Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

John McCain's Friends

The man who has more enemies in his own party than any front runner in memory keeps talking about friends.

"Tonight, my friends," John McCain said after the Super Tuesday voting, "we won a number of important victories in the closest thing we've ever had to a national primary."

In what poker players would call a "tell," McCain's use of the expression may reveal more about him than he realizes. At the 2004 Republican convention, after a tribute to FDR, who used the phrase constantly, McCain said, "My friends, we are again met on the field of political competition with our fellow countrymen...But it should remain an argument among friends who share an unshaken belief in our great cause, and in the goodness of each other."

In that speech, McCain was biting a bullet to praise George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who had smeared him so viciously four years earlier that he considered leaving the Republican Party.

"My friends" appears to be McCain's verbal shield against expressing the anger he is famous for in Senate squabbles with members of both parties. During this year's Presidential debates, before launching an attack on Mitt Romney, he would begin with a tight smile, "My friend,..."

Whoever gets the Democratic nomination to oppose McCain should keep in mind an old folk saying, "If you have him for a friend, you won't need an enemy."

1 comment:

Yellow Dog Don said...

I read a lot about rivals in the primary contests who are power brokers at the conventions. I can not recall anyone who won the nomination choosing one of these rivals as a vice president.

Was such an instance in the 20th century?