HONEST JOHN….When John McCain agreed to speak at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, I figured he would take the chance to include at least one or two sentences that could be interpreted as criticism of Falwell and the Christian right. Why? To keep up his image as a straight talker. After all, the press expects this from him.

To my surprise, he didn’t. But the press gushed anyway. George Stephanopoulos, for example, made the peculiar suggestion that McCain was courageous for mentioning Iraq. Talk about a low bar. Here’s Bob Somerby’s take:

You know the rules! Because McCain defended Iraq in a conservative setting, he gets ?some points for courage!? Meanwhile, on Meet the Press, Judy Woodruff said McCain?s speech was smart ? because the saint played it so safe.

….When did these become the rules? McCain was now smart for playing it safe! And there?s nothing wrong with what McCain did, since others have done it before!

The media’s adulation of McCain is genuinely stupefying. The straight talker does some garden variety political pandering by agreeing to speak at Falwell’s university, but somehow that doesn’t affect his straight talking reputation. He gives a bland, uncontroversial speech so as not to offend anyone, and that somehow adds to his straight talking reputation. No matter what he says, he’s a straight talker. It’s a miracle!

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