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Oct 08, 2008

My Fellow Prisoners

Mccain Vietnam  If this election has truly become an endurance test, then perhaps the question to ask is, just how much can one candidate take?

I don't typically put stock in verbal gaffes -- except the one today was particularly interesting ( especially because McCain, if you watch the video, never even realized he made it).  Talking about his economic agenda in Pennsylvania, instead of ending his phrase with "my fellow citizens," McCain instead  said:  "Across this country, this is the agenda I have set before my fellow prisoners."

This shot was taken on McCain's visit to Vietnam and the Hanoi Hilton in April 2000.  (I ran a related image in August stimulated by McCain's confusion over how many houses he owns, speculating on the possibility -- even proffered by his own campaign, by the way -- that the confusion had something to do with his POW experience.)

What makes the image so evocative is how it suggests itself as an embodiment of McCain's current psychological landscape.  Of course, the slip could as easily resulted from McCain jumping ahead in his mind to a later part of his speech.  On the other hand though, perhaps the captivity he suffered, which otherwise never seems far from his thoughts, was telegraphed today as the best emotional equivalent of how the campaign is making him feel.

(image: Jason Reed - Reuters/Corbis. April 26, 2000. Hanoi)


My first guess as to the cause of this mistake was that McCain was going to talk about his POW experience sometime later and simply mixed things up. Going further I assumed he made this particular mistake, saying "my fellow prisoners", because McCain assumed members of the audience felt as shackled as he does by the experience of a campaign. Great site, byw.

I think McCain is getting stressed out. Fatigue is setting in. His weekends off from the campaign aren't enough anymore.

Calling people at a rally "My fellow prisoners" today might mean one of two things. One, he knows something we don't and plans to throw a lot of us in jail after he is elected. Or two, since he likes to constantly throw out that he was a POW, it's now becoming impossible for him to even know when to use it appropriately.

Not only did he not catch it-- neither did anyone else in the video! Just who is listening to this guy, if not his own supporters?

Two things. First of all, it's amazing how the MSM do not harp on this. Imagine if Barack Obama had said "my fellow kenyans" or anything at all other than "americans" he would have been flayed alive. But the bar is so much higher for dems.

As far as the curious "prisoner" remark, it's pretty telling. When you're under duress you flash back to unresolved times in your life. For some of us, it's experiences with parents, ex spouses, or failures at work. For McCain it's possibly the war. But notice I said unresolved memories, not just tough ones. As much as he likes to portray himself as persevering, he is instead conflicted. McCain's actions since only exacerbates the problem. He feels like a prisoner within the Republican Party. Rejected, forgotten, scorned, and (as during the war) forced to subjugate himself in the end. The shocking photo of him bear-hugging Bush is the psychological extension of attachment to your prison guard. He capitulated, once again, sacrificed his very identity to gain acceptance in the GOP. His reward was the nomination. But as he now realizes, it is an empty harvest.

McCain was fooled, and he has not broken free from his imprisonment. He is just now grappling with this fact.

fwiw, crosspost :

From the point of view of many, if not most peoples living outside the U.S.A. ~ it must seem bizarre that Mr. McCain strives to link Mr. Obama (then a child) to an old, 60's-era bomber ~ suffering from delusions of righteousness, while at that time Senator McCain actually was a bomber : suffering from delusions of righteousness.

e.g., It must seem strange (to a world that never saw any righteousness in the Vietnam War) that Senator Obama, or his supporters do not simply respond with something so apparent as : “But Mr. McCain, you were a bomber, yesterday ~ and you are telling the American people that ‘bombing’ remains righteous, today. If "association with old bombers" is the issue, Senator, then the question for the American electorate is truly: whether or not We, the People choose to associate with YOU, an unrepentant bomber; or with ME, an unapologetic peace keeper.

And so for the benefit of all you folks Over There, the best explanation for this strange American ‘conversation’ (or lack, thereof) Over Here that i can come up with is to tell you that: at least one-third, to perhaps as many as one-half of the American electorate, itself does suffer from delusions of righteousness ~ w.r.t. the old Vietnam War; w.r.t. the present occupations of ‘IRAQ’ and Afghanistan; And w.r.t. this newest threat, of ‘righteous unlawfulness by War Exective right’ enabling of our government to violate basic Human and traditionally American bedrock Bill of Civil Rights.

I don't know how many caught it but did not ackowledge it outwardly, but Meghan definitely reacted--watch her eyes, which show immediate surprise and then a furtive look to her right to see if anyone else noticed.

The "Freudian slip" out of McCain that is actually more concerning is the one where he told a group of newspaper editors that he had always aspired to be dictator. I don't know why that comment didn't make more news programs and hasn't been talked up very much. Maybe it's because the rest of the interview was so boring.

I watched the video a couple times. McCain expected a big "huzzah" at the end of his sentence; you can tell by the big buildup before the delivery. When he was greeted with silence, you could see him thinking, "WTF? Why aren't they cheering?" I don't think the error even registered with him.

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