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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Fast Eddie" McCain

Though it has never been a thing of mine, I find it the easiest thing in the world to pin nicknames on J. McCain, and I'm surprised that he hasn't affected many others in the same way, in the news reports and in commentaries. I understand this in the case of the news reporters, because they are under the gag orders of their Republican employers, but commentators in places like weblogs are supposed to have more freedom. But I have read of least one instance. His colleagues in the Navy derisively called him "Ace" McCain, because he had so many aerial mishaps with the machines he piloted -- something you never hear amid all the mentions of the "war hero."

Whenever I see a photo of him, I am jarred by the appearance of his bulging jaws, and that has led to me thinking that he should be called "Bucklejaws." If attacked by a Republican hardcase or by a righteous person saying that I shouldn't judge a person by his appearance, I thought I could at least argue that one should never trust a person with bulging jaws, because it means he has been raiding the scarce food supplies at night.

Actually I think "Bucklejaws" is a cool nickname, and I could be the only person left on the planet who has ever heard it used, which was only once, approximately 70 years ago, and then I could've heard it wrong, mistaking it for "Bubblejaws," which makes more sense. But all this time I've hung on to "Bucklejaws," because I liked the sound of it better, along with thinking that it must've had an interesting origin. The person who said it was referring to a player for, I believe, the Homestead Grays, the D.C. team in the Negro Baseball League of that era. Picturesque nicknames were common in that milieu, as they are in lots of Rainbow milieus, and when I was living primarily in that world I had several pinned on me. But until I saw the recent shots of J. McCain, the idea behind "Bucklejaws," misheard or not, had merely been the subject of one of my lifelong meditations on various mysteries, right up there with the Morton's salt box and the reason why hearing cloth tearing makes my blood run so unrelentingly cold.

But instead of the baseball player, whoever he was, now I think McCain should be linked instead with a pool shark, using the name but not the character of Fast Eddie Felson, the character played by Paul Newman in "The Hustler" and in its sequel, named appropriately for the hustle that McCain is trying to work today, "The Color of Money."

GWBush, along with the big Money Changers, B. Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve, and H. Paulson, the Treasury Secretary, are howling hourly about the need for Congress not to read the small print -- or the large print either -- but just to pass the Wall Street Bailout Plan, period and posthaste, and forget the tiny detail that it involves spending 700 billion of their constituents' taxpayer dollars.

Meanwhile the first debate between the two Presidential candidates had been scheduled to be held tomorrow, at the University of Mississippi. But yesterday B. Obama phoned his adversary, suggesting that before the debate, the two of them should make a joint statement about the bailout plan. After a short while McCain agreed, but said that he would like to stop campaigning so as to work on the bailout plan. Obama said that was his prerogative but that first they should make the statement, and he thought they had an agreement on that.

But while Obama was headed back to his hotel to work on the statement, Fast Eddie went on TV and announced that he was suspending "the campaign" along with taking part in the debate, and instead he was going back to Washington to work on the bailout. And not long afterward, GWBush joined his Republican ally in using his White House power to put the squeeze on Obama, by calling him and McCain and summoning them to the White House, where, predictably, he will instruct them to follow his lead and to help persuade their colleagues to pass the plan, based on some very unjustified faith.

Obama probably thought he had it tough while dealing with H. Clinton, but she was a sweetheart compared to these guys!

Hopefully there are enough people in the country who realize that the Republicans are the Big Money people, and therefore the blame for the current financial mess rests on their badly soiled doorsteps, and they can't be trusted to come up with any sort of equitable solution.

And meanwhile hopefully the public also can see that the brave "war hero," J. McCain, is actually wearing a bright suit of chicken feathers here. He had been trying to lower expectations for this debate, by talking of what a good speaker B. Obama is, compared to himself. He probably didn't add what is sure to happen should J. Biden get to debate Ms Palin.

McCain and Obama had already had a kind of mini-debate earlier, and the impression was that McCain had actually done slightly better. The deal had been that Obama would be asked some questions first, with McCain absent and in a situation in which he wouldn't be able to hear the questions, because he would be asked the same ones and so would have time to be prepared. But he clearly arrived knowing the questions in advance.

I guess he and his handlers hadn't been able to find a way to similarly get around the more extended debate in William Faulkner's home town. Also, oddly, the venue wasn't right and would represent a victory in itself, of sorts, for B. Obama, because many people still remember when that town was a quite different place when Mississippi was somewhat different, during all the hatred and turmoil that dogged James Meredith's every footstep, when he became the first person of his and Obama's hue to enter that school, back in the bitterly segregated days.

So McCain grabbed his chance to postpone the debate, permanently if possible, while also trying to make it appear that he was showing more concern than Obama for the state of the American pocketbook, by eschewing politicking in favor of going to D.C. just as if he, and he alone, holds the key to straightening out the whole financial mess. And he the one who has so many houses that he couldn't remember the number of them, so that his wife is the one who handles all that sort of thing, and he certainly had never had to deal with foreclosures on them. And he also having been a member of the infamous Keating 5 and so a collaborator in the savings and loan scandal of a couple of decades ago. And also as if McCain -- and Obama, too -- aren't just two in the smaller club of 100 Senators and the larger one of about 535 Congress members, each of whom has as much say as they do in what Congress will do, so that obviously the two of them should not disappoint the people of Oxford and the country and should go ahead ahead with the debate. As many have pointed out, communications today are such that to be in one place rather than another is not the big disadvantage that it used to be not long ago.

Given the nature of his adversaries, B. Obama has a tough landing to make on this particular beach, but that's part of the nature of politics and goes back as far as the ancient Greeks and Romans, if not earlier. So it is a tremendous miracle and a salute that he has gotten this far, and he shouldn't lack for people to give him good advice on negotiating the remaining shoals, provided that not too many of them are envious of this progress that they themselves would have liked to have made in the same situation.


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