OK

The first and third diaries I see are this:

John McCain just cancelled a fundraiser set for Monday with a Texas contributor, who has already raised $300,000 for his campaign. Seems the fundraiser, oilman and former gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams, has a rather infamous political history:

and this

If you were watching MSNBC's coverage of Tim Russert's untimely passing last night, you may just have witnessed John McCain's naked attempt to make the death of this institution all about himself.

"Holy shit!" I cried, spilling my tea. "McCain is a monster!"

The first continues:

Clayton Williams stirred controversy during his 1990 campaign for governor of Texas with a botched attempt at humor in which he compared rape to weather. Within earshot of a reporter, Williams said: "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."

I don't know what passes for humor, botched or otherwise, at ABC News, but rape jokes ain't it. It's far beyond sexist. It's despicable and bordering on sociopathic.

As for Williams and McCain, I wholeheartedly concur with Tracy:

   

It’s not enough that Senator McCain cancels an event because the media got wind of it.

   It’s not enough.

   Senator McCain should publicly reject and denounce this man.

   He should donate every single dirty dollar that this man has raised for him - all $300,000 - to an organization working to combat rape in our society - like RAINN or RVA.

   And he should apologize immediately and completely to his female supporters for daring to entertain the thought of keeping company with this despicable, disgusting individual.

The second continues:
Apparently, McCain thought the time was right to make self-aggrandizing jokes about Russert's technique:

   

When asked yesterday by reporters what it was like to be interviewed by Russert, McCain said with a smile, ``I once told him I haven't had so much fun since my last interrogation at prison camp.''

Good God.

McCain's ravenous eagerness to reference his time as a POW at every opportunity is well documented, of course. It can be said of McCain that he comes from the Giuliani school of campaigning: each statement is a noun, a verb and Hanoi.

But I never thought the Senator would be quite so tasteless as to compare being on Meet the Press to facing interrogation in a prison camp...while eulogizing  a Washington icon just hours after he passed, at a time when the nation was still in shock, still in mourning for one of its most prominent journalists.

Let's do these one at a time:

1.

When I read the first paragraph of the diary, I thought, "Wow. Infamous political history. There must have been some kind of serious financial scandal, or maybe he ran or participated in a really racist campaign. Maybe he killed a guy."

I have to confess, I was disappointed.

Yes, Clayton Williams made a hideously inappropriate joke, which, more than anything, was not fucking funny. Those sort of jokes, like racist jokes, often unwittingly demonstrate hidden attitudes toward other humans that are disgusting.

But it was one joke. In 1990. Now, it was deeply politically stupid, especially considering how Ann Richards used it to rip him apart. That's the 'politically infamous' part--not that he made the joke, but that it destroyed him.

But come on. This is just a gotcha! moment, and I wish the DNC and others would see it for what it is. Yes, McCain should cancel the fundraiser and denounce the guy's comment. But it's not like Clayton Williams made the joke yesterday. He made it 18 years ago.

Ah yes, you say, then is John McCain's 'cunt' remark to his wife relevant, even though he said in 2000?

YES. First because McCain's the candidate, and also because he has a long history of blowups. It's relevant because it points to a pattern. Another of McCain's patterns is having unsavory associates, but let's be honest--McCain keeps a lot worse company than Clayton Williams.

I get quickly tired of 'gotcha!' moments, because single phrases tends to be bloviated all over the news, obscuring the real issues, which, you know, should be our major criteria for choosing a candidate.

2.

I assume just about everyone here has been to a funeral. At most funerals, people say things about the deceased that go beyond the usual platitudes. You're remembering the person as they were, so hopefully you have something more interesting to say than Bush's, "He was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades."

Russert was known to be a tough interviewer who was ceaseless in the pursuit of truth. It's a good part of why we loved him and why he won so many awards. So, "I once told him I haven't had so much fun since my last interrogation at prison camp" is a compliment, in its way. It exaggerates how he expertly grilled his guests in a humorous fashion. We call that a joke.

It's shocking to hear a former POW making light of the torture he suffered, but if McCain wants to do so, fine. Maybe he does refer to his experiences in Vietnam too much, but it's not even on the scale yet of a noun, verb, and 9/11. He also prefaced the comment with, "I once told him (Russert)." So this is also an anecdote about something he probably said to Russert directly, and it's fair to assume Russert took it with his usual sense of humor and equanimity.

McCain's not a monster, everyone. We don't like him, and I'm even beginning to hate him over what he said about the troops not mattering (not a gotcha, as KO proved) and his comments on the Supreme Court decision, but seriously. He's not a monster. He keeps plenty of bad company and says plenty of dumb things without our assistance.

Originally posted to chun li on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:08 PM PDT.

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Do you have a sense of humor?

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