Asked if he regretted calling a constituent a “jerk” during a Tuesday town hall, Senator McCain (R-AZ) scoffed, “Of course not. I call people jerks all the time, and they call me jerks.”
This is all part of the “fun”. Loosen up! Nothing to see here. No Republican Party immigration reform meltdown here…
Senator McCain told 3TV, “Of course not. I call people jerks all the time, and they call me jerks. It’s supposed to be fun, loosen up. I’ve done town halls for years. They are vigorous and a little combative. That’s what it is supposed to be about. Loosen up.”
What landed the Senator in a battle of town hall fun? McCain was trying to hawk immigration reform again, but this time he had to sell it back home, where many of his constituents are Tea Party-esque in their hatred of the undocumented or undocumented looking. The mere mention of immigration reform sends them into a tizzy.
One man yelled that only guns would discourage illegal immigration. Another man complained that illegal immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. A third man said illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits.
The “jerk” was pushing McCain about a border fence. McCain tried to explain that he was showing the guy a fence to no avail, “In case you missed it, I showed you a fence… Oh that’s not a fence? It’s a banana. We’re putting up a banana with about 600,000 million dollars worth of appropriations….”
McCain’s frustration with this Fox Republican audience led to his banana sarcasm. I feel his pain; talking to the conspiracy minded is futile. McCain tried to stand up for undocumented workers but the raging Republicans want blood. If only McCain weren’t busy selling his own conspiracy theories to the very same base, forcing the rest of us to explain bananas to them…
McCain gave the “jerk” the Republican brush off. That is, he tried to shame the guy into shutting up by telling the rest of the audience, “Occasionally I get a jerk like that guy.”
Jerk meet the jerk.
It’s ironic that when McCain has to meet the consequences of years of hate mongering whipped up by his own party and his own VP choice, he thinks the person is a jerk.
Indeed, Senator. We can all finally agree.
What wasn’t so fun was when the tone changed at another town hall, when McCain was faced with the mother of Aurora movie shooting victim Alex Teves. She advocated for an assault weapon ban, and the Senator told her she needed some “straight talk.”
“My 24-year-old son Alex was murdered in a movie theater in Colorado,” Caren Teves said. “These assault rifles allow the shooter to fire many rounds without having to re-load. These weapons do not belong on our streets.”
McCain responded by sympathizing with Teves, then addressing her call for a ban on assault rifles.
“I can tell you right now you need some straight talk. That assault weapons ban will not pass the Congress of the United States,” said Sen. McCain.
The crowd loved him when he told the mother of a dead son she needed some straight talk and she better get used to assault weapons. They cheered with empty, dense, voracious hunger, as if they were cheering a touchdown instead of cheering the right for an assault weapon to mow down this woman’s son. The sheer lack of humanity and sensitivity was shocking. It’s time to ask if all people advocating for assault weapons are this distanced from humanity, because if so, that’s a great argument against their position.
Things got even better for the Senator when the crowd moved into his other areas of expertise, Benghazi conspiracies and impeaching President Obama.
McCain tried to downplay the jerks’ town hall rage, but it’s clear the cult is not happy. McCain can’t sell immigration reform to these people. But he can sell Benghazi conspiracies and assault weapons for everyone. Good thing, because that sums up the Republican Party’s platform, save for taking liberty away from gays and women. And the razzle dazzle Obama hate just might distract the Teapublicans from the only real thing actually happening – John McCain pushing immigration reform.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.