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9 February 2000
Slate has had some interesting political articles lately...first, a cautionary tale about McCain:
  • Something Bad About John McCain [Slate]
    McCain's character is not without blemishes, and what better time than now to raise them? One smudge on McCain's good-guy record ... is McCain's disgraceful speech to the 1988 Republican National Convention...
    It is outrageous that Governor Dukakis vetoed legislation giving Massachusetts schoolchildren the right to pledge allegiance to that flag at the beginning of the school day.
    The real outrage, of course, was McCain's accusation that Dukakis denied schoolchildren "the right" to pledge allegiance, when in fact Dukakis prevented the state of Massachusetts from forcing schoolchildren to pledge allegiance.
  • Remarks by Senator John McCain before the 1988 Republican National Convention []
Next, a theory about who hates McCain in Washington (Trent Lott and his buddies) and why:
  • Does the GOP Establishment Really Hate McCain? [Slate]
    [A] partial but insufficient explanation is McCain's war on perks and pork. McCain was the principal sponsor of the strict Senate gift ban. He has an employee on his staff designated "the ferret," whose job is to dig out buried appropriations earmarked for special projects in one state or another. And McCain doesn't just take away the candy jar. He gets up on the floor of the Senate and ridicules his colleagues for attempting to reach into it.

    So, what does explain the animosity of the Lottniks? I think the key factor is McCain's proud disloyalty. Lott prizes order and deference above all else. McCain provides neither ... McCain doesn't apologize for breaking ranks. He votes against his party's leadership on the issues they care most deeply about and then lords his insubordination over them. GOP authority figures find this maddening ... Lott's gang views McCain as someone who does the same things they do, but acts as if he's morally superior. That the liberal media buy his act compounds their resentment.

That last bit is odd given the material earlier in the column -- banning Senate gifts and publicly pointing out blatant pork grabs both do qualify McCain to claim a different moral standard than Lott & company. In my opinion, anyway.

Finally, a farewell to Forbes, who is expected to drop out tomorrow:

  • Whom Steve Forbes Hates the Most [Slate]
    Forbes' contempt for George W. Bush was widely guessed to be his probable motive for staying in the race after his New Hampshire debacle. What better way to stick it to Bush than to play the spoiler? ... Nevertheless, Forbes is bowing out. Why? Here's a guess: Because Forbes hates John McCain even more than he hates Bush.

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