The Myth of a Maverick


Some Television Appearances

filed under: 12-step + Campaign Finance + Crooked Talk + Foreign Policy + God + Media hate + Media love + Misspent Youth + Vietnam | 0 Comments | link

Yes, this website needs some serious updating. Let's start by linking to some of the television appearances I've made lately.

This is a picture of me taken by the funny and talented New York photographer Robin Holland on Friday, just after I taped the Bill Moyers Journal, which aired later that day. Video here, transcript here, mini-profile of me here.

Here's five minutes of me yakking about the New York Times' lousy attempt at scandal-mongering, which nonetheless brought up an interesting (if not very new) point about McCain's figuratively steamy relationship with lobbyists. Note the sweet robot-dance bumper music.

Here's me (in bits) having a bad hair day on Al-Jazeera (in the 3-4 minute area), which certainly was an interesting experience:

Here's me on Bloggingheads with the charming moral philosopher Will Wilkinson, talking for a full hour:

Here's me on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, in three parts! Transcript here.

This is a condensed version of an hour-plus book forum I did at the behest of the nice folks at Cato; unfortunately I didn't give them my best performance. Full video (including a comical trash-Welch performance by political hack Lance Tarrance, Jr.) available at fora TV; here's a snippet:

This website is going to get its groove back over the next couple of weeks, and then be a Force of Nature. Things sure have changed since Oct. 16, 2007....


Crooked talker adds two more flip-flops

filed under: Crooked Talk + Foreign Policy + Immigration + Media hate | | link

Watch from 3:01 to 2:44 in this video. The part where John McCain says, in a March interview with ABC's Terry Moran (about how he's on the comeback trail!), that: "If you look at my positions on literally every issue, I haven't changed. I'm no different from what I was. And that's a tiny bit frustrating to me that this portrayal, well, he's pandered to this or done that."

Now, read this article. Excerpt:

Sen. John McCain has quietly been piling up flip-flops, including ditching his long-held support for the Law of the Sea convention and telling bloggers he now opposes the DREAM Act to legalize illegal alien students. [...]

"I would probably vote against it in its present form," he told bloggers last week during a conference call. [...]

Mr. McCain's support for the sea treaty stretched back to the 1990s, when he signed a letter with three other senators urging its passage, and continued through 2003, when he was scheduled to testify on its behalf before a Senate committee.

But after the rest of the Republican presidential field took a stand against the treaty this month, Mr. McCain had little choice but to change, conservatives said. [...]

A McCain campaign operative said the senator rethought his position on the treaty over the past year, and concluded it contains threats to sovereignty.

The operative, speaking on the condition of anonymity, couldn't say why those threats weren't apparent before, though in his conference call Mr. McCain told the bloggers he is worried about global warming and the international race to claim the Arctic.

Mr. McCain — who has been a supporter and even a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — also said during the conference call that he would have opposed it on the Senate floor last week if he had stuck around for the vote.

Chapter 11 of the book is called "The Crooked Talk Express."


Politico: "McCain takes 12-step approach to politics"

filed under: 12-step + Foreign Policy + Goldwater + Reviews | | link

Over at Politico, Jeremy Lott writes up the book and asks me a few questions. Excerpt:

The 12-step interpretation of McCain may seem like a stretch, but Welch offers circumstantial evidence to make it entirely plausible. McCain often uses buzzwords that are familiar to Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step program members, including warning people against “selfishness” and the real, telling clanker, “egotism.”

In his books and speeches, McCain is a “serial pre-emptive confessor of his sins,” said Welch. Aggressive public confession is the beginning of all 12-step movements. (As in “Hi, my name is John McCain, and I’m running for president.”)

McCain has “learned the value of saying, ‘Oh, I’m a bad person, I’ve made mistakes, I’m flawed.’ It’s part of his charm, and it’s done wonders for his career,” Welch said.

The Arizona senator had to learn that trick somewhere. Both McCain’s late father and his second wife, Cindy, were frequenters of 12-step programs — AA and Narcotics Anonymous, respectively.

This should be troubling, said Welch, because McCain’s new 12-step rhetoric coincided with changes in his views of foreign and domestic policy.

McCain had been a cautious realist on foreign policy whose military service and status as a Vietnam prisoner of war lent him real heft. His default positions on economic and social issues were in keeping with his family’s Republicanism and Arizona’s conservatism.

The new 12-step McCain became an advocate of invading countries for looking at us funny. He supported going into Iraq during the 2000 primaries, was the chief advocate for the troop surge in Iraq and is itching for a fight with Iran.

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John McCain: An American Odyssey, by Robert Timberg

Man of the People: The Life of John McCain, by Paul Alexander

John McCain: An Essay in Military and Political History, by John Karaagac

Citizen McCain, by Elizabeth Drew

Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir, by John McCain

Worth the Fighting For: The Education of an American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired Him, by John McCain

Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them , by John McCain

Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life, by John McCain

Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember, by John McCain

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