Live in Salt Lake

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I'll be on Salt Lake City's NPR affiliate KPCW at 9:10-9:30 Mormon time to discuss John McCain. You can listen from afar at this link.

Speaking of the Republican frontrunner, some interesting projection in today's Boston Globe from McCain's co-author and alter-ego, Mark Salter:

Salter said that Obama's candidacy is grounded in a "messianic complex" and that the press has treated him as "god-like." "Obama's message," according to Salter, "is 'I am something extraordinary—gaze upon me and everyone will be great. By the mere fact of electing me, we will have transformed the stale politics of the United States.'"

The Globe article, written by Sasha Issenberg, who also penned a perceptive piece a few months back about the elusive shadow of Barry Goldwater hanging over this election, contains another classic McCain tell:

"I do not seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need," McCain said.

As I discuss in my book, whenever McCain volunteers an absolutist statement about what he is not, chances are non-trivial that he's actually revealing something about what he is. For instance, he's been flirting with the possibility that his campaign is divine destiny for quite some time now. For instance, in a McClatchy News article last June:

"I know this sounds schmaltzy and maudlin and everything like that. I'm not sure—have no idea—whether I'm intended to be president of the United States. But I know I'm being kept here for a reason, and that is to serve."

Or this, to the Christian Science Monitor:

"There is no logical reason for me to be on earth, if you look at my life, so I should spend this time trying to serve a cause greater than myself," says McCain in a Monitor interview.

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  1. The CSM statement doesn’t seem to speak to any kind of “divine destiny” necessarily. The first does seem to though.

  2. “9:10-9:30 Mormon time”

    LDS leaders are given the time via angelic conduits reading from solid gold Swatches.

    Give ’em hell Matt.

  3. To explain further,
    the first statement seems to say that the reason that God has kept him alive is so that he may be president. A bit megalomaniacal to be sure.

    The second one seems like your basic “life is meaningless so why not help out your fellow human beings” kind of nonsense (how very french).

  4. I was thinking God has kept him alive so the rest of us would know what not to do.

    Or McCain’s existence is proof there is no God. Can we get a ruling?

  5. I asked Jesus and he said McCain is a douche, and that his dad is just fucking with him.

  6. Having listened to a lot of different NPR stations, KCPW is one of the best around. SLC has three NPR stations and KCPW is the most informative and relatively free of bias.

    Nothing wrong with the LDS Church, but it can produce a certain brand of people in Utah who feel authoritarian power is inherently corrupt. Lots of standard libertarians as well, like in the outdoorsman community.

  7. The sites for KPCW (which targets Park City) and currently co-owned KCPW (which targets SLC) apparently will both archive the audio later; both stations carry “Midday Utah”.

    KCPW link; KPCW link

  8. Let’s just settle this thing now by having Obama and McCain show up at the Mall and see who can walk across the Reflecting Pool without getting his shoes wet.

  9. The third statement seems to be how he thinks everyone should feel.

  10. Mormon time?

    Just when you think the jokes on this site couldn’t get any less funny and more retarded, bam, you are surprised.

  11. I’ll be on in the Mitt-Morming?

  12. “There is no logical reason for me to be on earth, if you look at my life, so I should spend this time trying to serve a cause greater than myself,” says McCain in a Monitor interview.”

    What on its face is wrong with that? A lot of people who have near death experiences feel that way. Is it Reason’s position that anyone who embraces any kind of selfless service is not to be trusted? I am all for freedom and self serving ends but that seems a bit over the top.

    “I know this sounds schmaltzy and maudlin and everything like that. I’m not sure – have no idea – whether I’m intended to be president of the United States. But I know I’m being kept here for a reason, and that is to serve.”

    Again, what is the big deal? McCain should have died any number of times in Vietnam and feels that he didn’t so that he can serve his country. There is nothing wrong with that. It is not like he is saying God intends him to be President. In fact he is saying just the opposite. He doesn’t know if he is going to be President but whatever happens he is going to continue to serve. So what?

    “I do not seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need,”

    You may not believe him. I have never met McCain so I can’t vouch for his truthfulness but taken on its face that is probably the best thing I have ever heard a Presidential candidate say. It is a direct jab at the arrogance of the Obama as messiah campaign.

    “Salter said that Obama’s candidacy is grounded in a “messianic complex” and that the press has treated him as “god-like.” “Obama’s message,” according to Salter, “is ‘I am something extraordinary – gaze upon me and everyone will be great. By the mere fact of electing me, we will have transformed the stale politics of the United States.'”

    There is a lot of truth to that and that is a pretty effective criticism of Obama. Obama is probably going to be McCain’s opponent in November. I would expect McCain to criticize him.

    I got it that Matt Welch doesn’t like McCain. Good for him. But, Welch seems to have taken leave of the idea that you still have to have valid criticisms of someone even if you don’t like them. What the hell was the point of this entire post?

  13. There is no logical reason for anyone in particular to be on this earth. Saying what he said is pretty different from “gee. I’m lucky to be alive”. Sounds to me like he’s trying to say God kept him alive for a reason.

  14. “I do not seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need”

    Darn tootin’ he better not make that presumption, Bush already has that spot locked up.

  15. Salter said that Obama’s candidacy is grounded in a “messianic complex” and that the press has treated him as “god-like.” “Obama’s message,” according to Salter, “is ‘I am something extraordinary – gaze upon me and everyone will be great. By the mere fact of electing me, we will have transformed the stale politics of the United States.'”

    When one candidate has such immense advantages in charisma and the enthusiasm of his supporters, it’s not surprising that his opponent would make such an argument.

    Salter certainly wasn’t talking about how Bush fanbois circa 2002 were “cult-like,” even in the midst of all the Churchill talk and Bush’s statements about knowing Jesus chose him to be president for a purpose, and September 11 showing him what that purpose was. In fact, Salter himself was on of those fanbois, iirc.

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