Winter Companions, Old Men Lost in their Overcoats

Newsweek's Tale of Genji-length wrap-up of the presidential campaign has been picked over pretty well for McCain and Obama secrets and the thinking behind decisions like "hey, that Alaska woman with the Fargo accent can be president one day." I was struck by how much time McCain spent with South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, whom if only scattered fragments of this story are available in 100 years would be remembered as a modern Joshua Speed. He brainstormed the "celebrity" ad. He urged McCain to pick Vinegar Joe Lieberman as a running mate to "match history with history." And basically they hung out all the time.

Somewhere on the 14-hour plane ride back, McCain said to Graham, "You know we got to keep going; we can't let those guys down." Graham replied, "That's right, John. If they can do it, we can do it."
...
The weather in Charleston was awful—sleeting rain—and McCain seemed caged, cooped up with his friend Lindsey Graham, who was annoying him by trying to "visualize" victory. By 7 p.m., Cindy and Graham were ready to "jump out the window," Graham later recalled. McCain's 95-year-old mother, Roberta, tried to lighten the mood by cracking jokes about how she wanted to marry Lindsey.
...
McCain could look hot or riled up (his traveling buddy Lindsey Graham particularly affected his moods, for better and for worse).
...
Piper, the governor's 7-year-old, thought nothing of crawling across Joe Lieberman's lap to get to her mother. Lindsey Graham mischievously enjoyed getting the child hopped up on Mountain Dew, a beverage to which he was mildly addicted.
...
McCain had been too wound up to get to sleep, calling Graham at 1 a.m. ("What'd ya think, boy?" "Home run.")
...
As Lindsey Graham told the story, he had been awakened at 4:30 on the morning of the final debate. It was McCain on the phone. "I can't sleep," said the candidate. "Well, now neither can I," said a sleepy Graham.

There's nothing quite so... Adam West and Burt Ward about the magazine's Obama reporting. If anything, he comes off as eerily calm and equally eerily dorky.

During one of the debate preps, the lights blew, flickering on and off like a strobe light from the 1970s disco craze. Obama stood behind the podium, quietly singing the song "Disco Inferno," last popular in the heyday of "Saturday Night Fever."
...
"That's an interesting belt buckle," he said to Michelle, mischievously. She feigned offense and said, "I am interesting, next to you. Surprise, surprise, a blue suit, a white shirt and a tie." Obama grinned and bent down until he was almost at eye level with her waist. He jabbed a playful finger toward her belt buckle, and let loose his inner nerd. "The lithium crystals! Beam me up, Scotty!" Obama squeaked, laughing at his own lame joke as Michelle rolled her eyes.

That's what you had to choose between, America: a man who calls Lindsey Graham when he can't get to sleep and a man who still quotes The Trammps.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Unless Mr. Obama was treating some mental illness on his wife's belt, I believe he should have said DI-lithium crystals. Psaw.

    Worst. President-elect. Ever.

  • ||

    Based on the evidence as presented, I am seriously considering suicide.

  • ||

    My god, those stories actually make McCain and his traveling companions sound mildly fun, and Obama sounds more boring than James Joyce being read aloud.

    So is McCain Mac, or is he Charlie? Of course there's gonna be an explosion! You don't think he's gonna explode?

    I guess he's Charlie.

  • ||

    McCain? WTF? You call my house at 4:30 in the morning, somebody better be dead.

  • ||

    I found the first of the 50 facts about Barack Obama the most encouraging:

    "He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics"

    Marvel or Dark Horse?

  • ||

    Also, he "kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia". His daughters should've asked for one of those...

  • ||

    McCain? WTF? You call my house at 4:30 in the morning, somebody better be dead.

    Don't watch the videotape, NutraSweet! The dead person will be you!

  • ||

    Grossest post ever.

  • libertarian democrat||

    What is with everyone picking on James Joyce lately. Some of us like his work.

  • ||

    oh god, we're fucked

  • ||

    The Newsweek editor, Jon Meacham, describes this issue as follows: "we cover the presidential campaigns on an embargoed basis; anything they learn is kept confidential until the polls close on Election Day."

    Why would a major media outlet ever choose to cover news in that way? What's the point of refusing to share information until a point that the information is no longer useful?

  • ||

    Ya'll should not be making fun of Jesus. I will report you.

    "Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope. Barack Obama never talks about how people see him: I'm not the one making history, he said every chance he got. You are. Yet as he looked out Tuesday night through the bulletproof glass, in a park named for a Civil War general, he had to see the truth on people's faces. We are the ones we've been waiting for, he liked to say, but people were waiting for him, waiting for someone to finish what a King began."

  • ||

    What is with everyone picking on James Joyce lately. Some of us like his work.

