Sunday, March 9, 2008

Things I'm Tired of Hearing

Journalists: please stop putting 'maverick' in front of John McCain's name every time he's mentioned.

This has become what I can only describe as dogma among the news and opinion media, and I defy anyone to find a single article or op-ed about McCain that doesn't include the word 'maverick' somewhere in the first two paragraphs. Problem is, it's not at all an accurate depiction of the man.

Clearly, he acquired this moniker from his tendency to buck the party line on issues like tax cuts, torture and often the weight of the Christian Right in the party. But a maverick would not suddenly change his stance on nearly all these issues when it came time for an election. If he did-and McCain has-he would be a politician, and that seems to me a title lacking in distinction.

So enough, already. McCain has done what every other politician running for nomination has ever done, and that's run for his base. He's run this campaign as a Republican, not an independent. Of course, he's just posing for the cameras as a Republican now, but a real maverick would have some principles.

"It's the undecided voters he or she is after."

This statement has the dual effect of sounding as if the speaker has made a point of some significance while simultaneously presenting an argument any first grader could wrap his head around.

Of course it's the undecided voters they're trying to sway. By definition, decided voters have already, well, decided. So what's to sway? This argument is both pointless and popular.

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