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25 June 2008 @ 11:10 am
analysis of an interview  
from Fortune Magazine:

John McCain
U.S. Senator (R-Arizona)

Executive summary: It's a game of pinball, and you're the ball.

The hardest thing to do is to establish priorities. This morning we had a committee meeting on telecommunications. At the same time, I had to bounce over to the Armed Services Committee. Then I just met with Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue, who worked with me on immigration. Later I'm going to meet with a group of people on lobbying reform. And then I'll be meeting with a Congressman who wants me to help him out on something.

The key is deciding what are the most important issues to focus on. Priorities come from the constituents, and a lot of it is instinct by now. I've been in this business a long time.

I read my e-mails, but I don't write any. I'm a Neanderthal -- I don't even type. I do have the rudimentary capability of calling up some Web sites, like the New York Times online, that sort of stuff. No laptop. No PalmPilot. I prefer my schedule on notecards, which I keep in my jacket pocket. (great... it's the year 2008 and the Republican nominee is a self-described Neanderthal who doesn't really "get" modern technology)

But my wife has enormous capability. Whenever I want something I ask her to do it. She's just a wizard. She even does my boarding passes -- people can do that now. When we go to the movies, she gets the tickets ahead of time. It's incredible.
(translation: my wife is a tool. whenever i want something i ask her to do it and wifey snaps to attention and obeys my command. and gives me her money too.)

My most valuable resource is my chief of staff and writing partner, Mark Salter. We've been together for 17 years. I cannot imagine my professional life without him. When we're writing a book or speech, he'll come in to the office in the afternoon or evening with a tape recorder. We talk about the outline, then the details of it, then get into the minutiae. He writes most of it, and then we go over it together. (am i wrong to feel a bit disturbed by the phrase 'valuable resource' as a description of a relationship, a partnership, another human being?))

It's the perfect partnership, with him doing most of the work. He's a remarkable man. I gave a speech on the floor of he Senate to wrap up the debate on the torture amendment. It was the only time when there was total silence on the floor of the Senate. We wrote that together. (apparently the perfect partnership is one where the other party does most of the work. see wife above.)</>

I rely on staff to take care of things that I know they can, usually back in Arizona. We've got very talented, experienced people who take care of constituent issues. People don't care if I personally get involved, or if I put somebody who is a hell of a lot smarter than I am on it. But if something is important for me to pay attention to, like immigration issues, which have grown for us since 9/11 -- I focus on it. (um, wait... people don't care if he personally gets involved with issues?)

We decide on a case-by-case basis about whether to do the Sunday shows, if it would have some value to get my viewpoint or knowledge out there. I'm going to do Jon Stewart again, and "The Colbert Report." That's good stuff, an interesting audience for me. (translation: i'm trying to be a little more "edgy")

You lose battles in politics. I do get good and angry. Really angry! By God, I'm not going to let them beat me again. I don't like to lose. After the 2000 race for the presidential nomination, I spent at least ten days -- and in many ways it was the most wonderful experience of my life -- wallowing in self-pity. It was really fun. Freeing. (whoa. the most wonderful experience of his life was 10 days of wallowing in self-pity?)

Then I just woke up and said it was time to get over this. The people you represent don't want you this way. You're still their Senator. And besides, America doesn't like sore losers. I also don't hold grudges. It's a waste of time. What's the point? Frankly, the sweetest revenge is success. (sheesh, this guy has one hell of an ego problem.)