Ghost of McCain Past

It was May 17, 2004, and the grip of the neo-conservatives was still solid, as George W. Bush demonstrated once more the unfortunate circumstance of having a rigid man in charge during a time of rapid evolution. The future the President and those around him projected, of knocking the top of Iraq and just replacing it with a colonial governor, was in fact the past. The best critique I heard of the Iraq War was by Zbigniew Brzenski, who said it is a war outside it's relationship to history. It is a a colonial war. The following blog is what I wrote on that day, when I still thought McCain was a straight up guy. His moving toward Bush, and the ultra right, changed that.

When the President has a dream which stands brightly in his mind on waking, and on which he reflects for a half hour -- staring out at the garden before suddenly opening his eyes and staring up into a grey, dawning light, and wondering where he might be -- what should he do? George had never had the experience of waking up and then, waking again ... a troubling thing, because it suggested that one can be in a dream and assume one is awake.

"It's damned nonsense," is what he said, but he hit his head on something invisible. At first he thought he was still dreaming, and then it occurred to him that even if he was still dreaming he was not awake, which made no sense to him and he hit his head on the invisible barrier again.

There was no doubt about it. Sometime during the night an artificial ceiling had appeared, absolutely transparent to the eye, but of impenetrable hardness. The President felt a moment of claustrophobic terror, then saw Cheney coming through the bedroom door, crouched down so that his hands were touching the floor. "Thank God you're here," the President said. "Thank God you see it too."

"See what?" Cheney said in a soft, reasonable, self-assured voice. "It's an invisible ceiling, how the hell are we supposed to see it?"

"I thought we agreed to not use bad language," the President said.

"Shut up, Dubya. This is serious."

"What is it?"

"It appears to be invisible."

"You're talking like Rumsfeld, it appears to be invisible. What is it?"

"I don't know what it is, Mr. President. I woke up and there it was, about four-foot-ten off the floor. Nothing seems to affect it except your head."

"What do you mean?"

"Did you try to feel it with your hands?" The President reached up to feel of what he had hit his head against, and hit his head again, hard, though his hand seemingly encountered nothing at all.

"Ouch! Well is it there or isn't it there? If it's there my hand would hit it and if it isn't there my head wouldn't hit against it."

"It seems real enough to your head," Cheney admitted. "But when you try to touch it with your hands they can't find it. That makes it hard to know much about it because you can tell a lot more touching something with your hands than with the top of your head. Here comes Rummy."

He came through the door crouched forward to avoid the invisible ceiling. His knuckles were dragging along the ground, his hair was unkempt, and he hadn't shaved. "It is both there and not there," he said, raising his hands above his head and bumping against something with his head. "We have our reach intact, but we are losing the ability to stand upright."

"How about golf carts?" the President asked. "How high do you think they are?"

"A golf cart might work," Cheney agreed. "But you can't take it up and down stairs or off road. I know this is stating the obvious, but a wheelchair with treads ... all terrain ..."

"Are our boys and girls in uniform hitting this glass ceiling too?" Rumsfeld interrupted. "If they can't stand up straight in Iraq, because of this damned thing, then we need to get them armored wheelchairs. And only the best."

Suddenly John McCain walked into the room, perfectly upright. "I've decided to accept the vice presidential spot with Kerry," he said. "Sorry to do this, but somebody has to at least try to heal the split in the national psyche by throwing the ring back into the earth fires."

"Speak English, McCain," the President snapped. "And why are you standing upright? Didn't anybody tell you that there was a glass ceiling over everything this morning?"

"You're still asleep," McCain said.

The three men looked at each other, their fingers scraping the floor. "We're all dreaming the same dream?" Rumsfeld asked.

"Looks that way," McCain said. "I left my hat last time I had the experience of running against you fellows," he said. "You treated me the same way you treat those Iraqi prisoners. I guess you treat anybody that way who gets between you and what you want." He picked a stylish grey Borsalino off the hatrack, put it on at a slight angle, and walked jauntily out the door.

"How does he do that?" the President asked.

Rumsfeld dragged his knuckles across the floor and gave him a clumsy smack in the face. "Wake up," he said. "We have to get down to business."

Posted: Mon - April 21, 2008 at 12:46 PM