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John McCain Revisits Highway 61

Now the rovin’ gambler he was very bored
He was tryin’ to create a next world war
He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor
He said I never engaged in this kind of thing before
But yes I think it can be very easily done
We’ll just put some bleachers out in the sun
And have it on Highway 61.

— Bob Dylan, "Highway 61 Revisited"

David and Jane have already hit on different aspects of John McCain’s arrogant foolishness regarding the Georgia-Russia spat, but I think the Washington Post a couple of days ago caught a key moment that deserves more attention:

Aides to Republican Sen. John McCain were scrambling last Thursday morning even as his plane was descending into Des Moines. Russia had escalated its aggression in the bordering Republic of Georgia, they told reporters, and McCain wanted to seize the moment.

On the ground in Iowa, advance men raced to erect a podium on the tarmac, just feet from McCain’s plane. The Republican nominee strode to the microphone for the first of several blistering statements condemning Russia’s moves, delivering his comments well before President Bush spoke publicly about the incident.

Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum have already weighed in today on this unseemly showboating. Says Drum:

What this demonstrates is McCain’s urgent, deep-seated desire to believe that he, John McCain, is right smack in the middle of world historical events, a desire remarkably similar to one we’ve seen from George Bush since he took office. That temperament hasn’t worked out so well for the past few years, and I’m not sure the country is ready for a repeat.

It’s not just that, of course, but the McCain camp’s immediate reaction of "Hey, this is good for us!" and rushing to get their guy’s mug on as many TV screens as possible right away. Some people have complained about the Democratic nominee-to-be’s low profile during the crisis, but I wouldn’t be surprised if once Obama does step forward for extended comment, he draws attention to the intentional contrast.

After all, do we really want a presidential candidate — much less a President — whose instinctive reaction to an international crisis is unabashed glee?

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Swopa has been sharing prescient, if somewhat anal-retentive, analysis and garden-variety mockery with Internet readers since 1995 or so, when he began debunking the fantasies of Clinton-scandal aficionados on Usenet. He is currently esconced as the primary poster at Needlenose (