— billmon (@billmon1) December 21, 2013
It’s quite enough to read Paul Waldman’s dismissal at The American Prospect:
In the last couple of years, every time something John McCain says makes “news,” my immediate reaction—sometimes on Twitter, sometimes just in my head—is, “Remind me again why anybody should give a crap what John McCain thinks about anything?” I’ve never been able to get a satisfactory answer to this question. And here comes star reporter Mark Leibovich, author of the well-received This Town, with a 6,634-word cover profile of McCain for next week’s New York Times Magazine. Do we need another one of these? I would have answered “no” before reading, but after, I’m even more sure…
[L]et’s ask: What are the standards we could use to judge whether a senator is an important figure, at least more important than most of his or her 99 colleagues?… An important senator might be influencing critical legislation. No dice there: McCain never much cared about lawmaking (in his three decades in Congress, he authored exactly one important law, which was later eviscerated by the Supreme Court). He might later become a presidential candidate, which is why we pay attention to people like Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, even if they’re ridiculous. No dice there either; McCain won’t be running for the White House again. He might lead some important constituency, or exercise great influence over his colleagues. Nothing there either; McCain represents basically no one, and he has never been popular with other senators. He might be championing an issue that will grow in import in the near future. Nothing there either. He might have some truly profound ideas that will shape policy in years to come. Can you name an important idea John McCain is advocating for?
So all that’s left is that John McCain is important because he gets invited on Meet the Press a lot. If you’re looking for something beyond that, you won’t find it in this article…
Actually, while much of it reads like an obituary, the probable reason for running this tonguebath (“How John McCain Turned His Clichés Into Meaning”) appears on Page 6 (of 9):
… He also has news of his own to make. He mentions to Young that he’s thinking about running for re-election in 2016. This is a different message from the one he sent over the summer, when he said that he didn’t want to be one of those old geezers hanging around the Capitol. He repeats this status update during a commercial to everyone in the studio. “I’m thinking about running again,” he says, and makes eye contact with me to make sure I caught it. “Couldn’t we assume that you were considering this already?” I ask. “Aren’t you also thinking about retiring?” McCain shrugs.
Back on the air, Young asks if McCain has just said that he was considering another run for Senate.
“If some wild-eyed journalist hears this and wants to run with it and says that John McCain has announced on the air that he may run for another term in the Senate — that would not be wrong?”
“That would not be wrong,” McCain says.
I ask McCain if I can tweet the momentous information he has just relayed. He nods….
So, skip the NYT, but it’s worth reading all of Waldman’s rant — especially the lengthy ‘footnote’.