According to the national media, no matter what Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says, he’s always going to be a fun, straight-talking, regular guy. In fact, every little thing he does — whether it’s joking about killing civilians or simply grilling meat — is magic to reporters. Just today, when McCain joked about shipping adviser Phil Gramm to Belarus — a place still covered in radiation from Chernobyl — reporters gushed over the “trademark John McCain wit.”
As another example, in today’s LA Times, contributing editor Rob Long effusively praises McCain’s honesty in insulting college students:
A few weeks ago, John McCain made a little joke at his wife’s expense. Referring to her alma mater — Cindy McCain is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she was a cheerleader and sorority sister — he called it “USC, the University of Spoiled Children.”
It’s not an original joke, of course — it’s been around for ages, possibly even as long as John McCain himself — but it said a lot about the man who wants to be president.
It says he’s honest. He’s a straight-talker. And he’s willing to speak truth to … well, not to power, exactly, but to healthy, fit young people in shorts and flip-flops. Which is more than his opponent can say.
Long is, most likely, being humorous. But his sarcasm mirrors the actual adoration by the media. A look at some other proof the media have used to demonstrate that McCain is just a regular guy:
McCain barbeques: “He was wearing a sweatshirt with a lithograph photo of his family — like a Christmas card picture. So just another grandpa at the grill.” [Mike Allen, Politico]
McCain rides first-class on Acela trains: “John McCain traveled like a man of the people Friday morning, riding an Amtrak train to Philadelphia after a late night of voting in Washington.” [Libby Quaid, Associated Press]
McCain jokes about killing Iranian civilians: “The guy seems like any guy you’d want to have around the dinner table or the bar stool.” [Chuck Todd, NBC]
McCain jokes about blowing up Jon Stewart with an IED: “Despite the fact he steps over the line sometimes. It makes him seem much more accessible to voter. You know, everybody likes a guy with a good sense of humor.” [Carol Costello, CNN]
McCain backtracks from his statements on Iraq: BLITZER: There was some straight talk, very straight talk, from John McCain today. Then, he seemed to backtrack a little bit. What happened?
BASH: He realized his straight talk was too straight, Wolf. [Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash, CNN]
Note to potential presidential contenders: Barbeque, make off-color jokes, and ride first-class on trains, and the media will love you.