McCain: ‘Why is Chelsea Clinton So Ugly?’

02/19/08 4:55 PM   McCain: ‘Why is Chelsea Clinton So Ugly?’

Really, John McCain? You want to ask why someone is ugly? Salon reported the content of the once-taboo knee-slapper, delivered by McCain at a Republican fundraiser in 1998:

The fact that McCain had made the tasteless joke was reported in major newspapers, as was the vain attempt by his press secretary to initially deny what McCain had done. But in several major newspapers, the joke itself was kept a secret.

Salon feels its readers deserve the unadulterated truth. Though no tape of McCain’s quip has yet emerged, this is what he reportedly said:

“Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.”

This story is upsetting on several levels, which I will get into after the jump, but foremost, as a former stand-up comic, I am outraged that McCain committed a comedic cardinal sin exceeded only by theft of another comic’s material. He used crummy material to get a cheap laugh. It’s the ultimate hack move, right up there with name-checking the town you’re performing in. Even Yakov Smirnov is trying to keep it fresh. Let’s see if his new material is up to snuff.

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Obama Supporters Wave Che Flag

Obama Supporters Wave Che Flag

2 years ago
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Ed Morrissey of “Captain’s Quarters” is floating a trial balloon for a new smear of Barack Obama.

Oh, my. Barack Obama may want to call his new Houston office and suggest some decorating ideas. Take a look at the flag flying in the office at the moment:

Does Obama know his Houston supporters honor a terrorist (Che Guevara) in his campaign office? I’m sure he doesn’t. However, it would behoove him to ensure that the flag gets taken down and that he renounces any affinity for Che and the Fidel Castro regime.

I’ve included my own screen grab from Fox 26 Houston, complete with the caption that explains that the office in question is funded and staffed by volunteers, and is not an official headquarters. I do this not to show any distance between Obama and that flag, which is a separate issue, but to illustrate the dishonesty of the attack. Captain Ed went to some trouble to omit that fact.

I expect that this “issue” will come up in the next round of smear-mail against Obama, likely modified to include specious details about his refusal to salute the U.S. flag, and participation in blood sacrifices to Che. Since Barack’s support generally doesn’t come from people who get their news from chain e-mails, I don’t think he has anything to worry about. Brief analysis after the jump.

It seems unlikely, despite Captain Ed’s fondest wishes, that Barack Obama will end up commenting on this, beyond saying that his supporters are free to hold diverse views that may or may not reflect his own. I doubt even a man of Barack’s oratory skill would attempt to boil Che Guevara down to a sound bite.

This tactic is employed, to varying degrees, by “mainstream” journalists, too, who have used comments by campaign surrogates and outliers to ignite several controversies already in this campaign. It’s another tool in the political newsmedia’s arsenal of hyping thin stories while avoiding substantive analysis.

What is interesting about this, though, is the superficial comparison it draws. Whatever your feelings about him, Che Guevara has become the “Nike Swoop” of revolutionary change, the “Classic Coke” of fighting the power. Without embracing Che, Obama might actually benefit from the juxtaposition, as he positions himself as the challenge to Hillary Clinton’s status quo. Couldn’t you just see these t-shirts?