Friday, October 24, 2008

Ratfuckery & the Fog of Lies

This is a picture of Barack Obama with his white grandpa, the man who was married to the woman he is visiting today on what could be her deathbed: his beloved grandma. You see him here, cavorting on the beach in Hawaii with the man who raised him, at about the age when he was supposedly "working closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers to bomb the US Capitol." This blog is my personal flyer to the Republican National Committee and its endless wash of lies: Barack Obama is not, never has been, and never will be, a terrorist. You guys need to stop your brazen lying before you totally destroy my country.

The last lies told by the Republican Party gave us the Iraq War, whose consequences have been "of high moment," as Jonathan Schell writes in this week's issue of The Nation: "thousands of American deaths, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, one country smashed, another dishonored. Now in the last weeks of the presidential campaign, 'the gloves are off' again, fantasy and brutality are mixing in another context, and new streams of lies are being pumped into the public bloodstream from the campaign trail. What will the price be this time?"

I've received more of these ideologically offensive, invasive robocalls again this week. But it was the postal flyer that finally put me over the top. It came without a wrapper, and repeated the same brazen lie about Obama and terrorism. Deftly I put it into a brown envelope and today, while Barack sits at his grandmother's bedside, I mailed it back to the RNC. There was a message written on it from me. "I am returning this latest example of your ratfuckery (political sabotage or dirty tricks, as defined by Wikipedia). Please remove me from your mailing list. I do not want to receive this garbage."

Meanwhile McCain now claims, out on the campaign trail as he tries to salvage his moribund candidacy, referring to Barack Obama, "He'll say anything to get elected." A TV reporter in Missouri asked McCain about the flyer, and whether he was proud of it, to which McCain responded: "Totally." Many of McCain's supporters now believe Obama is a terrorist, and some of them at rallies have been seen to yell "Kill him."

Obama has said assassination is something he can't worry about, that there are too many serious problems he needs to focus on. He claims that what keeps him awake at night is not his personal safety, and it's not even the thought of losing the election. It is the idea of winning the election and then not being able to follow through with his promises.

Jonathan Schell calls Obama "a kind of Mozart of politics," and refers to him as a man of stature, even of greatness--a man who inhabits a degraded public realm with grace. But placed, as he now is, "at the center of the swamp that our political life has become, he has breathed deeply of the narcotic fumes that pervade it." I agree with Schell, however, that even if many of Obama's campaign promises should prove unrealizable in the compromised times he will inherit, his election is a necessity for any decent future for the United States.

People all over the globe are following this election closely, with their hearts in their mouths. As one anonymous blogger wrote from Australia, "The choice you Americans make this time will be felt around the world. Please make a good choice for the sake of all of us!" He clearly felt the best choice was Barack Obama!

Monday, October 20, 2008


I was the recipient last Monday of one of those yuckky GOP robocalls, "alerting" me that Barack Obama had terrorist affiliations with William Ayers and was a danger to this country, and besides, he would raise my taxes. It came the morning after the final debate, in which Obama had squarely refuted both assertions publicly to John McCain, in front of millions of viewers. What's it gonna take, I wondered while I seethed, to get these liars off my back, hopefully forever? A big dose of truth serum laced with a jigger of Milk of Magnesia, maybe?

So you can imagine how pleased I was, having waited on the edge of my seat for "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning, to hear Colin Powell wholeheartedly and passionately endorse Barack Obama. He was blistering about the reasons he felt he had to abandon his old friend John McCain and, in less than seven minutes, managed to lay waste to the Republican Party and it's campaign tactics of fear-mongering and divisiveness. About McCain's negative ads, he said: "It troubled me. Those kind of images going out on Al-Jazeera are killing us around the world." Yow!

Powell never used the word "vile," but I will. About McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for his running mate, Powell left no doubt that she was not exactly presidential material. And he soundly reprimanded both McCain and Palin for their Muslim-bashing: "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that he is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America." Bravo, Colin!

