Cliff Notes: John McCain is "not a statesman, nor has he ever been. He’s a petulant bomb thrower."


My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, now has a regular column; hence, because Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He has insights that rival those of our mutual friend, the hilarious Lizz Winstead. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

And he can stir up controversy.

Let's remember that Cliff authored the book The Real McCain, so he knows a thing or two about a thing or two.

Here’s his latest, in part, and he absolutely nails it:

I first encountered the seething side of McCain when I was writing my 2008 book, The Real McCain... [T]he Led Zeppelin-groupie relationship he then enjoyed with many in the media was based on a faulty premise.

John McCain was not a maverick (which he has since admitted after long identifying with the title), but a man driven by a need to fight. ... Think Yosemite Sam on a bender, or Vladamir Putin in those half-naked martial arts pictures. [...]

But the driving force for McCain has been pure vitriol and spite. When I first pointed out this inconvenient truth in my book, that many Republicans, including some willing to go on the record, were sure McCain was motivated by demons and not decency, I was criticised or dismissed in many quarters. [Laffy Note: I can confirm that. Cliff would tell me stories that would curl your hair] [...]

I broke two stories in my book that spoke to McCain’s temperament, that he had physically assaulted a member of his own party after taunting him (Republican Representative Rick Renzi) and had called his wife a very not-safe-for-work term of non-endearment.  [...]

So when others still saw McCain’s breaking from President Bush on taxes, healthcare, the environment and gun control in the early 2000s as a sign of “independence,” I tried to point out what I had learned: He was just doing it because he hated Bush for beating him in the primaries. And when others saw his loss to then-Senator Barack Obama and thought he’d work with Obama to display his maverickyness once Obama was sworn in, I warned that in all likelihood we’d see McCain once again do his best Judge Elihu Smails impression. [...]

He’s not a statesman, nor has he ever been. He’s a petulant bomb thrower. He’s Simon Cowell in a suit.

Cliff Schecter is the President of Libertas, LLC, a progressive public relations firm, the author of the 2008 bestseller The Real McCain, and a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.