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February 22, 2008

Thrill-Monger McCain

In the dust up over the New York Time’s publication of the McCain “lobbyist/possible affair” story, there’s a potentially more salient issue that’s being missed: McCain’s “recklessness.” Take a look, for example, at the ninth and tenth paragraphs of the article in which the personality traits that got McCain mixed up in the Keating scandal are discussed:

“He is essentially an honorable person,” said William P. Cheshire, a friend of Mr. McCain who as editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic defended him during the Keating Five scandal. “But he can be imprudent.”

Mr. Cheshire added, “That imprudence or recklessness may be part of why he was not more astute about the risks he was running with this shady operator,” Charles Keating, whose ties to Mr. McCain and four other lawmakers tainted their reputations in the savings and loan debacle.

Now, to tell you the truth, my own gut-check tells me that he was not having an affair with Ms. Iseman—though my only reason for believing so is my rather uncritical acceptance of his public reputation for being a straight arrow. But, I don’t have any problem believing that he would be reckless enough to indulge himself in a little “harmless” flattering flirtation (emboldened, ironically, by confidence in his own stainless character). No infidelity, just a little blood-quickening thrill.

Something of the same MIGHT be true of his relationship with lobbyists. That is, an over-appreciation of his own strengths (moral or physical) leaves him indifferent to danger. For some, piety means being above reproach; for others, it means dancing with the devil, skating on thin ice, just for the thrill of proving they’re impervious to danger.

Here is where someone’s undeniable courage turns from virtue to vice. A dare-devil's judgment can never be trusted because it’s so often subverted by inflated confidence.

This explains a lot, I think, besides his connection with Iseman and other lobbyists--his maverick posture in the Republican party, his audacity in basing his campaign on staying the course in Iraq when political wisdom argued against it. And also, of course, his reckless and irrational faith in a dangerous war policy.

Posted by stevemack at February 22, 2008 08:47 AM


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