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I’m a very visual person. I hear something and an image begins to form in my mind. When I saw the story about John McCain and lobbyist Vicki Iseman, the vision was of McCain and Iseman, their body parts entangled. I quickly dislodged this from my consciousness, thereby, making a space to explore the New York Times’ revelation of a relationship between the two and, also, to examine if and why those anonymous aides really talked.
Consequently, I have developed my own theory. John McCain, himself, is responsible for the publicity.
Go with me on this. If loads of people were suggesting that I might be too old to discharge certain responsibilities, I would reveal a story to emphasize just how potent I am. And even if the exposed event took place a couple of campaigns ago, I might have chosen that particular tale because of its life-affirming symbolism. Yes, I would pull it, for public consumption, from the past and, then, deny it with calm certitude, even if there were very little beef in the titillating portion of the tale.
I would do this because of Barack Obama.
Obama’s message of hope and change is galvanizing teenagers and young adults, so doesn’t it stand to reason that McCain might throw sex into the mix to connect with youth, a demographic the presumptive GOP nominee is failing to excite?
Maybe, just maybe, John McCain is trying to appear less like a codger and more the feisty heartthrob in order to engage with the "hooking up" and "friends-with-benefits" generation. It’s really not outlandish. Instead, it’s rather old hat or second nature to plenty of politicos in his family-values party who have dipped into the scandal repository of romantic antics.
If I were advising McCain, I would insist:
John, you have to stop planting youngsters in the background at campaign stops. They make you look OLDER. And don’t stand beside anyone with a tan. Do not, I repeat, do not surround yourself with people who are a little bit older than you, like John Warner, George H. W. Bush, and Barbara Bush, those who may be in the silly season of their life. These moldy endorsers only serve to entrench you in the past. If you’re going to pose with a geezer, make it a real photo op and say ‘cheese’ with Mariam Amash, the 120-year-old Israeli woman who’s the oldest person in the world. Mariam could make even you look younger. And take her advice. Drink at least one glass of olive oil a day. A lube job would do wonders for your joints.
Finally, I’d tell John McCain to stop saying he’s served this nation for more than "half a century." Sheesh, that’s a decrepitude giveaway. If he refused my good intentions, I’d suggest he hire someone to paint his bus, renaming it the Eldercare Express, before driving it out to pasture.
Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com