February 22, 2007

I've talked about how the press creates narratives that only have a tenuous grasp to reality. This whole blog has been dedicated to connecting dots that the traditional press refuses to do. But I have to admit, this one crossed the line for me, because Roger Simon, Chief Political Columnist of The Politico, has started fantasizing about the next presidency. And his fantasy smells curiously like a Republican talking point.


In a universe parallel to our own, John McCain awoke on January 20, 2009, to prepare for his inauguration as the 44th president of the United States. This is the story of how he got there. It is an imaginary tale based on the possible. There are other parallel universes in which other candidates become president, but that's for another day. Though this is a work of fiction, all of McCain's words in quotation marks are real, taken from his writings, news accounts, transcripts, and past interviews with the author.

He had left Blair House early that morning to go to church, two churches in fact, Grace Reformed at 15th and O and then New York Avenue Presbyterian near 13th Street. The reporters doing live TV were still trying to figure it out-"I didn't know McCain was particularly religious, Chris"-when a member of the new White House staff called and helped them out: One was the church of Teddy Roosevelt, and the other was the church of Abraham Lincoln. Two of McCain's heroes. He had others: Thomas Moore, Lord Nelson, Joan of Arc, Julius Caesar, Colin Powell (his new secretary of State), Charles Darwin (how the creationists had howled about that one), Ted Williams, Mother Antonia, and Aung San Suu Kyi.

[..]Mark Salter, his chief of staff, was waiting for him outside Blair House, a sheaf of papers in his hand. They were handwritten notes from the Democratic leaders who still controlled the Congress and who had spent a good part of the last year denouncing McCain as a dangerous warmonger who was sure to imperil the peace of the planet. Now their notes were effusive in their congratulations and their desire to work with him, praising his wisdom and deep sense of patriotism. "If hypocrisy were gold," McCain whispered to Salter, "the Capitol would be Fort Knox."

He didn't really care what they had called him. In his life, had been called just about everything from a war criminal to a Keating Five crook. It did not matter. Few men looked forward as relentlessly as John McCain. It was what drove him. Besides, who cared what anybody had called him yesterday? In a few hours, they would call him Mr. President.

It gets sooo much better. Keep reading.

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