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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Out of State Adventures in the Alternative Universe

The Minute You Think You’re Out, That’s When They Pull You Right Back In Again
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, Godfather III

Porcupine really does try to go on vacation. Really.

Sitting up in Maine, in a little place off the electric grid, Porcupine was musing about why he tried to treat himself with insect repellant when the insects appeared unfazed by these nostrums, and why he bothers with screens when the various flying insects breeze through them laughing. Typical Maine summer activities, not political at all. Turning a limp page of a local paper on a humid day, Porcupine saw a notice that jolted him out of his apolitical torpor – Senator would be making a campaign appearance with gubernatorial candidate Chandler Woodcock, and would be pressing the flesh at the Yarmouth Clam Festival. The proximity of Yarmouth, Maine was too much to resist.

Porcupine spoke to the director of the Maine Republican Party to be sure he was welcome, and then went to the morning press conference at DeLorme, a fantastic map company with an accurate and proportional three story tall globe called Eartha which slowly turns on its axis, replicating the movement of the earth. Porcupine has long been a fan of the DeLorme map books, and has been to the plant before, and would urge it upon anyone going up Route 295 to Freetown.

A Maine crowd is very different from a Massachusetts one – for instance, it’s smaller. When Sen. McCain arrived with Candidate , there were only about twenty people there, excluding reporters, so Sen. McCain was autographing books and posing for photos in a leisurely fashion. It’s interesting to meet presidential candidates in person. He is shorter than you might think, and a little slighter (Mitt Romney is also slight, almost like a greyhound, but very tall). He is a little frail, but has a good strong handshake, and seems a little older until he steps in front of the cameras (rather like Ted Kennedy, who lights up when TV cameras are pointed at him).

After taking his place at the podium with Woodcock, McCain took questions from a bevy of reporters. He had been to Maine earlier, and had campaigned on behalf of Woodcock’s primary opponent, saying he had a special reason to make such an appearance. An aggressive redheaded young lady from the Portland Press Herald reminded him of this in a sneering way, and demanded what his special reason for appearing with Chan Woodcock might be.

That’s easy”, McCain calmly replied. “He won.”

This same young lady asked the Senator about . What response did he have to the condemnation of our European allies for being so one-sided in this matter, and wasn’t the US trying to go it alone once again with cowboy diplomacy?

The Senator’s lips compressed into an angry line. “I’m very disappointed in our European allies. We need to keep an important fact in mind here – was the one attacked. Hezbollah has as part of its charter the goal of destroying Israel, of murdering them all, and we need to remember that our country can never be a party to such extermination. It’s about time we remembered to look at this through the eyes of the Israelis who live in terror, not just the Palestinians.”

John McCain gave a brief speech on international relations, the importance of party loyalty, the excellence of Chan Woodcock as a candidate (running against a disaster like Baldacci, he should win in November!), and the enjoyment he gets out of serving with Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, Maine's two Republican women Senators. He then went to the Clam Fest after a cordial leave taking, as Porcupine headed north to take the mosquitoes on again.

Porcupine’s overall impression? His chance was six years ago; he is a little old now. His energy and intelligence are still at high ebb, but the burden of the Presidency, combined with his age, makes him a less than excellent candidate for 2008. Porcupine has many bones to pick with him, McCain-Feingold among them, but John McCain is an intelligent, dedicated and thoughtful leader, and it is to be hoped that he will be given a prominent role – be it as a Cabinet appointment or advisor – in our next Republican administration. It was a real pleasure to meet a bona fide American Hero, but then again, is The Way Life Should Be.

There are two items Porcupine wishes to call to your attention. First, Porcupine has a truly exceptional tenant this week - Ogre's Politics and Views - and he hopes all visitors wil take the time to visit the venerable Mr. Ogre by clicking on the Rent My Blog box. Secondly, for a long time, Porcupine has had an icon stating "I'm A Proud Friend of Israel" on his blog, but in light of current evets, he has decided to move it to the top of the page. Porcupine urges all bloggers to similarly register their support, and to keep those trapped in the situation in the Middle East in our thoughts and prayers.

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