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Death of a Salesman

Touching back briefly on the week-long Saint John Mccain media production:  I happened to catch a few choice minutes of the coverage this morning, reverential play-by-play from the dutiful CBS This Morning crew, segueing into the eulogies. I caught a taste of Addison McConnell's song-and-dance, before Poly Rayon stepped up to the mic.

I don't even recall what either of them said, and obviously it matters not at all. Ultimately, this week was about the media and their narrative regarding Poor Ol' Straight Talk, and his mavericky maverickness. He gave them that narrative, and they were happy to take it and use it.

Since McCain famously disinvited our petulant toddler-king, and good on him for that, the week's narrative was peppered by countless jeremiads about how McCain was too good for Clownstick. And that part is true enough -- McCain was a thousand times the man Fuckface Von Clownstick could ever aspire to be. Balls, charm, and a real sense of humor, all things that Clownstick thinks he has, but is in fact entirely bereft of.

But the thing is, while the mediots were getting their pants charmed off by McCain, who instinctively understood the long-lasting power of simply having a journo hand him their phone so he could say hi and pop off a joke or two to their relatives or friends, they surrendered their vaunted objectivity without even realizing it.

The focus has been on the toddler-king and his daily tweetkake tantrums, but everything that's actually been pushed through has been with McConnell and Ryan doing the heavy lifting -- and with McCain's assent ninety-five percent of the time. The difference between them being at the funeral service and Clownstick being disinvited is one of style points. Clownstick was excluded less because he's an asshole in general and damaging the country, and more because he was an asshole to McCain.

As mentioned before, McConnell is about to steal a second SCOTUS seat in less than two years, under nakedly hypocritical means. McCain supported the investiture of Neil Gorsuch, which required poaching Obama's right as President to nominate a replacement for Fat Tony Scalia. McCain could have resigned after announcing his terminal condition -- indeed, he could have resigned any time before May 30th -- and given Arizonans a chance to elect his successor in a special election. He opted not to do so, and it's hard to imagine that that calculation wasn't mostly political.

I don't mean to piss on McCain's grave, believe it or not; I can even give him some benefit of the doubt and accept the distinct possibility that, given his service and his temperament, he may sincerely have felt that dying in the saddle -- in office -- was more befitting of a warrior. But everything that came before that belied the idea that he was ever a "maverick" or a "rebel" or any of that.

He was a salty dog who paid his dues and could call "bullshit" on people once in a great while, and like every politician would tend to over-assert his supposed rebellious tendencies. What's different here is how the media lapped it up, and elevated him to hero status, and will always hew to that particular narrative. And it's for the most venal and self-serving reasons.

Because he was funny and nice to them, and always ready to jump on the Sunday follies when they needed a body to warm a chair. Because he remembered their first names when he ran into them, asked how their parents and spouses and kids were doing. Because they need it to sell their existential political drama, since the dry mechanics and procedure of real political operations doesn't sell tampons and cheeseburgers and pharmaceuticals to the rubes watching the official catechisms.

But the toddler-king (for the millionth time) is a symptom and not the disease, and the Republican party is Typhoid Mary at this point. McConnell and Ryan are the chief architects of the current political plague, merrily spreading it here and everywhere, aided and abetted by Huckleberry Closetcase and Saint Orrin Hatch and the assholes from Texas and Wyoming and Iowa and other states. And to a lesser extent, they have been assisted in their efforts by supposed apostates like Jeff Flake and Bob Corker and their ilk, gutless assholes who tweet with firm conviction, and then go right back to voting for every bit of the ongoing skullfuckery.

And that's really where McCain lands with that crowd in the end -- he'd buck for the cameras and make it appear like he disagreed with his colleagues, and maybe even insist on material changes or even vote against whatever perfidy they were dishing out any given Sunday. But in the end he rarely deviated from the party line. And again, that's politics, we understand what's going on there.

It just becomes tiresome and unseemly to watch the media (collectively and as individuals) fawn and preen and bloviate over things that simply aren't accurate. A real maverick and patriot would have stood up to the vile machinations of McConnell and Ryan, especially in a Senate that usually takes just one or two votes to make a difference. A person who truly put country and principles over the party line would have used his massive media presence and goodwill to lobby for those changes, to do what was right. Instead he went right along with stealing that Supreme Court seat, which will have repercussions for at least forty years; he voted for the tax cuts for people who already have more money than they could possibly ever spend, because this country's economy is simply not quite consolidated into few enough hands.

Again, this is not to condemn McCain, who did politicians do -- promise one thing and do another. The condemnation is reserved for the media, who need to be better at their jobs before tragedy strikes and everyone's reluctant to say anything even mildly untoward about the afflicted. Even way back in 2008, when Johnny Mac finally got his tilt at the windmill, and ran a hopelessly cynical, asinine campaign before pulling the trigger on the Arctic Sorceress, as a desperation move, they covered him exactly how they cover him now.

It seems to mostly come down to access, as if that should be some sort of useful commodity in Serious Journalism. I mean, think about it -- if your efforts to get a story on this or that politician mostly revolve around getting access to them, how are you ever going to find out anything about them that isn't straight up PR jabber? Obviously, you need some access to get to the right people who actually know things that you can then verify and corroborate, but your absolute best hope in talking to the politicians themselves is that you goad them into saying something stupid or career-ending.

The media (and yes, I am over-generalizing a bit; there are some notable exceptions) really need to start taking this more seriously. Because the toddler-king wants a slice of their asses, and they think that something -- the vaunted institutions; established laws; an engaged citizenry -- will step in to protect them. And so far, none of those entities have stepped in. And they're not going to, either before or after the midterms. Institutions are made up of individuals, and all of those individuals are as committed to their respective teleologies as the mediots are to theirs.

Even if the blue tsunami is not blunted by the various means of election tampering that are already being employed (voter roll purging, precinct closing, etc.), and even if we are somehow rid of that thing in the fucking White House sooner rather than later, it's going to be a rough haul. Because the corporate media want things to go back to the way they were, when everyone in Washington was cordial and played nice and had fun little parties with appletinis and such, where the journos could bend elbows with the movers and shakers and Everyone Got Along.

Mind you, wages were still stagnant and wealth was still transferred upward and socialism was only for the wealthy, but there was politeness and decorum. That's what they really want back, the fun of it all. And John McCain, bless his cranky old soul, was certainly the avatar of that.


This post first appeared on Hammer Of The Blogs, please read the originial post: here

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Death of a Salesman

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