Monday, April 14, 2008

Is McCain Expendable?

marilyn-monroe.jpg mccains.jpeg mccain-daughter.jpg
Apparently, a copy has surfaced of fifteen minutes of porn that Marilyn Monroe shot in the 1950s — but as it is not yet, to my knowledge, on YouTube, continue reading this sentence. A copy of the footage was apparently in the hands of the FBI, where J. Edgar Hoover hoped to prove that the male (face unseen) who appears in the footage was one of the Kennedys. Aware of the footage, Joe DiMaggio reportedly offered to pay $25,000 at one point to get all existing copies from the owner, in order to protect Monroe.

By contrast with JFK, I trust that McCain is conservative enough that we will not have to worry about the FBI wasting time trying to prove that he was in a porn film (attractive though all the women in his life seem to be, including his mom, the astonishingly well-preserved Roberta McCain, seen above along with his wife and his daughter).

In many other ways, of course, McCain is not conservative and certainly not libertarian. He has at one time or another railed against or even tried to ban:

•ultimate fighting

•anonymous political ads just prior to elections

•high CEO pay

•pharmaceutical companies

•violent videogames

•cigarette advertising

•the Bush tax cuts

•global warming gases

and so on. Like Teddy Roosevelt — another unconservative, unlibertarian politician who the Weekly Standard editors also love — McCain seems to have not so much an ideology (for good or ill) as a pugnacious attitude that alights upon different random targets in an opportunistic fashion. Maybe he’ll decide to doggedly pursue budget cuts (yay!), but maybe he’ll decide he hates video gambling instead. Who can say?

Like Obama, but in a much more convincing (albeit less poetic) way, he really does offer a political future that gets beyond the left-right divide for the simple reason that he doesn’t seem to much care about the distinction. (He is more hawkish, of course, and, by the way, if he wants to seem more sophisticated than Bush on that front — and better prepared for the complex, international threat of al Qaeda — I suggest he replace talk of an “Axis of Evil” with hipper, more nuanced talk of a “Mandelbrot Set of Evil.”)

But given McCain’s shortcomings, delightful as it has been to watch Obama and Clinton fight while McCain rises in the polls, this may be the perfect historical juncture for libertarians and conservatives alike — not to mention antiwar Republicans — to ask whether they would be doing their country a greater long-term service by defecting to another candidate — a decidedly libertarian/conservative one with enough name recognition and media cred to make a dent — and letting the GOP nominee be defeated, even at the expense of putting a leftist like Obama in the White House (and I assume that no matter how painful and protracted the process, Obama will in all likelihood triumph over Hillary — so I’d better start wearing my anti-Hillary t-shirt more often while it’s still relevant).

So who is this hypothetical non-McCain candidate the libertarians and conservatives should perhaps use as their instrument of sabotage if they want, at this crucial low point, to make the loudest possible statement about the shortcomings of the current GOP? Former Republican congressman Bob Barr, now pursuing — and I predict likely to get — the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party.

If Republicans were content with their standard-bearer — and especially if that standard-bearer were libertarian enough to keep libertarians in the fold — Barr wouldn’t be an issue. But they aren’t happy with McCain, so I predict Barr’ll become just popular enough to cost McCain the election and put Obama in the White House. More about Barr tomorrow, then.

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