What is becoming abundantly clear (at least, studying the images “with the sound off”) is that McCain not only lacks any idea how to present himself professionally to the public, but that he seems characterologically unable to lend himself to this kind of management.
Comparing Dubya to McCain in terms of basic raw material, there may not be much difference in terms of underlying meagerness of vision, patience and depth. The major difference, however, is that Bush — as Rove’s construction — was a near-perfect study in terms of staying in role and following his (mostly written out) lines.
I raise the issue not as a political problem for McCain. In fact, nothing would satisfy me more than to see his campaign go down in flames before he really gets out of the gate. Why the presentation of incompetence is particularly noteworthy, however, has to do with the way the traditional press seems so intent on catching him before he hits the ground, by either ignoring these demonstrations of incompetence or dispelling them as insignificant.
Maybe the press is so hopeful about having a competitive race to cover (especially since the getting has been so good up till now), that they (however unwittingly) are willing to do what it takes — and believe me, it’s going to take a lot — to save McCain from taking himself out.
Of course, isolating the (bone-headed) pictures from the (mediating) words is the simplest way of bringing the wobbling, warbling McCain into greater relief. My advise, as a result — focusing, this time, on Joe the Babysitter’s on-air correction of Mac’s incredible Iran-al Qaeda gaffe — is: just look.
Campaign denies McCain’s Iran/al Qaeda ‘gaffe.’ (includes video – Think Progress)
Our Man In New Hampshire #3: McCain/Lieberman ’08 (Chin’s photo-essay does a particularly good job illuminating Lieberman as a “crutch,” although the press continues to ignore it. In retrospect, I think the final shot is also particularly interesting — BNN)
(image: Nader Daoud/AP. Amman, Jordan, March 18, 2008)