Help the Aged, One Time They Were Just Like You


My first reaction to this Adam Nagourney dispatch from Iowa: "Gee, how sad."

[John] McCain, who has been treated for skin cancer, was clearly concerned about being exposed to so much sun as he walked down the scorching main route of the fair grounds. He stepped into the shadows when someone asked him to autograph a book. When it came time to speak as part of the soapbox series sponsored by the Des Moines Register, he asked if he could stand in the shadow, to keep out of the sun. He kept his talk to just 11 minutes, which his audience, some of them sitting on bales of hay, no doubt appreciated.

"You better be careful in this sun," Mr. McCain told one fair-skinned woman after shaking her hand.

"I have sunscreen on," she replied.

"I wish I did," he said.

Nagourney also describes McCain as "wilting." Really, all that's missing is a lonesome cartoon trombone and a well-placed banana peel.

But here was my second reaction: "Where was this coverage when McCain was riding high?" I'd seen McCain in the flesh a few times during his year-long stint as the de facto GOP nominee and watched him look alternately tough and brittle. Literally brittle, like Robert Patrick yanking his way out of the liquid nitrogen in T2. You heard gossip about McCain's visible aging but it didn't come across so much in reports. This Nagourney report from last year has McCain looking like John Wayne, taking a helicopter to a NASCAR event, etc.

McCain was the beneficiary of some "kiss up, kick down" media coverage and narratives. We saw the same thing with George Allen last year. We didn't hear so much about Allen's IQ and goofy habits when he was a strong contender for the presidency: We heard that after he started tumbling downhill. It seems like these revelations are happening in the wrong order.

It's only two months to the day 'til Matt Welch's book on McCain will be released.

NEXT: Profit or Principle?

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  1. Literally brittle, like Robert Patrick yanking his way out of the liquid nitrogen in T2

    God bless YouTube. Hilarious visual to go along with the post. Well done, Dave.

  2. Anyone without the foresight to apply sunscreen before venturing out to the fair grounds should not be in charge of a parking lot, let alone the POTUS.

  3. I’ll help him, just not into the White House.

    I mean, I’ll carry his bags to the car or something or listen to his was stories.

    I probably won’t get a tip.

  4. For the record, Dave, a “cartoon trombone” is known as a “laughing trombone” in the trade. (Laughing trumpets are also available.)

    I’m afraid for poor Matt: McCain may be a forgotten man by the time Matt’s book hits the shelves.

  5. I think McCain’s war injuries help emphasize the effect that age is having on him. The arm thing has to be tough. He seems even older than he is because he has zero flexibility in his arms and torso.

  6. Excellent Pulp reference!

  7. Better hope Ron Rosenbaum doesn’t get ahold of this story.

  8. Ideally, presidential candidates should be so vilified at the end of their campaigns that about ten people show up to vote.

  9. I’m afraid for poor Matt: McCain may be a forgotten man by the time Matt’s book hits the shelves.

    Matt’s book is coming out at the same time McCain’s own book is coming out. I’m sure you heard about it, you probably just forgot.

  10. I saw McCain at the State Fair, and I was shocked at how OLD he looked. He was shorter than expected, thin as a rail and looked like he would shatter if he fell.

  11. For the record, Dave, a “cartoon trombone” is known as a “laughing trombone” in the trade.

    Does that at all resemble a “Rusty Trombone” ?

  12. I’m sorry to hear he’s looking so fragile, and sorrier that the meltdown in his campaign means Matt Welch won’t sell many copies. But mostly I’m glad he hasn’t got much of a shot at the White House.

  13. don’t put ’em in a mo-fo home

  14. Not a single zombie reference. It just hasn’t been the same since Marty Zupan left.

  15. I have terrible news. Some jackass is remaking Escape from New York.

  16. I genuinely appreciate y’all rooting for my sales numbers…. Anyway, McCain’s had very serious skin-cancer issues for a long time, so it’s astonishing that no one around him slathered him in SPF 4,000 before he walked anywhere near daylight.

    (That is one, though hardly the only, reason for all these “he looks old” stories — when it’s the summer, and everyone else is kind of brown, McCain will continue to be white as a sheet, on account that the sun will literally kill him.)

    And barring catastrophe, he’ll stick around until New Hampshire & South Carolina at the least. Their strategy is to wait for the *other* guys to weather their periods of hostile press and campaign missteps. Since Rudy’s a powder keg, Romney’s a cipher & Thompson’s a guy in need of a good long nap, it isn’t 100% out of the question that McBuddy will be the last man standing. But I certainly wouldn’t bet on it.

  17. Help the Aged, One Time They Were Just Like You

    If the aged were just like me, they need my pity more than my help.

  18. The press are currently hamstrung by by a strange form of professional “objectivity.” They are so scared of being labelled as biased that they cannot report the truth that a normal person would. Colbert nailed a few years ago when he called them stenographers.

    McCain looks scary old and looks like he is going to die within two years. It looks like Fred Thompson has cancer or a failing liver. Dennis Kucinich is, like, 4′ or something. Rudy is a thin skinned bully boy.

    The only time stuff like this gets mentioned in the press is when other people brought it up first and that message goes viral.

    “Some people are saying…” is the bane of modern journalism.

    PS – There is no Snake but Russell (I heard he was dead). There is no Duke of New York but Hayes, A number 1, the Big Man.

  19. “It seems like these revelations are happening in the wrong order.”

    On the other hand, due to the excruciatingly protracted campaign season, they are at least happening more than a full year before voters actually go to the polls, which strikes me as a bit of an improvement over previous election cycles. One can only dream of what might have been, for example, had the 1972 election season begun in earnest in late 1970 or early 1971. Imagine the Watergate story breaking a year before the election.

  20. de stijl,

    I intend to use the full might of Urkobold to stop this travesty. If Russell and Carpenter want to make inferior sequels, well, that’s okay. But nothing else may be done.

    What’s next, a remake of Repo Man? All of these crappy remakes dilute the original product and cannibalize young viewers who might’ve watched the original, but for the crappy remake.

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