Neal Gabler’s NYTimes piece about John McCain’s success with the media is entertaining. Here’s snippet:
Seeming to view himself and the whole political process with a mix of
amusement and bemusement, Mr. McCain is an ironist wooing a group of
individuals who regard ironic detachment more highly than sincerity or
seriousness. He may be the first real postmodernist candidate for the
presidency — the first to turn his press relations into the basis of
He’s right about McCain’s easy treatment in the media. Just look at how often reporters attach McCain’s own branded adjectives to him–"maverick" or "straight-talker." See Gabler’s piece for more.
I don’t think the post-modern part is true, however. Candidates for office have been in the post-modern mode for a long time now. I remember even Steve Forbes remarking on his "message," as if he were himself a political commentator describing the success of his own candidacy, rather than the candidate actually making his own pitch.
But the post-modern mode, one might call it, infects much more than just political reporting. One can find it all over liberal punditry–never making an argument, merely remarking on arguments made.