McCain Fatigue


Phoenix New Times reporter Amy Silverman, who produced more critical journalism about John McCain before the 2000 election than any living writer but has been largely silent on the subject since then, last week uncorked a new, strangely fatigued 7,300-word piece on her hometown senator.

The biggest new ground broken will likely interest partisan Democrats and not so many others (read about it beginning here). It concerns a particularly nasty and petty political sandbagging McCain (allegedly) had done at the expense of then-Arizona governor Rose Mofford (a Democrat), which he promptly (and allegedly) lied his face off about. Silverman gets a lot more damning quotes than had previously been published about this incident. Which took place 20 years ago.

Of even narrower interest except to people like me is Silverman's admission that since being left on the cutting room floor of a Sam Donaldson report during the last election cycle, "for the most part, I've stayed away from other reporters doing stories about John McCain." This is followed much later by the complaint that, in Arizona, "it has been difficult to find anyone who'll say an unkind word about McCain," and that "often, people wouldn't call back at all." Funny how that stuff works out.

In a more perfect world, Amy Silverman eight years ago would have produced the equivalent of the Molly Ivins-Lou Dubose joint Shrub (only with better reporting), thereby forcing McCain's base to at least confront an alternative master narrative by someone with terrific local knowledge … but alas, we don't live in that world.

My list of 10 great pieces of journalism about McCain ? including one by Silverman ? can be found here.