Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cry-Baby McCain

Woe to the land that's governed by a child.
Richard III. 2. 3

McCain’s Green-Eyed Monster
Published: August 5, 2008

If you came to Maureen Dowd today expecting more petty nit-picking of Barack Obama, you are bound to be disappointed. Instead, she has pointed her laser wit at his Republican rival and found him lacking. Part of it she sees as an age versus youth case of envy which she casts into Shakespearean terms with references to Othello, Richard III and Richard Nixon (okay, the last one isn’t a Shakespearean tragedy, but it should be)
Not since Iago and Othello obsessed on the comely Cassio, not since Richard of Gloucester killed his two nephews, not since Nixon and Johnson glowered at the glittering J.F.K., has there been such an unseemly outpouring of boy envy.
And just to dig at McCain’s grumpy old man persona a little bit more, she compares him to Fred Mertz from the I Love Lucy show in her own version of Spy magazine’s Separated at Birth™

“Now somebody else is the celebrity,” the colleague continued, while John looks in the mirror and sees his face marred by skin cancer and looks at the TV and sees his dashing self-image replaced by visions of William Frawley, with Letterman jokes about his membership in the ham radio club and adventures with wagon trains.
Green is the color of envy and Maureen’s favorite shade is pea-green. Hillary turned this hue back in February when Obama’s star was rising. Now it’s McCain’s turn to drink the Hulk juice.
Now John McCain is pea-green with envy. That’s the only explanation for why a man who prides himself on honor, a man who vowed not to take the low road in the campaign, having been mugged by W. and Rove in South Carolina in 2000, is engaging in a festival of juvenilia.
Her thesis is that McCain, supposedly the straight talking-elder statesman is the one acting like a petulant child.
The Arizona senator who built his reputation on being a brave proponent of big solutions is running a schoolyard campaign about tire gauges and Paris Hilton, childishly accusing his opponent of being too serious, too popular and not patriotic enough.
At Sulzberger High, where Maureen Dowd is the Prom Queen, Obama is the valedictorian and McCain is the leather (flight) jacketed greaser making a jerk of himself.
For McCain, being cool meant being a rogue, not a policy wonk; but Obama manages to be a cool College Bowl type, which must irk McCain, who liked to play up his bad-boy cool. Now the guy in the back of the class is shooting spitballs at the class pet and is coming off as more juvenile than daring.
Maureen blames this change of character on a Rove minion that has taken over the campaign. Steve Schmidt even comes with his own Rude Name® that predates his appearance in a Dowd column.
McCain upbraids Obama for being a poppet, while he’s becoming a puppet. His mouth is moving but the words coming out belong to his new hard-boiled strategist, Steve Schmidt, a Rove protégé, nicknamed “The Bullet” for his bald pate.
The poppet/puppet play is a particularly effective Alliteration Alert® and to close the dressing down she gives Maverick, she goes the Dowdversion® route.
Schmidt has turned Mr. Straight Talk into Mr. Desperate Straits. It’s not a good trade.
But since nothing political can’t be backtracked to a Clinton, she brings out the b-words show that even the Big Dog is a little bitter.
Unlike his wife, Bill Clinton — the master of fake sincerity — still continues to openly begrudge his party’s betrothed.
I hope this latest column silences the DowdHaters that claim she only attacks Democratic candidates. Today she has really cut McCain down to size without once effeminizing Obama. She must be serious. And that's no kidding.

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

If McCain is Fred Mertz, does that make Joe Lieberman Ricky Riccardo?

Anyway, I'm not sure Dowd pulls off the "festival of juvenilia" word play. Clearly she's toying with several elements here: the satirist Juvenal and the festivals at which his works were performed, the literary term "juvenilia," and the overall idea of what today's readers would see as juvenile behavior -- but I think Dowd takes too much license with the term "juvenilia." Worse, an unsuspecting reader might assume that "juvenilia" is an adolescent--specific form of pedophilia. And I'd hate to see that rap get hung on Fred Mertz.