John McCain appears to be a little bit testy these days. Time Magazine gets to step into the dusty confines of the press area on the Amazing Flying Straight Talk Express, and gets a face full of grizzled obstinance for their trouble.
There’s a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?
Read it in my books.
I’ve read your books.
No, I’m not going to define it.
But honor in politics?
I defined it in five books. Read my books.
[Your] campaign today is more disciplined, more traditional, more aggressive. From your point of view, why the change?
I will do as much as we possibly can do to provide as much access to the press as possible.
But beyond the press, sir, just in terms of …
I think we’re running a fine campaign, and this is where we are.
Do you miss the old way of doing it?
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
It would be irresponsible not to ask…is John McCain Kodos? It not only sounds like he had no desire to do the interview, but that he’s utterly unfamiliar with the concept of conversation between two human beings beyond the snippets he caught watching from his spaceship. He sounds addled and angry, burdened by the simplest of questions. If John “I Drink Patriotism And Piss Honor” McCain can’t define the basic concept of his campaign beyond “go read my books, kid”, he not only has problem but – dare I say? – sounds like a prima donna professional athlete who can’t be bothered to sign an autograph or even say “Go Team” without cash in his hand and an endorsement deal on the table.
In 2000, after the primaries, you went back to South Carolina to talk about what you felt was a mistake you had made on the Confederate flag. Is there anything so far about this campaign that you wish you could take back or you might revisit when it’s over?
[Does not answer.]
Do I know you? [Says with a laugh.]
[Long pause.] I’m very happy with the way our campaign has been conducted, and I am very pleased and humbled to have the nomination of the Republican Party.
You do acknowledge there was a change in the campaign, in the way you had run the campaign?
[Shakes his head.]
This is definitely entering Sci Fi movie of the week territory. Not only are these not answers to questions, they aren’t even dodges. It’s like the little parasite in his head has incomplete access to the archives, and is just picking out the ten most recent phrases. Hopefully this enters into comedy territory and John McCain starts asking for more butter on his corn. Alas, probably not.
Jumping around a bit: in your books, you’ve talked about what it was like to go through the Keating Five experience, and you’ve been quoted as saying it was one of the worst experiences of your life. Someone else quoted you as saying it was even worse than being a POW …
That’s another one of those statements made 17 or 18 years ago which was out of the context of the conversation I was having. Of course the worst, the toughest experience of my life was being imprisoned, so people can pluck phrases from 17 or 18 years ago …
I wasn’t suggesting it as a negative thing. I was just saying that …
I’m just suggesting it was taken out of context. I understand how comments are taken out of context from time to time. But obviously, the toughest time of my life, physically and [in] every other way, would be the time that I almost died in prison camp. And I think most Americans understand that.
Smart move by the Time reporter – if McCain can talk about one thing, it’s being a POW. The campaign probably does basic training-esque drills where they dump buckets of cold water on him and he has to mention he was a POW within 30 seconds or he has to skip his morning cappuccino.
The rest of the interview, softball and repetitive as it is, appears to have kicked McCain into gear. But generally, the first part of the interview is where your press secretary steps in, shuts shit down and feeds him the mix of earthworms and blood plasma that fuels his silicon-based hearts. Get on your game, team!