John McCain’s wingman, Mark Salter, has been credited with turning McCain’s life into literature and making a pile of dough off of their book collaborations. As one commentator put it, “I sometimes joke that John McCain is really Mark Salter.”
Salter was naturally drawn to a reexamination of McCain’s “martial heritage,” as the senator put it in Meridian. The son of a World War II and Korea veteran, Salter grew up playing with toy soldiers and reading Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos comic books.
Over the last couple of weeks, Salter returned to the land of fantasy and wrote a speech which McCain delivered yesterday. By using the rhetorical device of imagining what the fifth year of a McCain presidency would be like, Salter avoided any of the pesky “fact-checking” that has bedeviled him in the past and avoided any mention of the current problems of the Republican Party. In this imaginary world we would be out of Iraq and Iraq would be a stable democracy. Americans would have health care and great education. Taxes would be lower, social security would be fixed, our borders would be secure and we would be well on our way to solving global warming. As the Times noted,McCain “offered no proposals for how he would achieve that vision.”
Mr. McCain took issue when a reporter said the candidate had asked everyone to go along on a “magic carpet ride” to 2013. “I don’t think it has anything to do with fantasy,” Mr. McCain said pointedly. “I think it has everything to do with setting goals and achieving.”
The very nerve of a reporter having the audacity to question this Magical Mystery Tour of 2013!