John McCain: Time to Retire When You Badly Copy Perry Mason

Three strikes you’re out. Border, Palin, Hagel.

John McCain allows and may even encourage unauthorized ‘militia’ to patrol Arizona’s border with Mexico, even though many have been alarmed about McCain’s seeming unconcern about illegal seizures and abuses of human beings there, and the actions ‘self-designated “militia”‘ personally decide to take –out of sight and under no consistent daily and thorough oversight authority.

That’s an ongoing strong strike against McCain in terms of human rights issues. He appears over these last years since standing mummified and mystified on stage with his chosen running mate Sarah Palin, to be increasingly not curmudgeonly, but temper-tantrumming, staying away from complex dialog, certainly not listening, and instead just repeating himself with pre-canned words.

He was once a prisoner of war, and no one takes that away from him. I used to regard him for that alone and still do with mercy. But/ and, what occurred more than 40 years ago doesnt have enough shine to light up modern times. Happenings long ago in most of our lives, are now hollow memories filled in only by ourselves often.

Thus, most of the voting young have no idea in what war or where McCain was captured. He has no capital from ‘then’ left. He allowed his story of that time to be overhyped til it has no jing left –even though the stories of others from war that have not been flattened out by being over-produced for political positioning, have much life and glint yet left in their stories. Just not John McCain’s.

McCain in being belicose with Hagel appeared to be not only doing a bad imitation of the fantasy lawyer Perry Mason, but also trying to pull military rank on Hagel.

That will never fly. McCain is no longer in the military. He is no one’s commanding officer, certainly not Hagel’s, even though McCain may rant as though he imagines he is. McCain missed being beloved supreme leader of the entire armed forces by a mile in his failed presidential run in 2008, so there’s no quarter nor privilege granted to him there either.

Watching McCain’s tail-caught-in-trap bellowing approach to questioning Hagel– who may be the new Secretary of Defense– I thought how futile any parent, teacher, leader knows that failed tactic is: Trying to corner a person into a yes or no answer ONLY, then attempting to bully them into an either/or answer is the fodder of actual bullies, and/or puff-piece television interviewers of pap– not statesmen, not leaders, not exemplars.

And though Hagel demurred on answering an either/or demand from McCain, he stood up to McCain’s scattered efforts at bullying. But/ and, the issues of who and why and how Hagel, are complex– and McCain did nothing to inquire, gather nor enlighten us. McCain doesnt appear to grasp or speak about complexity somehow.

Most of us might think of a hundred questions to ask Hagel, that actually would go to the deep, rather than flit around in the shallow end whilst wearing water wings and acting angry.

McCain seems to have leaned far into senatoring-lite, by grandstanding for the cameras at best [Perry Mason's either/or style of cross examination and examination in order to hurry along the soap opera's finale was fine for 1960s tv, but is a joke today], and unable to speak to the many layers of an appointees complete panorama of work/ life– at McCain’s worst.

Most of all: time given to such johnny-one-note questioning like McCain’s, wastes everyone’s time, cheapens Congressional dialog down to sitcom quality with a stentorian and predicable mad track included, doesnt educate the constituencies, doesnt respect the interviewee, and makes it not about the nominee, but in this case about McCain…

That’s what grandstanding is about: pushing into the background an issue revolving around another or others, and instead making the scene about yourself. Like the mother of the bride wearing an elaborate white wedding dress to at the real bride’s wedding. Or bringing your guitar and playing another song on it entirely at a Rolling Stones concert. Or trying out your newest speech out loud in the audience during a televised something or other, one you think delivered so loudly/ nattily will actually somehow not clue people that you are not well in mind or playacting –instead of being intelligent and in depth.

McCain, just my .02, is an old man, an elder some might say, who ought perhaps yes? after all these years, have gravitas and wisdom, instead of what he displays often: a temper fit of fussy pique.

The oddity is that some, like McCain, still think bullying a nominee, somehow makes him look what? able under duress? He isnt under any duress; he lives like a king.

I venture there’s something awry and time will tell. Bark, bark, barking like a chihuahua at a nominee somehow is not anymore senatorial or presidential than McCain standing stunned onstage in the bright headlight that was Sarah Palin. I felt sorry for him then. I feel sorry for him now, for I am watching too much pique and not enough presence, consistently.

On a related note re any of the Congressional hearings, briefings, televised anything or any part or person in Congress: BEWARE… More and more, many of us note who in Congress ‘get’ that the citizens are FAR more educated, far more savvy, far more insightful, far FAR more informed about local, national and world affairs– all the result, I believe, of the internet and its huge amounts of information and exchanges between diverse peoples across the world…

Congress, the GOP, the DNC as gatekeepers of info, herding the masses in their direction? No, the gates are blown off their hinges. The gatekeepers are no more, though some persons in Congress… pitifully function, speak, most often ONLY in their nostalgia for ‘the olden times’ when citizens mostly believed whatever they were told. And complexity was not required study nor prowess put forth to inform, and lead the citizenry.

