda TV. The show does deal with pressing issues of the day. “Are we f---ed as a culture?” the hostess asks, subconsciously/rhetorically, before moving on to one of her first guests, a porn star. All this in between an interview with the L.A. Times in which she confesses to having doubts about the source of her appeal. “What scares me is that inevitably, when this show comes out, there will be some commentator someplace that will say I'm a fat whore,” she frets. Before Mr. Eliot Spitzer comes calling, let us remind ourselves that Ms. McCain remains determined to broaden the appeal of the Republican Party.
Just as our Mr. President remains determined to broaden the appeal of the United States internationally. Some key appointments are paving the way. There is for instance the Hon. James Costos, the Hollywood-based HBO honcho who recently was confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra. He and his partner Mike raised big bucks for their appointer’s re-election last year, at least $500,000, according to Variety (or least six times that, according to the Free Beacon), which would have come to a lot of pesetas -- some 61.5 million by pre-euro estimates, in clear violation of international campaign finance laws. (If the Free Beacon is correct, the case would be beyond the ken of the World Court at The Hague.)
Just to rub it in, the unshaven Ambassador Costos and the State Department have now released a tape of greeting to his Spanish and Andorran hosts. “¡Hola! Soy James Costos,” it begins. “Seven years ago my partner, Michael, and I made our first trip to Spain,” it goes on. “Since then we have returned nearly every year to explore the different areas of your fascinating country,” it notes, before bowing to you-know-who when the ambassador adds: “In Spain, Mike and I plan to showcase American culture similar to the way the first lady and President Obama have done at the White House.” But then comes the fun part, as the ambassador introduces his and Mike’s offspring, if you will: their three wonderful doggies. Alas, only one of them, Lily, will be coming to Spain with them. The other two presumably will be enrolled at school in their native California.
Now, if we can be serious for a moment, there’s something disturbing here. Nowhere in the tape are we told whether James and Michael are married. Spain is a deeply traditional and perhaps still religious country. Shouldn’t its sensitivities be respected? C’mon, Jim, make an honest man out of Mike.
But more importantly, it’s easy to be trendy in a place like Spain. How long must the world wait before the State Department and a new ambassador dare to direct a similar tape at, say, Vladimir Putin & Co.? If we’re going to showcase Obama culture, hop to it. If we can’t be ourselves vis-à-vis the new Russia, those responsible for such a cowardly state of affairs will remain permanently pinned as lowly EOWs.