Sunday, September 28. 2008
Jo Becker and Don Van Natta Jr: For McCain and Team, a Host of Ties to Gambling. Long article on McCain's ties to gaming interests and their lobbyists, with more on McCain's meanderings in mendacity. Maybe it's just my upbringing (or my late mother's upbringing), but I read these opening paragraphs with utter disgust:
I still remember when gambling was near the top of the list of debilitating sins: to describe a person as a gambler was as damning or worse than being a drunk or a junkie. This has changed over the last few decades, mostly because the self-appointed guardians of public virtue have converted to fetish of money and the thrill of winning. The Republicans have led the way here. They've always had a fine appreciation of money, and from Nixon on they've come to believe that winning is the only thing that matters. As they've become ever more unhinged from reality, they come to see no real difference between running a successful business and a lucrative gambling scam. After all, the difference can't be due to labor actually producing something of value. As they've learned in their MBA coursework, the only thing that matters is money, and one way of making money is as good as any other.
McCain isn't alone in this, or even very rare, but he is typical. One reason gamblers were held in such contempt back in my mother's day is that gambling was invariably linked with deception, including self-deception. McCain has had even more trouble with recognizing or respecting truth than any politician in recent memory -- which is to say, the Clinton-Bush era. Most people focus on the risk-taking aspects of McCain's gambling habits, which are indeed scary given how much power has been usurped by the presidency. But worse still is the pathological link between gambling and dishonesty, not to mention the self-absorption nearly every gambler indulges in. This cluster of attitudes is what makes McCain so scary -- not that his idiot conservative jingoism and his warmongering aren't bad enough.