Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A step-by-step guide to McCain's letter to Obama

flame ~ v. to insult someone with a criticism or remark meant to incite anger

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has taken public shots at Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), beautifully showing off his infamous temper and previewing the fun to come if these two ever run against each other. Some may think that McCain showed bad form, and even seemed childish, is his letter to Obama. In fact, his letter followed all the Senate rules for flaming a younger colleague.

The Daley Show presents: The Senate Republican Guide to Flaming a Freshman Senator (Snail-Mail Version)

Rule 1: Make your flame public! Every single American is just waiting for the next literary masterpiece composed by you.
Top headline in today's Chicago Tribune: McCain flames Obama. Sun-Times: McCain mocks Obama.

Rule 2: Start with a sarcastic apology. Put your opponent on the defensive. Tell 'em that you are sorry for the misunderstanding.
Dear Senator Obama:
I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere.

Rule 3: Sarcastically thank your opponent for making up his own mind. It's obvious that everyone should follow your lead. You must be getting old, so thank your opponent for setting you straight.
Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions.

Rule 4: Admit embarrassment and/or confusion. You're the elder statesman. You should not be fucked with.
I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble.

Rule 5: Hit 'em low with a compliment. It's important to make yourself sound sincere. Just make sure your opponent remembers who's in charge here.
When you approached me ... I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable.

Rule 6: Threaten. Burn bridges. One strike and he's out!
Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won't make the same mistake again.

Rule 7: Gently remind your opponent that there is a pecking order in this here old boys' Senate.
Since you are new to the Senate, you may not be aware of the fact that I have always supported fully the regular committee and legislative process in the Senate, and routinely urge Committee Chairmen to hold hearings on important issues.

Rule 8: Tell 'em how bipartisan you are: Why use intelligent arguments to prove you're bipartisan when all you have to do is tell them?
Furthermore, I have consistently maintained that any lobbying reform proposal be bipartisan.

Rule 9: Roll eyes heavenward and remind your opponent that your position on the issue is clear and public and written in stone and never in doubt. Even though they'll never elect you to a national post, Americans are on your side.
As I explained in a recent letter to Senator Reid, and have publicly said many times, the American people do not see this as just a Republican problem or just a Democratic problem.

Rule 10: Use foreign phrases: French is good, but Latin is the lingua franca of flaming. You should use the words ad hominem at least three times per letter. If that fails, get in a good five-syllable word.
I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party's effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness.

Rule 11: Lie, cheat, steal, slander, leave the toilet seat up, and by all means, make stuff up about your opponent.
Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn't always a priority for every one of us.

Rule 12: Write off your opponent. You've got the age and experience to squash any hot young superstar.
Good luck to you, Senator.

Rule 13: When in doubt, insult: If you forget the other 11 rules, remember this one. At some point during your wonderful career as a senator, you will undoubtedly end up in a flame war with someone who is better than you. This person will expose your lies, tear apart your arguments, make you look generally like a bozo. At this point, there's only one thing to do: insult the dirtbag!
See above.

(The above rules are a modified version of The 12 Commandments of Flaming.)


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