That time is long gone.

Author: DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

12 Comments

  1. “Trying to corner a person into a yes or no answer ONLY, then attempting to bully them into an either/or answer is the fodder of actual bullies”

    Well written, thanks. I agree with you. It’ not a tactic I ever used with my children. In this specific case it was the wrong way to ‘question’ Hagel.

    “I venture there’s something awry and time will tell.”

    You can let me know if I am misunderstanding you. A touchy subject, but an honest one. There is a specific member of the House whose behavior has caused me to consider the same. It’s not a party issue (one is an R and one is a D); it can be a medical issue.

  2. Hagel was one of McCain’s co-chairs when McCain ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. Something – not publicly known and, I would venture, very personal – happened along the way. These are once-friends-once-allies with one now barking and snarling at the other in the most personal tones.

    No one knows the back story on this that I have heard, but it may be more interesting even than the sad display at the hearings.

  3. Thanks Dr.E for mentioning that. When I see McCain now, I have the same feeling about him medically. He doesn’t seem completely rational really. It’s almost as though he is back in McCarthys time during the communist witch hunts. He doesn’t ask questions…he uses rapid fire interrogation techniques.

    I think he has some anger issues obviously, but I also think he may be somewhat deluded both about just what his position is, who he’s talking to, and the nature of the inquiry itself. I called him a pathetic little man the other day in a post, but in truth I feel sorry for him. Those closest to him should talk with him about retirement. If this job gets him so worked up, then it isn’t doing himself or his constituents any favors.

  4. As i listened in and also remembered how he destroyed Susan Rice chance for Secretary of State… What i read at an energetic level was not senatorial but aligned more with interrogator…I wondered about an identification with his perpetrators/interrogators of that terrible time…

    I too have held open question concerning possible medical issues that might be present…

    Have thought one of the reasons to attend to one’s deepest psychic wounds as they come up, is because all too often what is not resolved comes back around when the inhibition of the ego or super-ego is not able to keep things in check with the decline that is sometimes seen in aging..

  5. OS said: “As i listened in and also remembered how he destroyed Susan Rice chance for Secretary of State.” Really, I would think it was the mysterious person(s) that sent her out to get roasted. Look we are not allowed to blame JM for everything that happens just because he was on a committee.
    And I would suggest he leaves when Harry does and then they can have one party.
    No, I don’t agree with his interrogation style I would prefer the slow incremental prosecutor style that Perry Mason used.
    BTW: Some people in the media are saying even with the caustic questioning, Hagel did not help his cause.

  6. dduck.. respectfully disagree with you on Susan Rice…that was a Fox roast with no substance… much like McCain that was fixated on the exact words that they wanted… even though they indicated the same thing with a slight variation of words..

    Also agree with Tidbits… there is probably much more to this story…

  7. OS: “I can only explain it to you, I can’t comprehend it for you.” – Ed Koch

  8. I am careful not to confuse ideology with medical issues. Both can result in bullying.

  9. Thank you, Dr. E.

    It is high time for the entire 100-year Iraq war, bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran cabal-kabuki to retire.

  10. As I said in another post,

    I guess we now expect all of our government officials to be infallible about every issue that arises. During the time of the surge, for instance, there were many in Congress who expressed doubts that it would work, and had every right to have those doubts. You can’t tell me that McCain has never made a wrong decision or voted against a President’s proposals.

    Congressional inquiries are intended to uncover the facts, not just the yes or no answers Perry Mason elicited in fictional trials. If Hagel has reasons for supporting or opposing any government action—in hindsight whether right or wrong, that is his prerogative. Why not display the common decency of allowing the man to explain himself at length?

  11. Watching House of Cards (political drama that Kevin Spacey plays a ruthless Speaker of the House) …perfect quote from it for this post…

    ” Friends makes the worst enemies. “

  12. Petew says:

    I guess we now expect all of our government officials to be infallible about every issue that arises. During the time of the surge, for instance, there were many in Congress who expressed doubts that it would work, and had every right to have those doubts. You can’t tell me that McCain has never made a wrong decision or voted against a President’s proposals.

    Petew, the sad thing about this whole episode is that Hagel has nothing to apologize for. On the contrary, Hagel was and is right about opposing the surge. There was nothing successful about the surge.

    It prolonged the war, cost the U.S. an additional 1,000 military lives and countless of Iraqi lives and contributed little to the eventual outcome of that tragic war.

    Please read more here about the myth that Bush’s “surge” “brought Iraqi violence under control and the United States to the brink of ‘victory’” and how Chuck Hagel is being forced to “genuflect before this conventional wisdom to win his Senate confirmation.”

    There is nothing “honorable,” “victorious” or “successful” about sacrificing an additional one thousand lives to try to mitigate the consequences of a colossal failure that had already cost more than 3,000 lives.

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