I Clear Brush Like the Common Man

Someone has a crush on John McCain.  Oh look, its Washington Post Arts and Living writer Libby Copeland.  Her piece on the Senator is a piece of political fluff we could all do without:

Senator, a reporter asked, is your chi in balance?

“I think so,” McCain said, playing along. Then he got back to practicalities, pointing out where he and wife Cindy had planted fruit trees.

Golly, isn’t that just a gas?  But really folks, we oughta focus on practicalities like fruit trees.

If McCain becomes president, America will likely get to know this place as many presidential vacation homes have become known: as metaphor as well as reality. George Bush‘s Crawford, Tex., ranch is not just somewhere to relax but a place for him to engage in the physical activities that say I understand the common man. I clear brush like the common man. (Crawford is not, as has been noted countless times, Poppy’s place in Maine, with all those connections to money and Northeast privilege.)

Yes.  The site of George Bush clearing twigs off his lawn completely erased any sense that the man came from established wealth and power.

The notion of the Presidential Ranch is practically an archetype by now

And here dear old Libby really reaches for it without a leg of evidence to stand on, other than mentioning the names of Presidential retreats of yester admin.  While having the financial resources to have a retreat is a wonderful thing I’m sure, how much is it a part of the Presidential image?  Does Barack Obama have a ranch?

At one point, McCain invited some folks into the rustic cabin’s living room, which was decorated with family portraits and children’s drawings. He showed off a 2005 copy of Architectural Digest with a picture of himself and Cindy on the cover, and opened a fancy box to reveal some sort of elaborate medal.

“Look at that, huh?” he said, looking boyishly wowed. “That’s from Estonia.”

The article continues on with that same sense of childish wonder.  As if for some never-meant-to-be-explained reason, we as voters need to read a gushing review of a bbq a Presidential candidate hosts for reporters.

Perhaps it was all an unintentional exercise in Zen koan:

There is something surprising — perhaps even metaphysically provocative — about the notion of Mr. Straight Talk in such close proximity to what may be the nation’s highest proportion of crystal-wielding psychics.

Metaphysics is about the nature of reality.  It is about whether or not the material reduces to the mental.  Its about causality and meaning.  Not about whether an Orwellian named politician lives near new-agers.  And Politics is about substance.  It is not about the endless parade of character quirks and adoring write-ups the press is force feeding us in lieu of meaningful debate.  Dross like this cheapens the discourse.

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3 Responses

  1. You know, and it’s not like there isn’t plenty of meat for journalists to sink their teeth into.

    But hey, that’s what we’re here for…to hold their feet to the fire and make the observations they won’t. I’m fully convinced the blogosphere wouldn’t be thriving like it is if reporters weren’t so lazy and limited.

  2. Clearing brush isn’t a hobby it’s a chore. Does clearing brush somehow appeal to anyone? Are we supposed to believe that someone with lots of money really “connects” with us because they get their picture taken doing a dirty job? And oh, how much brush did they actually clear? I’ve cleared many house lots manually (no machines) for months in VT and I don’t see the connection. Where do these morons get this stuff?

  3. And with regards to a “meaningful debate”, I’ve heard of this which you speak but only in legend. Modern “debates” have unfortunately evolved from meaningful to bickering.

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