Tuesday, June 17, 2008

C is (also) for cookie

Remember when Hillary Clinton got in trouble for not baking cookies? (Think hard, it was a really long time ago, like practically before time, like 1992.) Well, John McCain might think his wife is a—well. . . you know—but he’s not going to let Cindy get caught without her baked goods.

Even if they have to steal the recipes.

Another crack is showing in the McCain campaign's attempts at crafting a down-home image.

The campaign contributed a recipe to Parents magazine, "Cindy McCain's Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies." However, it looks like it was copied directly from the Hershey's site.

The McCain campaign previously got caught copying some other recipes, purportedly from Cindy McCain herself, off of the Food Network's site.

You might think this latest McCain campaign “scandal” amounts to less than a whoopee pie’s worth of marshmallow fluff—a tempest in a cookie jar—but I would argue that these little morsels mean a lot about what might lie ahead.

I had to think back only a few years, to the last presidential campaign, when George W. Bush pulled into Philadelphia and made a big deal about his more authentic cheesesteak proclivities. Whereas Kerry ordered his pander-sandwich with Swiss cheese, W pointed out that he was more deserving of the Keystone vote because he liked his cheesesteaks “Whiz Wit.”

Problem is, he didn’t. The Bush 43 team ordered up a mess o’ steaks with American cheese and ketchup. As I wrote over two years ago, with a pronounced degree of amazement, “The man lied about cheese!

But then I got to thinking about why. What makes this absurd low-level lying necessary?

I realize that the lies, at least in part, are there to cover up for the innate incompetence of this administration’s figurehead. And the reason they need to do that—the reason this White House has no Rovian equivalent in the policy division—is because it’s all about accumulating and keeping power, not marshalling it. It’s about political capital, but, funny enough, not about spending it.

Power is used to satisfy greed and ego, it seems, more than ideology. . . at least at the top of this regime. Power can help you promote and reward friends and boosters. Power can be used as the world’s largest back-scratcher—as in, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. Power can be exercised to marginalize, harass, and silence your opposition—just because, only because, they are a threat to your power.

They say that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Is it any wonder, then, that a President so bent on amassing absolute power has shown himself to be so absolutely dishonest. . . so absolutely corrupt?

Which brings us back to the present day, and the man running to be Bush 43.5, John McCain. What is behind, inside of, or at the head of a campaign that feels the need to lie about the candidate’s wife’s favorite recipes? Well, again, I would argue, it is the monomaniacal pursuit of power. McCain is a man that wants nothing more than to be president.

And I really mean “nothing more”—he has no great passion to do anything, he just wants to be president (or, as Johnny Mac often says, and I think this is telling, he’s running to be “commander in chief”). McCain has no great vision that extends beyond his own age-spotted epidermis.

What would result if some weird conspiracy of events allowed this self-obsessed empty suit to realize his dream? Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, but I think the current blancmange in the Chateau Blanc tells us it’s a recipe for disaster.

As for what will become of cookie-gate, I suspect I’ve just given it more space than you will see allocated in the entire establishment media (even including the few publications that were burned by Cindy’s fake baking)—which would be fine if I knew that those serious journalists were instead devoting their time to serious issues like war, poverty, and the environment. But I know better.

“Just try to imagine,” Eric Kleefeld writes at the end of the piece I linked to up top, “the outpouring of pundit outrage and ridicule if a Dem did something like this once, let alone twice.” As the cookie-gate of 1992 has shown us, Eric, we needn’t imagine at all.

(cross-pposted on Daily Kos and The Seminal)

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