As those who read every detail of my often long entries on this blog will find, I admire John McCain and have been perplexed by what drove him from principled, lukewarm support of Bush to such effusive enthusiasm. I don’t want to get into that maze of ambition and motivation again, but you can read what I wrote the other day. Many think it’s not the VP slot McCain wants when Cheney steps down, but rather Rumsfeld’s perch.
The thing I know about McCain is that he takes his job in the Senate seriously. He has worked hard for campaign finance reform and wants to go further. He worries a lot about Rupert Murdoch, Mickey Mouse, and the political harm of media concentration. I think he believes in the tug and pull of political competition, when the terms are fair for all parties. He believes in understanding what he is voting for; I know that he tries to read the legislation he votes on.
Then why would he use the prime time platform at the Republican National Convention to comment on Farenheit 9/11 if he hadn’t even seen the movie?! Michael Moore spoofs all the legislators who didn’t read the Patriot Act and has a great line by Congressman John Conyers saying that none of Congress’s Members read any of the legislation they are voting on. Moore then gets in a van with a loudspeaker and reads the Patriot Act to Senators and Representatives as he drives around the U.S. Capitol — something now impossible given all of the recently erected barricades and checkpoints.
McCain should have known better than to pontificate on a movie he hadn’t seen; and I’m even one that thinks that Moore’s documentary has serious flaws — but I saw it!
One would think that the White House had actually read McCain’s speech before he gave it — and that the same White House knew Michael Moore would be in the press corps. So Moore is right; the Bush team doesn’t treat John McCain very well.
John McCain has the capacity to turn this gaffe into something positive.
He should ask Jack Valenti, Director Emeritus of the Motion Picture Associaton of America (which has a fantastic theatre) at 16th & Eye Streets, to provide a screening of Farenheit 9/11 that the two can watch together.
I’d love to be invited too.
— Steve Clemons