Thursday, July 31, 2008


I watch McCain throughout the sermon. When the story is over, he flashes his creepy Count Chocula smile — the same one he pulls out, teeth bared, after his That's not change we can believe in! stump line — but otherwise doesn't react. Everybody on our side of the chapel is glancing over at him.

In a way, this scene says everything you need to know about McCain's dilemma. The man is a relic from a previous era of conservatism, when privacy was sacrosanct and public expressions of religiosity were considered vulgar and in bad taste. McCain comes from a generation of American men for whom religion was a ticket you punched once a week, a low-effort symbol of conformity to go with your two-car garage, your sorority-girl wife and your weekly golf game with the fellas. The whole braying-to-the-moon, born-again Promise Keeper act perfected by the Bushes and Huckabees of the world is as alien to his sensibility as an Iron John man-poetry retreat. Sitting here in the North Phoenix Baptist pews, he has a look on his face like he'd just as well suck a cock as do an altar call. It's one of his most likable qualities.

Matt Taibbi really gets into John McCain, but the subtext is a good trashing of Fundamental Xtians and their hold on political power which seems to be slipping. In a way, Taibbi’s essay, in a twist, could be said to backhandedly support poor old John’s attitudes about religion. According to Taibbi, McCain really doesn’t like them, but he’s got to court them, yet he isn’t able to court them. It turns his stomach. Read it for yourself at

No comments: