So, McCain has spent a couple of weeks talking to his base, and it’s helped him in the polls. What’s missing in all the liberal hand-wringing about the polls’ latest spasm is that McCain had to go talk to his base. Obama chose to. Obama may have skipped the bazillion townhall meetings that McCain needed help filling, but Obama has gone to Saddleback and the VFW. You won’t see McCain at an analogous liberal event.

McCain doesn’t have the guts, but that’s not the point.

The point is that McCain had no choice but to go say things he doesn’t believe to placate people he doesn’t like. That’s the curse of McCain’s life and career.

What liberals have missed about the last few weeks is that Obama has been fighting on McCain’s turf.  McCain has to consolidate his base, and Obama has been willing to go after a “strength” that isn’t any more.  That’s not “moving to the right,” that’s what the Republicans have been doing to you for years.

Furthermore, what liberals didn’t understand in taking on the myth of “John McCain the war hero” was that it was a different scenario from the Republicans’ 2004 attack on John Kerry.  “Hero” is a word so abused in English, like “tragedy,” that it doesn’t mean anything anymore.  John McCain is a “war hero” even though his only accomplishment in uniform was crashing four planes, being taken prisoner, and quickly becoming the closest thing the Viet Cong had to Tokyo Rose.  Liberals, aping conservatives, missed the point:

John McCain is called a “war hero,” not because of what he accomplished, but because of what he suffered.  They call McCain a “war hero,” not because they admire him, but because they pity him.

Unlike John Kerry, McCain never distinguished himself in combat and never had the sense to oppose a war that hurt American interests and was based on a lie.  McCain fails on both counts.  So you can’t attack McCain’s war record they way they trashed John Kerry, because McCain’s is the record of a victim, not a warrior.

Sadly, for John McCain, his victimhood defines him. Near as I can tell, he can’t stand it.  Both his notorious temper and his bizarre series of foreign policy statements are the bitter outrage of an unredeemed victim.  John McCain never had a chance to “get his own back.”

McCain doesn’t want to die a victim, so he has to bluster about, looking for WWIII in every crisis and event, just so he can go out a warrior.  The cost to the country doesn’t matter to him.  John McCain has lived the last forty years of his life as a pitied victim and he’s terrified of dying that way.

But, unfortunately for McCain, his involuntary suffering didn’t end there.  He was viciously brought to heel by the Bush campaign in 2000.  Rather than take a stand for his slandered family, McCain curled up like a bug.  It was a familiar posture for him.  Since that time, he has voted more and more and more with Bush.  McCain cracked along the same lines he did in Vietnam, and that’s the candidate the Republican machine has now:  pushing policies he does not believe in because McCain doesn’t have the strength to fight them any more.

McCain’s supreme act of submission was to vote in favor of the kind of torture he suffered in Hanoi.  At that moment, John McCain was broken, and everyone could see it. Now, according to the Bush administration, John McCain was not tortured, because those things aren’t “torture” any more.  Bush’s final humiliation of John McCain was to force him to deny his own suffering.

In this campaign, policy is not the point, and John McCain has no choice.  Like us, McCain has had eight years to see the failure of Bush’s policies, especially the phony “tax cuts” that are only tax deferments on a Chinese credit-card.  McCain has nevertheless adopted them, the core of a failed conservatism’s conventional wisdom, simply because he doesn’t have the guts to do otherwise.  He’s a prisoner again.  McCain lashes out at reporters because he doesn’t dare fight the machine that’s running him.  He’s tired.  He gave up.

But you can’t support policies, even by default, that hurt Americans and then say you love this country and “always put it first.”  If in fact McCain does love this country, he’s got a strange way of showing it.

I don’t think these are his policies, and John McCain’s heart is clearly not in it.  Even his Saddleback performance, which only showed that old evangelicals who can afford $2,000 a head are willing to clap for twenty-year-old soundbites (sort of a political “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”), McCain was staring into space, waving his hand like the moderator was a waiter asking for an autograph.

So no, I’m not questioning McCain’s patriotism.  I’m questioning his relevance to his own campaign.  He appears to be just a prop.  This election is a test of the emergency back-up aristocrat system.  If this were a real election, you would have a choice between the Democrats’ insurgent candidate and the Republicans’.  Both parties’ bases are pissed off at their establishment.  But Ron Paul was blacked out by his fellow ideologues, which is why his supporters were chasing Hannity, that pissy little coward, across street after street shouting “tell the truth!  Tell the truth!”

The truth is that the Republican establishment has as little respect for their voters as I do.  You can see that in the shit they feed them.  Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this.  Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this.  Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this. Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this. Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this. Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this. Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this. Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this. Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this. Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this. Republicans know that their cattle are stupid enough to fall for this.

It’s no wonder, therefore, that McCain is lying instead of campaigning, telling people that Obama is going to raise everyone’s taxes, that he hasn’t acknowledged the success of The Surge™, etc.  That is campaigning, to a Republican, and it’s what McCain has been told to do.  Harnessing the power of stupid is the only way they can win:  the stupidity of racism, the stupidity of jingoism, the stupidity of hating “cultural elites” enough to be the slave of, you know, actual elites.  In 2004, for example, the number of Republican who believed Saddam attacked us on 9/11 actually went up.  Republicans have to grow an extra layer of stupid before they can vote for the same failed policies again.

This time, it’s as if the Republican machine is trying to see if it can win without a candidate.  The candidate doesn’t speak for his campaign, the candidate only appears once a day and never on weekends, and the candidate doesn’t believe in the policies he’s pushing, which is why he has to spend so much time shoring up his base.  McCain only became the nominee because of the GOP’s winner-take-all allocation of delegates.  He couldn’t even get 50% in his home state during the primaries.

Their Machine is on autopilot.  We have our insurgent candidate.  It’s a missed opportunity, by the Republicans, to begin rebuilding their brand now, since their majorities are fast becoming minorities.  A Ron Paul/Barack Obama election would have been a barn-burner, but Republicans are better than Democrats at keeping their cattle in the stable.  The Democrats didn’t make that mistake.  Instead, we have a grass roots candidate up against a machine candidate.  The election is no longer Republican versus Democrat.  It’s become the elites versus the country.

It’s a contest to see whether the Republican can push the whole country around the way they abuse their own cattle.

El Cid was made into a hero, despite the fact that he was a mercenary who believed in nothing more than enriching himself.  In order to turn him into that hero, the legends woven around him claimed that even as a dead man strapped to a horse, he could defeat his enemies.  Legend or no, emboldening the desperate against the people they hate is a winning strategy.  Republicans will crawl over broken glass to vote for a man they don’t respect, a man who they know stands for nothing, just so they can rub it in your face for another four years.

That is their sole motivation.

The conservatives hate him, the base doesn’t care for him, the Evangelicals don’t trust him, the party elite don’t like him, even veterans won’t vote for him, and hate radio wanted to raise money for Democrats against him, but they’ll buy the lies just so they can pretend to have a rational reason to vote against Obama.  But they have no reason to vote for John McCain. Even now, the Republicans who said they couldn’t stand McCain are pretending to LOL at you online about some bullshit they’ve been fed about Obama.

Pity them.  That’s what hate does to you:  it hollows you out until you are nothing but a shell of the thing you hate, molded to the thing you despise.  John McCain may be an inert tool, but he’s all they have to beat you with, and they can.