    Themes develop on H&R. One theme is that James Joyce is a turgid, pompous hack. This theme is very valid.

  • Derek Ashworth||

    "His favourite fictional television programmes are Mash and The Wire"

    Is that post-McLean Stevenson MASH? Makes a huge difference.

  • Mosby||

    Wait our first black president is a nerd who watched Star Trek? This country blows.

  • ||

    Joyce liked his lovers to fart in his face.

  • ||

    Good lord, Nancy Gibbs in that Time article not only drank the Kool-Aid but went bobbing for apples in it.

    "When it was over, more than 120 million pulled a lever or mailed a ballot, and the system could barely accommodate the demands of Extreme Democracy. Obama won more votes than anyone else in U.S. history"

    I would prefer "Xtreme Democracy".

  • libertarian democrat||

    Really? Not fans of the Dead? I loathed Finnegan's wake, but I thought alot of his short stories were great.

  • ||

    "Unless Mr. Obama was treating some mental illness on his wife's belt, I believe he should have said DI-lithium crystals. Psaw."

    Maybe Obama got it right, and the reporter misquoted him.

  • dhex||

    Themes develop on H&R. One theme is that James Joyce is a turgid, pompous hack.

    you could not be more wrong if your name was sarah palin and you rented a van that said "sarah palin is smart" on the side of it.

  • ||

    I predict many of those extreme democrats will be bitterly disappointed by their Messiah, in the not-too-distant future.

  • Dave Weigel||

    Maybe Obama got it right, and the reporter misquoted him.

    That's what I assumed. The reporter, actually, was a youngish black guy who might have missed the cultural reference. And the copy editor? Probably the same deal.

  • ||

    Joyce liked his lovers to fart in his face.

    I was not previously aware that James Joyce was a character in a Samuel Beckett story.

  • ||

    Just for once I'd like to see some derring-do by a politician and list some music that's not accepted by the mainstream. Enough with the Miles Davis and Bach. Give me some Public Enemy, NW or Rage Against the Machine. Something that would make a suburban mom crap her pants and cover little precious' ears.

  • ||

    There is nothing scarier than a self assured dork. Hopefully a rouge reporter will set him up good at his next news conference. Not being a geek, perhaps someone here can suggest a question that will get him going.

  • ||

    you could not be more wrong if your name was sarah palin and you rented a van that said "sarah palin is smart" on the side of it

    Acid Damage, your words make sense but their point does not.

  • ||

    My sweet little whorish Nora,
    I did as you told me, you dirty little girl, and pulled myself off twice when I read your letter. I am delighted to see that you do like being fucked arseways. Yes, now I can remember that night when I fucked you for so long backwards. It was the dirtiest fucking I ever gave you, darling. My prick was stuck in you for hours, fucking in and out under your upturned rump. I felt your fat sweaty buttocks under my belly and saw your flushed face and mad eyes. At every fuck I gave you your shameless tongue came bursting out through your lips and if a gave you a bigger stronger fuck than usual, fat dirty farts came spluttering out of your backside. You had an arse full of farts that night, darling, and I fucked them out of you, big fat fellows, long windy ones, quick little merry cracks and a lot of tiny little naughty farties ending in a long gush from your hole. It is wonderful to fuck a farting woman when every fuck drives one out of her. I think I would know Nora's fart anywhere. I think I could pick hers out in a roomful of farting women. It is a rather girlish noise not like the wet windy fart which I imagine fat wives have. It is sudden and dry and dirty like what a bold girl would let off in fun in a school dormitory at night.
    1909

  • BDB||

    Mo--

    In 2000 John McCain said he would have Nine Inch Nails play at his inaugural. Alan Keyes had a hissy fit.

  • ||

    Barack Hussein Obama did not win because of the color of his skin. Nor did he win in spite of it. He won because at a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than have ever spoken before came together to try to save it.



    Jumping Jesus on a diamond ecrusted solid gold pogo stick- don't they have editors at Time magazine?

  • ||

    speaking of editors, that should be "eNcrusted"

  • ||

    Thanks so much, NutraSweet. I have enough hatred of Joyce as it is, and you go and do that.

  • dhex||

    Acid Damage, your words make sense but their point does not.

    my words make so much sense it's as if you're sarah palin and i am a daily newspaper that is not usa today.

    anyway, joyce was a weird dude who happened to be a genius and invented the modern novel. he also lived in france. such is life.

  • ||

    How about this one, thanks to comic book guy. Well Mr. President, which is it, Lithium crystals or Di-lithium crystals.
    My guess is he just got it wrong. Like Weezy and Reagan seances. Has he gotten a pop culture reference right yet? Is he even from this planet.

  • ed||

    What is with everyone picking on James Joyce lately?

