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February 21, 2013

McCain: The Media Said They Were My Friends But They Weren't Really My Friends and They're Real Stinkers and Bad Friends

They conned him. But he allowed himself to be conned.

Right now, like it or not, the five-term senator is stuck in “get off my lawn” territory, lashing out at his friend-turned-foe Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary; incessantly tugging at what McCain is convinced is a coverup of the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya; lambasting the president; and railing against indiscriminate defense cuts. If hard-core conservatives feel burned by McCain’s resurgent reform spirit, the media that he once called his “base” have essentially written him off as an angry and sour loser who once went through a maverick phase but has, in the words of “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, gone on a “seven-year quest to negate every good thing he’d ever done.”

“It does hurt,” McCain said softly. “I admit to you that it bothers me from time to time, and I wish that it didn’t. But it does.”

McCain has a hell of an ego on him.

I'm going to speculate here. I don't know this per se, but I do know reporters loved talking to McCain off-the-record. So I have to wonder why they did.

I think the reason the press loved him is that, in addition to his public "Maverick" (liberal-leaning) stances, he was also ready, willing, and eager to run down other Republicans for reporters, off the record, in trash-talk bonding sessions. Now, a guy with an ego will naturally think almost all around him are "idiots" and "cowards" from the jump, but then add to this McCain's playing to the crowd -- how they must have loved his "frank" and "bracing" critiques of Republicans, Republican positions, and Republican voters.

And they did love him... for that, and for their purposes.

But McCain didn't consider that that was a limited love, a love born out of McCain's agreement with reporters that Republicans were Serious You Guys just terrible people, and that when he ran in an election against a viable Democrat two things would happen:

1, McCain would have to stop bashing Republicans so much, given that he was now courting their dollars and support and votes. And thus the media would suddenly find him a bit of a pill.

2, Whereas their previous "love" for McCain came at zero cost, as McCain was firmly lodged in the Senate office and unlikely to be defeated by any Democrat, against a viable Democrat on the national stage the media was going to find The Greatest Love of All, and McCain would end up looking like a cheap one-night stand who never went away and kept annoying trying to attract their attention as they drooled for their Real Mister Right.

Anyone with an ego has to know he has an ego, and watch for the ways the ego may betray him and tell him things that just aren't true. McCain didn't. And I bet he still doesn't really understand how this happened.

* The "Serious You Guys" thing I got from a commenter, forget who.

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posted by Ace at 02:30 PM

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