Straight talk

By ADAM REILLY  |  May 14, 2008

Another example: in 2000, McCain said of his Vietnamese captors, “I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.” McCain eventually apologized, but seemed to have considerable difficulty understanding that Asian-Americans respond to “gook” in much the same way that African-Americans respond to “nigger.” There’s a wide body of lore describing McCain’s temper, too, which the Arizona Republic, a paper that repeatedly endorsed McCain’s congressional bids, described in a 1999 editorial as “volcanic.”

People everywhere see their marriages split up, and say things they later regret, and become angrier than they should. But most of them don’t pursue moral and ethical instruction as a sideline. McCain has — and, in the process, he’s invited scrutiny of his own character.

Some of these stories may already be in the works; others may have been deemed beyond the pale. But remember: the political press has already explored (among other things) the sleeping habits of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Obama’s ties to former Weatherman Bill Ayers. We have, in short, embraced an expansive criterion when it comes to coverage: if a given subject tells us anything about what kind of president a candidate might be, it’s fair game. That’s how it’s been for the Democrats, anyway. McCain ought to be treated the same way.

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