March 10, 2008

"But if you use the word pal — or worse, the phrase my friend — in my kitchen, it'll make people paranoid. My friend famously means 'asshole'...."

So writes the chef Anthony Bourdain in his great memoir "Kitchen Confidential," right after reeling off a long, colorful list of scorching epithets the kitchen staff used routinely and in good fun.

Ever notice how often John McCain interjects "my friend"? I always sort of feel that maybe he means "asshole."

Anyway, here's something from The New Yorker, from Hendrik Hertzberg:
McCain does not always use the word “friend” in a friendly spirit; this time, though, he sounded perfectly amiable. The celestial choirs were a little more muffled the next day, in the White House Rose Garden. President Bush, offering the nominee-elect his (somewhat superfluous) endorsement, referred to McCain as “my friend” and himself as “your friend.” McCain, for his part, abjured the “f” word.
Well, maybe you don't talk to the President like that, and maybe the President was putting him in his place.

Link via Drudge, who's highlighting the part about Condi:
If McCain really wants to have it all—to refurbish his maverick image without having to flip-flop on the panderings that have tarnished it; to galvanize the attention of the press, the nation, and the world; to make a bold play for the center without seriously alienating “the base”—then he can avail himself of a highly interesting option: Condoleezza Rice.

... [W]ith Rice on the ticket the Republicans could attack Clinton or Obama with far less restraint.

By choosing Rice, McCain would shackle himself anew to Bush’s Iraq war. But it’s hard to see how those chains could get much tighter than he has already made them....

Choosing Rice would be a trick. Her failures would be buried in an avalanche of positive publicity for a personal story as yet only vaguely known to the broad public. (One of the little girls who died in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing was her playmate? We didn’t know that!) But the trick would not be an entirely cynical one. Her ascension, though nowhere near as momentous a breakthrough as the election of Obama or Clinton, would be a breakthrough all the same.

46 comments:

Middle Class Guy said...

When I was young, a Jewish friend told me the use of my friend stood for mother fu**er.

Middle Class Guy said...

Rice as VP has been floating around for months. As to whether it would be a wise choice is up for grabs.

Unlike, Hillary, she is a woman of accomplsihment and for bad or good has been responsible for many years in the implementation of actual public policy. She has a demonstrated, verified, documented, and vetted record.

Spread Eagle ® said...

Demonstrate to the Democrats and the rest of the world what a black and a woman with real credentials looks and sounds like.

knoxwhirled said...

the trick would not be an entirely cynical one

Understatement... There's much more to Condi than just being a black woman; in fact, plenty of people pushed for Condi 08 until she said about 5 million times she wasn't interested in running for president.

Sloanasaurus said...

Rice would be a good pick, especially since McCain is not running away from the WOT and Iraq, he is embracing it. Moreover, it wouldn't be pandering because no one would argue that Rice, as secretary of state, is not qualified to be president (unlike Obama).

Larry J said...

There are a lot of Republicans who regard Rice very highly. Some of us were hoping Cheney would resign years ago so she could be nominated to take his place. That's why some Democrats tried to slime her when she was nominated for Secretary of State.

Kirby Olson said...

This would be especially interesting if Obama was ousted by the superdelegates and wasn't even on the ticket as VP, but Hillary instead chose Edwards or someone along those lines.

The Republicans do have a long record of being right on the race issue. Lincoln was a Republican.

Democrats in the Civil War were often hold outs (Copperheads) who thought that states had their own rights to decide on slavery and there was no such thing as universal human rights.

Lincoln felt differently, as does Bush today.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Rice would be a good pick, especially since McCain is not running away from the WOT and Iraq, he is embracing it.

It's not that simple. He is running away from the way the Iraq war was fought for most of the time it's been going on. Rice was one of Bush's top foreign policy advisors that whole time.

Smilin' Jack said...

Given McCain's age and health, voting for Rice for VP is essentially the same as voting for her for Prez. Lots of problems with that, starting with the fact that she's never held elective office before.

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sloanasaurus said...

It's not that simple. He is running away from the way the Iraq war was fought for most of the time it's been going on. Rice was one of Bush's top foreign policy advisors that whole time.

That's a silly rationalization. Dems must be worried about a McCain-Rice ticket.

john said...

I think it would be an unwise move to choose Rice as VP. Does the GOP really want a close look at her mideast diplomacy? And does McCain really want such a close tie to the Bush WH?

He needs a governor on the ticket. Sarah Palin could be a great choice, and her husband works in the north slope oil patch. Young, pretty, seems rather ballsy too. But boy would she make him look old.

john said...

Yikes,

Everyone makes him look old.

john said...

Well,

Almost everyone:

http://byrd.senate.gov/

titusinfirstposition said...

Friends pal whatever.

Love Henrik but lets get back to the sex scandal.

This is huge and I am outraged.

A governor visited a hooker.

Let's get our priorities in line. Focus people.

dualdiagnosis said...

Sarah Palin first, Condi second.

A strong woman as VP, and there are many, would be a KO punch.

titusinfirstposition said...

I think quite a few of the wingnuts hate Condi.

John Stodder said...

Her ascension, though nowhere near as momentous a breakthrough as the election of Obama or Clinton, would be a breakthrough all the same.

What do you suppose Hertzberg meant by that?

I know, the obvious interpretation is, Obama/Clinton is running for president while she would at most become VP, first in the line of succession but not top banana.

But it seems like a weird way to express it. Is there something less black or less female about Rice that I didn't know?

I would think it would be more momentous if the "racist" Republicans elected an African-American veep. I have no doubt that if a candidate as strong as Obama who happened to be black had emerged in, say, 1988, s/he'd have had a chance. Call me naive, but don't forget the boomlet for Colin Powell to run for VP in '92.

I would also argue Clinton's election would be distinctly non-momentous, seeing as how her candidacy is only imaginable because her husband was president first. If Clinton had failed to win in '92, does anyone think Hillary would have a political career today?

No one today thinks of Lurleen Wallace as a pathbreaker. Indeed, we've had a First Lady-run government already, from 1919-21, during the time of President Wilson's convalescence.

paul a'barge said...

On the CB radio among truckers, the phrase Good Buddy means a "homosexual".

caplight777 said...

I can't even think of Condi as the Veep because then I'd have to think of her as the POTUS and my brain doesn't go there. Besides she is not liked in the African American community all that much.

However--Kitchen Confidential is a great read. Couldn't put it down. Highly recommend it.

Cedarford said...

"My Friend" is a creepy little passive-aggressive "personality tick" that McCain has. Rumored to have started in Vietnam when he was forced to address captors as "Dear Comrade Guard" "My Friend, Questioner Le Doc Ngyen, who has my best interests at heart".

It is creepy because he uses the phrase sincerely addressing crowds, real friends like Teddy and Arlen - and when he is being a vindictive little prick attacking someone he thinks crossed him as "My Friend".

Like his good friends Dubya, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama in McCains famous contemptuous letter to him that called Obama in so many words a fat liar.

It is one of the reasons Hill insiders consider him a little nuts.

************
and Spread Eagle ® said...
Demonstrate to the Democrats and the rest of the world what a black and a woman with real credentials looks and sounds like.


Looks and sounds like a failure.

A Condi Rice Presidency would mean not only an implicit continuation of the "business as usual" Presidency, it would mean a campaign run on what Rice was responsible for as Bush's #1 confidente & foreign policy advisor in 8 years.

A woman with no elective office ever, a woman with no executive experience until becoming Secretary of State where her record is mixed, at best. If possible, US power, reputation, and influence overseas is even lower in 2008 than it was in 2004
before Rice was SoS.

With a perception that she has not fared well persuading the EU, Russia, China, and the US Congress on nearly anything on her plate.

A suicidal choice for McCain.

Run someone less qualified than Obama as your #2 "ready to step in on Day one" and you take away any issue of Obama's experience and quals. And you get into accepting affirmative action bonus points as credential enough - "But she is black, woman, articulate, and might even be a lesbian!!! Whats not for blacks, feminists, gays, and fans of articulate negroes to love???"

When Republican wingnuts decide to "outsmart Democrats" at their own game of identity politics by parachuting an implausible (as opposed to plausible like Michael Steele) candidate in, the result is the Obama-Keyes fiasco.

It doesn't win any black votes, and despite Republicans touting "inspiring life story" crap like Keyes - it is properly seen as a manipulative insult.

titusinfirstposition said...

Gays do like Condi. They still love her for wearing those dominatrix boots. And she is definitely a friend of Dorothy's.

Big lesbo-probably not a good candidate for the republicans.

john said...

Titus, you are absolutely right about wingnuts hating Rice:

http://www.arktimes.com/blogs/arkansasblog/2006/09/poor_poor_condi.aspx

An uppity n****r really upsets their sense of knowing one's proper place (on the plantation). I'm glad you agree that we, fellow republicans all, consider this abhorrent.

Saul said...

Lieberman is actually the perfect pick.

P. Rich said...

"My friend" is smarmy. It's gotten old, and McCain needs to drop it. But he won't.

Slightly off topic:

The Dem superdelegates will hand the race to Mrs. Clinton, and Obama will run as VP. This satisfies all the old establishment Dem pols, gets both candidates on the national ticket, and avoids the inevitable loss of fanatical partisan Dem voters if either one - but not both - runs. Obama will do this because the Dem machine will promise him the future presidential nomination. The only real question at this point is how to package the farce, as no other solution works for the Hypocrisy Party.

You read it here.

Cedarford said...

If I may, a plug for Bourdain. His travels and food commentary mixed with his mildly sadistic, ascerbic views on life, show, is great.

The transformation of Iceland into the endless night gastronomic hell on Earth as he ate traditional Icelandic tidbits like fermented shark chunks and stewed sheep jaw? His quest to get blind drunk to forget what he ate while guilt tripping about offending his "ultra-nice" hosts, was an awesome show.

His best recent one may have been how he went to Lebanon right as the summer war with Hez and the Israelis started. Which turned into nothing about food, but one of the best one-hour shows ever on someone caught in a modern precision war and what it means to be an American. A journey from an ordinary start to calm Lebs as bombs fell dining away a half mile away from a neighborhood being bombed into oblivion. "No, there is no problem here, Tony. The Zionists are very skilled at hitting what they wish to hit and this area our restaurant is in is safe."
A journey that ends with Bourdain and crew interviewing fellow evacuees after the UN fucked up and the French and the Americans came in to efficiently evacuate their citizens - mostly Leb natives that got citizenship overseas then went back after the Civil War. And being on an Amphib Landing Support ship raving about how good the US soldiers and sailors were, even how nothing tasted better or was more appropriate at that point than standard US Navy chow like fish sticks and Mac&Cheese.

And his book "Kitchen Confidential" was a wonderful read.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Big lesbo-probably not a good candidate for the republicans."

Titus might be correct on some level here. I don't care to know what her private life is or is not about, as I think she is an exceptionally talented and intelligent person and eminently qualified for the office. However, you can be sure that the extreme religious right would throw a huge hissy fit.

As for Condi, why in the world would she want to open that can of worms and put herself and others into the meat grinder of politics?

The usage of My Friend is about as sincere as a black dude in Oakland calling a white Berkley geek "Bro". Neither on of those appellations is correct and is in fact a condescending insult.

integrity said...

Let's see:
1. Perpetrated fraud in regard to Iraq

2. Perpetrated indecency in regard to Katrina

3. Perpetrated vile philosophy on the world

Please add this heinous human being to the republican '08 ticket, NOW!

john said...

"2. Perpetrated indecency in regard to Katrina

3. Perpetrated vile philosophy on the world"

Wow, did I miss that on TV? Is this part of the lesbian thing? I thought you leftists were more tolerant of peoples sexual traits.

Integrity - that's quite a name.

rhhardin said...

My friend is mostly a dysfluency, a pause while the sentence is constructed.

If he needs to pause to construct the sentence though, probably he's not your friend.

Middle Class Guy said...

"Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demiglace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living."

From Kitchen Confidential

titusinfirstposition said...

John I love lesbians. I think most do.

I don't know if some republicans will love the lesbian thing though.

I am one of the tolerant republicans.

titusinfirstposition said...

Bill Kristol threw out Clarence Thomas's name in his editorial today for a VP for Mccain.

Now there is a candidate people would love.

igbalonigbanlo said...

Dust Bunny Queen said

"The usage of My Friend is about as sincere as a black dude in Oakland calling a white Berkley geek "Bro". Neither on of those appellations is correct and is in fact a condescending insult."

It depends on your generation and how tight you are with said berkeley geek or whether said black dude even grew up in the 'burbs, a lot of my generation and those coming after don't care about such things.

The Exalted said...

what a joke - she has zero support.

he might as well grab bill kristol.

George said...

If Obama is on the Dem. ticket, Condi is a must...

She and McCain can go toe-to-toe with Barry and Michelle, and nobody can call her a racist (Aunt Tomasina, maybe)...

she splits the black vote...

she helps defuse the McCain age issue...

she can blame Bush and Cheney for anything that went wrong in Iraq...

she's a blank slate on domestic issues...

and she lacks Obama's weird cultural baggage...

Plus, she tickles the ivories better than Truman and Nixon put together

...as in piano, not white voters.

Paddy O. said...

she has zero support.

"In all my years of interviewing, I have never been prouder to spell my name w-o-m-a-n than after spending time with Condoleeza Rice." — Oprah

jeff said...

Yes, but remember the right wing distancing themselves from Cheney after it became well known his daughter was not only a lesbian, but that she had his full support? Oh wait..

Bruce Hayden said...

It really would be humorous to see the race if Obama and Rice are in it. Rice is far "blacker" than Obama, both in skin color and in experiences. She experienced Jim Crow, etc. near first hand with friends killed in a church bombing when very young, and remembers her father and the other men of the community patrolling it with guns to protect it from (then Democratic) white bigots (and, hence her strong support of the 2nd Amdt.) Contrast this with Obama, who really grew up white. He definitely never did time in the Jim Crow / pre-Civil Rights Act south.

She is also far more acceptable to the Religious Right than is McCain. By all indications, she is fairly religious, and her father was a minister (and she went to an all girls Catholic prep school - though she is Protestant).

Her religious problem with Blacks though is that she has never really felt at home in a Black church. Apparently, while at Stanford, she did play the organ at one for awhile, but went back to her Presbyterian roots. So, I don't expect her to be able to compete with Obama in his mimicking Black ministers in some of his speeches (ok, Hillary tried it too, it just looked silly when she did it).

I think her one downside is her close association with President Bush (43). On the other hand, she has far more national security and diplomatic experience than Clinton and Obama combined.

George said...

It's like slow-train Bob sez....

Cain had a woman from down Alabama,
Condi was a backwoods girl, but she sure was realistic,
She said, "B'rack, without a doubt, have to quit your mess and straighten out...

All that foreign oil controlling American soil,
Look around you, it's just bound to make you embarrassed....

Well, Condi went to Illinois for that bad-talkin' boy she could destroy
A real suicide case, but there was nothin' I could do to stop it....

Sloanasaurus said...

Condi has a lot of executive experience. In addition to running the state department she was the budget manager Stanford University for 6 years in the 1990s. She would make an excellent Vice President.

rhhardin said...

I know a lesbian faculty member at Stanford who couldn't stand Condi, as of her initial appointment.

Some dynamic I'm uncurious about.

Windbag said...

A McCain-Rice ticket would be cast as a gimmick. The MSM hasn't given Rice her proper due. If she were a Dem, nominated by a Dem, we wouldn't have heard the end of the barriers she's broken and the accomplishments she's achieved. Rice would be villified even more as an Oreo and worse.

McCain should announce Michael Steele as his running mate before the Dem nomination is settled. That would steal (no pun intended) much of their thunder.

Cedarford said...

When certain conservative Republicans play "the diversity game", they end up looking like morons.

If not Bush's #1 advisor, the never elected, hapless Condi - "conservative brains" come up with great ideas like Mary Cheney (Shes a woman! And a lesbian! She'd lock up the gay vote and steal all the women if Hillary isn't on the ticket!)

Or Michael Steele - though he was only elected to a very minor state position for 3 years with no real executive duties - and both Hillary and Obama beat him on time in office.

Like Rice would actually effect the black vote when Bush got 4% of it with Powell and Rice as his most important advisors in 2000. Since then, her reputation has gone downhill...

It's like Democrats after a midnight pizza brain storm voncluding the perfect candidate for Obama is a Gay, Fundie Baptist Air Force general to take the Fundie and the military vote. It would be instantly seen as a manipulative gimmick.

section9 said...

Rice is probably the best choice McCain could make.

McCain is going to run on getting out of Iraq in good order and with victory, and Rice is primarily responsible for promoting David Petraeus within the Administration and the sacking of Donald Rumsfeld. The assignment of Gates was also another Rice move.

Rice had been moving to reform Iraq policy since 2005, but Rumsfeld and Cheney had a hammerlock on Iraq policy. McCain understood this, and had always opposed Administration policy from the outside. Don't be surprised if he rewards Condi for her inside work against the hapless Donald Rumsfeld.

A lot of our success in Iraq today can be traced to Condi's efforts to find out what could work in Iraq early on. She's not one to toot her own horn, and she was also not one to get into huge public fights with the Donald, something McCain has also taken note of (loyalty is a premium with him).

Lastly, Pacific Rim policy has been a huge success under Rice. Relations with Japan, India and Australia have solidified. This is not generally acknowledged by Democrats, but a Navy guy like McCain probably has figured this out. Korea remains a running sore, but appears to be on its way to resolution. Our policy appears to be "son of containment".

People want someone they can conceive of being President if something happens to McCain. People can accept Rice as President (well, okay, not the Settler Lobby and people like Caroline Glick and the 9/11 Truther lobby, they hate her). However, she'd be a smash with the rank and file in the Republican Party, and that's what VP's are supposed to do.

El Presidente said...

I had a friend once who used the word "little friend" in english "pal". He was handsome, popular and smart. He just couldn't be bothered with remembering all his "little friends'" names.

When I came to power I had him killed.