Sarah Palin, however, doesn't agree. When asked in an interview this weekend with CBN Senior National Correspondent David Brody, if she was still "okay with the 'pal around with terrorist line' or wanted to reign that back a little?" Palin responded: "No I would say it again, I would say it again because again it, it, according to the information that we have, the association that he's had with Bill Ayers wasn't just one or two time sitting on a board together where, No, there's been quite a few associations and events and meetings and discussion and emails and calls and to not disavow that too, I think is troubling." Whoever said Sarah Palin makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero was on the money--Sarah's syntax is iffy, to put it mildly. No wonder she needs fencing.

Another conservative, David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times who has praised Obama lavishly at times, and not long ago declared Sarah Palin a cancer on the Republican Party, continues to play cat and mouse instead of offering his unequivocal endorsement of Obama. Brooks just can't seem to bring himself to go whole hog, like Powell did. After praising Obama's calmness under pressure, his current reservation is that Obama lacks fire and seems averse to risk.

Averse to risk? What about running as a relative unknown against the most powerful female candidate in the US, and winning against all the odds? What about that risky trip to Europe and the Middle East to meet with world leaders, with so many people watching and waiting for him to fall flat on his face? What about his decision to give a (history-making) speech on race, instead of throwing his pastor under the bus? What about the decision to rely exclusively on donations from his supporters instead accepting public funding for his campaign? Not risky enough? What about the choice never to attack Sarah Palin, and forbidding his staff to do so, no matter how vicious or sneering she became? It seems like maybe it is David Brooks who is averse to risk, not daring to leave the safety of his Republican Party niche and take the plunge into full endorsement.

But perhaps his reluctance has some good reason--given the avalanche of venom that came raining down on poor Christopher Buckley, a columnist for the National Review (conservative magazine founded by his late father, William S. Buckley), who got sacked from the magazine because of his wholehearted endorsement of Obama. "I haven't left the Republican Party," Buckley said. "It left me." What Buckley meant by that remark was that the party to which he has had a lifelong alliance was no longer recognizable to him. In good conscience he could no longer give its candidates his support.

Last week 20 national newspapers endorsed Obama. So did The New Yorker, whose editors should get the last word here: "The election of Obama--a man of mixed ethnicity, at once comfortable in the world and utterly representative of twenty-first century America--would, at a stroke, reverse our country's image abroad and refresh its spirit at home."

Now that's an endorsement which, together with Colin Powell's of yesterday, that I, because of their truth and goodness, can wholeheartedly endorse!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Week of Stink Bombs and High-Wire Acts

The polls are climbing in Obama's favor, the economy is sinking at shocking speed, and John McCain's beloved sidekick continues throwing one stink bomb after another, to the point of inciting potential anti-Obama race riots. (Palin's cultivated malice almost makes the KKK look untutored.)

Article of the week goes to one of our local columnists, Rick Horowitz, for his great opening line:

"Let me see if I've got this straight: Sarah Palin is saying we don't know enough about Barack Obama?" THAT Sarah Palin, he queries, "who six weeks ago did not yet exist for 99 percent of the American people, and who made it through one vice presidential debate without spontaneously combusting right there on the stage, now [dares] to question Obama's background, character, honesty, and patriotism?"

Well, yeah. You betcha.

"Palin has been pressing the line that people don’t really know 'the real Barack 'Obama," echoed Gail Collins in the New York Times, "and who could make the argument better than a woman who we’ve already known for almost six weeks? Really, she’s like one of the family."

When someone, somewhere, asked Barack how he manages to deal with it all, especially the personal attacks and slurs that keep on spreading like an infectious disease, his response was mind-blowingly simple: "I don't mind having to work harder than anybody else." For all of Obama's touted eloquence, this is the comment, above all others, that makes me love him the most. When the following ruminations arrived on my email (written by a friend of a friend's sister, who sent it to me), my favorite comment, "I don't mind having to work harder than anybody else," took on new meaning:

"What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to?
What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife
after she no longer measured up to his standards?
What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers,
but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
What if Obama were a member of the 'Keating 5'?
What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?"

"If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election
numbers would be as close as they are?
This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities
in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.
Don't forget: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter....."

This week I also saw the film "Man on Wire," about a French high-wire artist, Philippe Petit, whose dream was to string a cable between the two towers of the World Trade Center and walk across it, from one building to the other. Since he knew he would never get official permission, the artist took it upon himself to carry out this feat as an undercover job, somewhat in the manner of a bank heist.

It took a year of secret maneuvers and phony passes to get his equipment up to a storage room on the roof and figure out how to attach the cable. After a night-long operation to attach the cable with the help of a few compatriots in crime, slightly after dawn, the artist proceeded to walk out onto it, some 1,350 feet above the ground.

Seeing Petit out there doing knee-bends, even at one point lying down on the wire, and then poised on one leg in mid-air so high against the sky, is not to believe your eyes. But it did remind me of Barack Obama, and I realized how a similar kind of courage, sure-footededness, and equanimity of being has characterized his own extraordinary tight-rope walk through this election. No litany of disgraceful epithets issued by GOP pit bulls can ever rival either of these men's remarkable accomplishments.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Another Round oF "Holiday with McCain"

The story about the "Holiday with McCain" letter that has been circulating on the Internet and has been the topic of my previous two blogs, took another turn when Mary-Kay Gamel, the UC Santa Cruz professor whose name is on the letter but who, as it turns out, is not its author, wrote me yet again stating that although she did not write it, the letter itself may not be inauthentic:

"Dear Ms. Gablik: I appreciate your sending around my disclaimer, but you don't need to take yourself so much to task. There is no proof yet that the story is false; has it under investigation.
But the main point is that there are many much more solid reasons to reject McCain, including, on the personal side, his shameful abandonment of his first wife, which is unquestionably true.

Thinking about this some more, I believe on further consideration that the experiences described in the letter ring true, and probably ARE an authentic account of SOMEBODY"S actual experiences with McCain. There is a telling article which describes McCain's personal history along similar lines in some detail, which you can find in Rolling Stone, at this site:

And now that McCain & his winking, lipsticked Barracuda have dedicated themselves to trying to establish Obama's credentials as a bonafide terrorist by association, you might want to check out this site as well:

The following is a very short excerpt of a huge documentation of outright lies about Obama, making the case for his being a Muslim. We've all heard about this kind of thing, but coming face to face with its despicableness is really quite shocking:

"Barack Hussein Obama, II (allegedly born in Honolulu,[1][2] August 4, 1961) is the 2008 nominee of the Democratic Party for president.[3] Obama has served as a freshman Democratic Senator from Illinois since 2004. On August 23 he chose Senator Joseph Biden as his running mate. In 2007, Obama was rated the most liberal Senator by the National Journal, who had rated Senator John Kerry the most liberal senator during his presidential run as well.[4] If elected, Obama may become the first Muslim President of the United States...

Obama and Islam

Obama is likely to be Muslim because:
Obama's background and education are Muslim
Obama's middle name remains Muslim, meaning "descendant of Muhammad," which most Christians would not retain[8]
Obama recently referred to his "Muslim faith"[9]
Obama uses the Muslim Pakistani pronunciation for "Pakistan" rather than the common American one[10]
Obama, in his autobiography "Dreams from My Father" (1995), descibes Muslim Malcolm X as his favorite black leader
Obama's claims of conversion to Christianity arose after he became politically ambitious, lacking a date of conversion or baptism.[11]
The odds of Obama being truthful in his claim that he converted to Christianity are less than 100 to 1 against it, as fewer than 1% of Muslims convert to Christianity.[12]
Obama claimed to have visited 57 states while campaigning for president of the United States, which of course has only 50 states.[13] He could never explain where the false number of 57 came from, but it has been observed that there are 57 Islamic states and Obama was educated at an Islamic grade school while he lived in an Islamic country.[14]
Obama downplays his Islamic background by claiming that his Kenyan Muslim father was a "confirmed atheist" before Obama was born, but in fact less than 1% of Kenyans are atheists, agnostics or non-religious.[15] There is apparently no evidence of any Christian activities or local church participation by Obama while he was in Massachusetts from 1988 to 1991. Finally, Obama abruptly left his church in Chicago in 2008 when it became politically controversial, without first finding another church to join."

But I wouldn't want you to leave this blog today with a rotten taste in your mouth, so now cheer yourself up with this nice story, from an anonymous blogger on

"The Norwegian newspaper VG has reported a truly amazing story about a newlywed trying to get to Norway to be with her husband, and the stranger who helped pay an unexpected luggage surcharge. It was 1988, and Mary Andersen was at the Miami airport checking in for a long flight to Norway to be with her husband when the airline representative informed her that she wouldn't be able to check her luggage without paying a 100 surcharge:

When it was finally Mary’s turn, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.

-You’ll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway, the man behind the counter said. Mary had no money. Her new husband had traveled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call. I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions, says Mary.

As tears streamed down her face, she heard a "gentle and friendly voice" behind her saying, "That's okay, I'll pay for her." Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before. He had a gentle and kind voice that was firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?

Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man. He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.

She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.

Who was the man?

Barack Obama.

Twenty years later, she is thrilled that the friendly stranger at the airport may be the next President and has voted for him already and donated 100 dollars to his campaign:

He was my knight in shining armor, says Mary, smiling."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Virgil's Boss Takes a Hit

I stand duly corrected and humiliated for my previous post "Holiday with McCain." It is a phony, an Internet decoy and like a sitting duck I fell for it and got my butt kicked. Rather than simply deleting the post, however (it's only been up for less than 24 hours), I am appending the rest of the story here as an object lesson, and as my public whupping for being caught out with my pants down. I ask for readers' forgiveness. From the alleged author of the essay came this email:

"Apologies for this general statement, but it's the best I can do. I have received thousands of emails and phone calls about the Turtle Island account. I spend many hours every day replying but still can't keep up.

I did NOT write that account, forward it under my name, or ask for it to be widely distributed. Nor did I make public an account by my "friend Ana Dubey." I don't know Ms. Dubey, or even if she exists.

I have never been to Turtle Island (which costs $2000/day), have never met Senator McCain, was a classics major, not an English Literature major, and never eat pancakes.
I have no way of knowing whether this story is true or false, and unless/until the real author comes forward we won't know. I regret any misinformation which is circulating. This is NOT an organized effort on the part of any political candidate.

How I think this happened: on 16 September I received this account fourth-hand and forwarded it, with full email trail information and the name of the purported author Ms. Dubey, to several friends with whom I discuss politics. It was further forwarded, and at some point I was identified as the author or as making the story public on behalf of Ms. Dubey. I suspect whoever did this thought that my name and contact information would make the story more credible. is investigating the account; current status "undetermined." They have posted my disclaimer.

I hope you will pass this information on to anyone interested in this story."


p.s. see the article "Make-Believe Maverick" in the current ROLLING STONE
Mary-Kay Gamel
Professor of Classics, Comparative Literature, and Theater Arts
Cowell College
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California 95064
831-459-2381 (office); 831-429-8803 (home)

And to the commentator who wrote me directly on the blog in the Comments column to point this out, if somewhat less kindly, my profound apologies. I have learned a forever lesson. You are absolutely right in what you said, and I am also appending that blog comment here:

"As usual, your hate blinds your judgment. This letter on which you have placed your imprimatur is a farce. Sadly, so are you.

You have no shame in surrendering reason for a dime-bag's worth of Turkish Delight - the sweet satisfaction of any vitriolic ranting against “the other side.” Truth be damned.

I don’t suppose you considered fact checking before proving you are no longer worthy of anyone’s trust.

You have moved from the comic relief to a pathetic Iago wanna be.

You really need to turn your heart away from such debilitating hatred. Even your crocodilian confidant will tell you that."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Holiday with McCain

It seems that the McCain campaign has already announced its plans for a(nother) carpet-bombing month of attack ads against Obama. So get your barf bags ready. This guy is such a stinker--all I can think about is burying him in Yucca Mountain. But anyone reading this who still thinks he is an otherwise honorable, decent man stuck in the jungle of a tough campaign, doing whatever it takes to win at all cost--and merely playing politics-as-usual hardball--needs to check this out. It's a testimony written by a woman Professor of Literature and Theater Arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and I presume it will circulate profusely on the Internet over the next few weeks. McCain's scuzzy behavior goes way back, and is hardly confined to the political arena. My nightmare scenario is not just McCain and Palin at the helm of this country, but the prospect of the other limbo men--Lindsay Graham, Joe Lieberman, Rudy Giulliani--all of whom will certainly be on board in key positions to assist them. Just think about it, and then read this:


It was just before John McCain's last run at the
presidential nomination in
2000 that my husband and I vacationed in Turtle Island
in Fiji with John
Cindy, and their children, including Bridget (their
adopted Bangladeshi

It was not our intention, but it was our misfortune,
to be in close quarters
with John McCain for almost a week, since Turtle
Island has a small number of
bungalows and their focus on communal meals force all
vacationers who are
at the same time to get to know each other intimately.

He arrived at our first group meal and started reading
quotes from a pile of
William Faulkner books with a forest of Post-Its
sticking out of them. As an
English Literature major myself, my first thought was
"if he likes this so
much, why hasn't he memorized any of this

I soon realized that McCain actually thought we had
come on vacation to be a
volunteer audience for his "readings" which
then became a regular part
of each meal. Out of politeness, none of the
vacationers initially protested
this intrusion into their blissful holiday, but
people's buttons definitely
got pushed as the readings continued day after day.

Unfortunately this was not his only contribution to
our mealtime
He waxed on during one meal about how Indo-Chine
women had the best figures
that our American corn-fed women just couldn't
meet up to this standard. He
also made it a point that all of us should stop
Cindy from having dessert as
her weight was too high and made a few comments to
Amy, the 25 year old wife
the honeymooning couple from Nebraska that she should
eat less as she needed
lose weight.

McCain's appreciation of the beauty of Asian women
was so great that David
the American economist had to move his Thai wife to
the other side of the
from McCain as McCain kept aggressively flirting with
and touching her.

Needless to say I was irritated at his large ego and
his rude behavior towards
his wife and other women, but decided he must have
some redeeming qualities as
he had adopted a handicapped child from Bangladesh. I
asked him about this one
day, and his response was shocking: "Oh, that
was Cindy's idea I
didn't have anything to do with it. She just went
and adopted this thing
without even asking me. You can't imagine how
people stare when I wheel
this ugly, black thing around in a shopping cart in
Arizona. No, it wasn't
my idea at all."

I actively avoided McCain after that, but
unfortunately one day he engaged me
in a political discussion which soon got us on the
topic of the active US
bombing of Iraq at that time. I was shocked when he
said, "If I was in
charge, I would nuke Iraq to teach them a
lesson". Given McCain's
personal experience with the horrors of war, I had
expected a more balanced
point of view. I commented on the tragic consequences
of the nuclear attacks
Japan during WWII but no, he was not to be
dissuaded. He went on to say
that if it was up to him he would have dropped many
more nuclear bombs on
I rapidly extricated myself from this conversation as
I could tell that his
experience being tortured as a POW didn't seem to
have mellowed out his
perspective, but rather had made him more aggressive
and vengeful towards the

My final encounter with McCain was on the morning that
he was leaving Turtle
Island. Amy and I were happily eating pancakes when
McCain arrived and told
that she shouldn't be having pancakes because she
needed to lose weight.
Amy burst into tears at this abusive comment. I
felt fiercely protective of
Amy and immediately turned to McCain and told him to
leave her alone. He
very angry and abusive towards me, and said,
"Don't you know who I
am." I
looked him in the face and said,
"Yes, you are the biggest
asshole I have ever met" and headed back to my
cabin. I am happy to say
that later that day when I arrived at lunch I was
given a standing ovation by
all the guests for having stood up to McCain's

Although I have shared my McCain story informally with
friends, this is the
first time I am making this public. I almost did so
in 2000, when McCain
announced his bid for the Republican nomination, but
it soon became apparent
that George Bush was the shoo-in candidate and so I
did not act then.
now that there is a very real possibility that McCain
could be elected a s our
next president, I feel it is my duty as an American
citizen to share this
I can't imagine a more scary outcome for America
than that this abusive,
aggressive man should lead our nation. I have observed
him in intimate
surroundings as he really is, not how the media
portrays him to be. If his
attitudes toward women and his treatment of his own
family are even a small
indicator of his real personality, then I shudder to
think what will happen to
America were he to be elected as our President.
Mary-Kay Gamel
Professor of Classics, Comparative Literature, and
Theater Arts
Cowell College
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California 95064
831-459-2381 (office); 831-429-8803 (home)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Visiting My Accountant

This week, amid all the financial turmoil, I went to see my accountant. Among other things, I asked him what HE was doing with regard to his investments? Was he moving things around? Bailing out of the stock market?

He said that so far, he'd done nothing. But he had taken a big hit that day, because he was heavily invested in Wachovia, which had just tanked, leaving stockholders in the lurch. Having ventured that far into the personal, I decided to risk more. I asked him who he was planning to vote for. John McCain, was the unfortunate answer.

I'm afraid I instinctively cringed, going into a crouch. But, but, but, what about Sarah Palin? I asked. Aren't you worried about her? No, he said, because I think she's the best of all four candidates. In that moment, my mind expanded to include the possibility of everything.

I suppose, I stammered weakly, that working in the field of finance, you inevitably vote Republican. I was trying to make this be okay. He's been my accountant for many years! Oh no, he said, I always vote the candidate! Yikes! At this point I just fell silent. There wasn't any place to go from here. If it's any consolation, my accountant then said, as if to reassure me, I think Obama is gonna win.

Were I moderating one of the debates, the first thing I would want ask is how, given an economy that is now on life support, can we possibly continue to wage wars that cost $12 billion a month? What is the plan for financing these astronomical sums, when our financial institutions are imploding, one by one, and credit is frozen? Then I'd want to know how and why the GOP is getting away with undermining the legislative probe in Alaska regarding illegal antics during Palin's gubernatorial tenure? In a replay of Washington, subpoenas have been issued, but no one is talking. Why isn't there a huge stink about this? And lastly, I want to hear the candidates' views on Armageddon. Sarah, it seems, has claimed she has a "special role," along with Alaska, in facilitating End Times. I want the whole story here too.

After the first presidential debate, I read something that interested me. Many people noticed, and commented unfavorably, on the fact that John McCain failed to ever look at Obama. Ultimately it lost him a lot of ground. A psychologist blogging on the Internet claimed it was because McCain was afraid of Obama. He based this assessment on his extended studies of monkey behavior. Low-ranking monkeys, it seems, never look at high ranking monkeys. "In a physical, instinctive sense," the psychologist wrote, "Obama owned McCain tonight, and I think the instant polling reflects that."

Someone else also observed that at the end of the debate, Obama walked towards Michelle, looked her in the eye and kissed her. McCain waited for Cindy to come to him, and it was Cindy who gave him a kiss. "To me," the man wrote, "this is very telling about how these two men see and treat women. Obama seems to be the type of man who sees their wife as equals, combining love and affection with respect. On the other hand, McCain seems to belong to the traditional sense of 'macho' men, head of the family type, who love their wife but at the same time expect a certain degree of obedience, like listen to me, come to me, do as I say."

I have to say I noticed a moment like this myself. After a campaign appearance, as shown on TV, McCain and Cindy were walking together down a corridor and he was accosted by a reporter. I was astonished at the way he just left Cindy behind, abandoned her, and walked on ahead talking with the reporter. I saw her stop dead in her tracks behind him for several seconds, with a "what am I--chopped liver?" kind of look on her face. I could almost hear the words inside her head: "Oh fuck, not again!" I can really relate to that look of absolute pique, because I've seen it on the faces of many friends whenever the name John McCain comes up in the conversation.