Monday, Sept. 22, 2008

Straight Shootin' John McCain?

By David Luhrssen
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John McCain may once have been a straight talker, but the mainstream media has often overlooked the crooked path he took during the 2008 campaign. Political activist Robert Greenwald made an effort to go around the gatekeepers and reach the public with a series of little YouTube clips revealing the candidate's growing deficit in honesty. These warbled videos have been collected along with a running making-of narrative from Greenwald and cohorts and activist interviews on the DVD documentary The Real McCain.

One can easily quibble with Greenwald's self-congratulatory tone and penchant for wrapping his YouTube segments in sophomoric comedy, but he can be commended for diligent spadework in sifting through tapes of McCain's public utterances with an eye for fool's gold. The Real McCain catches the Senator flip-flopping on the wisdom of the Iraq invasion, the meaning of the Confederate flag, the efficacy of Bush's tax cuts and the moral standing of Jerry Farwell and Pat Robertson.

Speaking of Protestant fundamentalists, Greenwald also secured video of a sermon by Rev. Rod Parsley, whom McCain called a �spiritual guide� and a �moral compass.� A fulminating xenophobe, Parsley conjured an alternative historical universe in which America was founded to oppose Islam. He actually urged his followers to �destroy Islam,� a call to arms that will resonate loudly in the Muslim world should McCain be elected.

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