    "Whad slags of loughladd would retten smuttyflesks, emptytold mans, melk vitious geit, scareoff jackinjills fra tiddle anding, smoothpick waste papish pastures..."

    Yep, that's genius, dhex. Authentic frontier gibberish!

  • ||

    There is also a letter where Joyce wanted Nora to masturbate for him while taking a dump.

    I'm fine with Joyce as a writer, but the ratio of people claiming to have read him and people who actually have read him is probably at least 10 to 1.

    (Casting, of course, no aspersions on anyone here assembled...)

  • libertarian democrat||

    We read him in high school. Ulysses and Dubliners. While I generally find that english classes ruin enjoyable writing, I never would have picked him up otherwise, and I really enjoyed much of Dubliners.

  • ||

    ed,

    Sadly, that makes more sense than most of our troll posts.

  • ||

    I read that Newsweek on my flight. (I'm floating off Mexico right now. Any time Carnival Cruises wants to launch a coup and take over the federal government, I'm game.)

    That was one of the most remarkable pieces of journalism I've ever read. The phrase "first draft of history" has never seemed so apt. I'm looking forward to rereading it in 1, 2, 4 and 8 years.

  • dhex||

    Yep, that's genius, dhex. Authentic frontier gibberish!

    lines out of context tend to do that. finnegans wake didn't make shit to me until i read it out loud; the conditions of his life, legal challenges against his work, the failing mental health of his daughter and his own fading eyesight all obviously contributed. it's pretty much not worth it for most people, even if the language is still gripping.

    anyway, if you nattering nabobs of negativism are interested, start with portrait of the artist as a young man. or dubliners, maybe. i like dubliners, but it's bang bang bang short stories, whereas the opening of portrait is still uniquely gripping.

    ulysses? honestly, if you don't have a background or interest in irish history, a lot of it is just going to woosh over yer head. it is an amazing work, but there are so many in-jokes and layers that it's basically the literary version of the aleph as borges described it. that's what makes it amazing, even with cardboard molly's bookend speech.

  • FrBunny||

    honestly, if you don't have a background or interest in irish history, a lot of it is just going to woosh over yer head.

    And you haven't truly enjoyed Shakespeare until you've read it in the original Klingon.

    (Two Klingon posts in one day! Nerd-tastic!)

  • ||

    I've never trusted Klingons, and I never will. I've never been able to forgive them for the death of my boy.

  • ed||

    finnegans wake didn't make shit to me until i read it out loud

    That's how one particularly insane English Lit. prof instructed our class to approach it. He also advised us to get stoned first, crawl naked into bed with a loved one, and take turns reciting it. I recall we made it all the way to page 9 before giving up and just screwing.

  • Fluffy||

    Um, if Obama was singing Disco Inferno, that means that it's possible that there is debate prep tape somewhere of Barack singing:

    Burn Baby Burn
    Burn the Motha Down!


    and I for one want to see that tape. That would be about a million times more fun than some dumbass Whitey tape of Michelle.

  • dhex||

    He also advised us to get stoned first, crawl naked into bed with a loved one, and take turns reciting it.

    did you got to college in the 70s or was this guy merely, um...?

  • Salvius||

    more boring than James Joyce being read aloud

    Anyone who could use that phrase has clearly never seen Back to School.

    FWIW, I read Dubliners, Portrait, and Ulysses for a Joyce class in college. Portrait (apart from the opening) didn't do much for me, but I liked Dubliners, and Ulysses was a complete joy from start to finish. Easily one of my favorite novels I've ever read.

    I've never made it more than about 100 pages into Finnegans Wake, however...

  • ed||

    did you got to college in the 70s or was this guy merely, um...?

    He was something all right. He also told the class that when he heard the word "Newark" he got an instant erection. Let's just say I was there in that mythical age when students could do and say anything they bloody well pleased without any threat of retribution, when free speech was still free, and the terms "second-hand smoke" and "hate crime" had not yet been invented.

  • KT||

    I dunno about you guys but I *want* my president to be boring.

  • Lazlo||

    That's what you had to choose between, America: a man who calls Lindsey Graham when he can't get to sleep and a man who still quotes The Trammps.

    Maybe he'd dumped a bunch of Razormaid torrents onto his iPod and was singing the Hardsonic Bottoms 3 version. You never know.

  • ||

    James Ard wrote: " Like Weezy and Reagan seances."

    Somewhere, I saw it mentioned that the Weezy thing was actually from the Beastie Boys, who mixed up Sanford & Son and The Jeffersons.

  • ||

    I read that Newsweek on my flight. (I'm floating off Mexico right now. . . .

    Damn, joe, I didn't think you would leave the country if Obama won!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement