I keep seeing a certain John McCain ad during the Olympics broadcast, and it seems weirder and weirder to me every time. Here is the script:
Washington’s broken. John McCain knows it. We’re worse off than we were four years ago. Only McCain has taken on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties. He’ll reform Wall Street, battle big oil, make America prosper again. He’s the original maverick. One is ready to lead: McCain.
It may well be an effective ad. After all, McCain does have the reputation as a maverick reformer no matter how much he panders to big business or how much he supports Bush policies. But the more I see the ad, the more bizarre it seems.
“Washington’s broken. John McCain knows it.” So therefore we should elect the guy who has been in Washington for almost 30 years? Interesting logic, John!
“We’re worse off than we were four years ago.” So therefore we should elect the guy who wants to extend and expand the policies of the incumbent president? Again, interesting logic! This is obviously an effort to distance himself from unpopular Bush and to show the American people that he feels their pain, but why 4 years instead of 8, since Bush has been in office for 8 years? That’s obvious — 8 years ago the government had a surplus and people thought they were doing pretty well, and a Democrat was in the White House. McCain doesn’t want to remind them of that inconvenient fact, so he tries to distance himself from Bush without directly referencing the booming Clinton years. Ergo “four years ago,” instead of “eight years ago.”
“Only McCain has taken on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties.” Well, maybe your former self did those things, but we haven’t seen that guy for years. Which brings us to the next line:
“He’ll reform Wall Street, battle big oil, make America prosper again.” He’ll reform Wall Street by allowing Phil Gramm to design his economic plan? The same Phil Gramm who was recently a lobbyist for the giant Swiss investment bank UBS, which is in all kinds of legal trouble these days? He’ll battle big oil by preaching the gospel of “drill here, drill now” at every campaign stop around the country? He’ll make America prosper again by continuing the economic policies that have, as he said earlier, made “us” worse off than “we” were four years ago.
And that “we” is dubious, since McCain himself is probably better off than ever, now that (foreign company) InBev is buying (American company) Anheuser-Busch, adding to his wife’s immense fortune. No wonder McCain answered the question “At what point — give me a number, give me a specific number — where do you move from middle class to rich? Is it 100 thousand, is it 50 thousand, is it 200?” by saying “I think if you’re just talking about income, how about 5 million. So — but seriously, I don’t think you can — I don’t think, seriously that — the point is that I’m trying to make here seriously — and I’m sure that comment will be distorted, but the point is — the point is — the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low and increase revenues.”
Five million! And that’s just income, not total wealth! Maybe he was kidding, but the point is — the point is — the point is that however you want to define “rich,” John McCain wants to make sure you understand that he will keep rich people’s taxes low. Because “we” are worse off than we were four years ago. Or something like that…
Maybe “weird” and “bizarre” aren’t the right words for this ad. Something like “nonsense” or “hogwash” might be more appropriate.