Submitted by Bill Prendergast on August 31, 2008 – 10:37pm.
Here’s what he said, at a 1998 Republican Senate fund-raiser.
“Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno.”
Here’s why practically no voter outside the blog world knows that he made that “joke”:
At the bottom of this diary is a link to an article by David Corn, a writer for Salon. He broke the story back in 1998, at a time when other newspapers considered McCain’s joke too vicious to print. But at the time, McCain apologized in print to President Clinton for telling the joke (though his print apology did not say what the joke was, or was about.)
So far as I know, McCain’s never apologized to Hillary, Chelsea, or Reno.
I don’t really know what else to write about this. Take a look at the news outlets mentioned in the article that refused to print the joke because it was just too vicious. The irony seems to be that if the joke was a little less “vicious,” they might have printed it and it might have crippled McCain’s reputation as an honorable man.
The author was right, back in 1998. Most voters still don’t know that McCain’s a guy who would make a joke like that. The fact that’s he told this joke has been printed on the web–I found an instance of it in “Wikiquote,” for example.
But most voters will not know about this aspect of McCain when they vote this fall. They don’t know that he’s a guy who uses the word “c–t” to describe his wife–in public. They don’t
Because the media won’t report it. And it’s important that voters do know that things like this occur. A person who would make a joke like that at a political fundraiser, is a hater. A U.S. Senator who would make a joke like that publicly, is an arrogant hater. The joke’s not even clever enough to laugh at–it’s just a release for the hatred of the teller and the audience that would laugh at it.
There isn’t any cultural tradition in which it’s acceptable to tell a joke like that, or acceptable to laugh at it. If one of the candidates for president is a hater, if one of the major political parties is led by haters who would laugh at a joke like this while attending an official event–the traditional media needs to tell the voters that. Because most of the voters do not want to be led by a bunch of secret haters.
I can only conclude that traditional media are covering for McCain in this matter; as in the “she’s a c–t” matter. McCain may have developed the perfect political strategy. Instead of making slightly off-color remarks that the press will print and circulat, vent in the most vicious way possible–with the serene assurance that the press will pretend it never happened.
Of course, this only works if you are a Republican. But if the traditional media doesn’t print or broadcast “the joke,” or “the c–t” thing–“it never really happened, for most voters”–even though we know it did happen. And McCain can stay alive, in the polls.
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