"No way was this in any way intended to undermine the president," John McCain is saying -- with a straight face -- to Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends, pitching a new A&E movie based on his memoir, written with Mark Salter, Faith of My Fathers. "These guys are under no obligation to be consistent," quips Tony Snow in a later F&F segment.
"Listening to them I thought of some of the great and hallowed phrases of our Republic," writes Peggy Noonan at the top of her game pricking the balloon of self-regard that floats the "Gang of 14" -- blogged here and here:
"The rooster who thought he brought the dawn." "The only man who can strut sitting down."
I know they're centrists, but there is nothing moderate about their self-regard. And why should there be? I personally was dazzled by their refusal to bow to the counsels of common sense and proportion, and stirred that they had no fear of justified insult ("blowhard," "puffed up popinjay") as they moved forward in the halls of the United States Senate to bravely proclaim their excellence.
John McCain wryly reminded us not to miss A&E's biography of his heroic Vietnam experience. Joe Lieberman referred to the group as "this band of brothers, and sisters." But my favorite was Lindsey Graham, who said, "I know there will be folks 'back home' who will be angry, but that's only because they're not as sophisticated and high-minded as I am. Actually they're rather stupid, which is why they're not in the Senate and I am. But I have 3 1/2 years to charm them out of their narrow-minded resentments, and watch me, baby."
Oh, excuse me, that's not what he said. That's only what he meant.
Fun stuff. Peggy's deft deflation of Beltway blusterers is an All-American brand of the same grilling sauce the London Times's Gerard Baker heaped onto the world's greatest deliberative body last week -- in the context of the "uniquely repellent" MP George Galloway's dog and pony show before Norm Coleman's committee -- re the "preening pomposity, the orotund turgidity of your typical US senator." Just as with Galloway's admirers, we can't fathom our fellow citizens' regard for McCain, whose smarmy cant and condescension grate like fingernails on a blackboard (do they still have those?) in our ears.