Insiders don’t say nasty things about other insiders. From Matt Taibbi at rollingstone.com:
In HBO’s ‘John McCain: For Whom The Bell Tolls,’ the Arizona Senator is pre-eulogized by ghoulish ex-foes
I hope my editors boil in oil in the afterlife for asking me to review John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls, the new HBO doc that premieres Memorial Day and stars David Brooks, Henry Kissinger, George W. Bush and a succession of other wax-museum escapees who line up to evade and prevaricate about things McCain-related and not.
The review copy might as well have been titled, Go Ahead, Say Something Bad About a Terminal Cancer Patient. I felt like a monster 20 seconds in.
Having covered McCain’s 2008 run, I had mixed feelings about the man anyway. Just as a person, McCain came across as the kind of insistently obnoxious guy you hear complaining about the slow service in an airport bar – a type I always found oddly sympathetic.
But the political myth-making around McCain has always been tough to take, and this movie is basically two hours of it. The myths aren’t just about McCain, either, but also an effort to gloss over about six decades of American history, and how we got to the terrible place we’re in today.
The movie is called For Whom the Bell Tolls because McCain calls the Hemingway novel his “lodestar.” Mark Salter says its theme, “The harder the cause, even lost, the better the cause,” spoke deeply to his personal belief system.
McCain has certainly fought for a lot of lost causes in his life. But most of them were causes he deserved to lose.
For instance, one of the things McCain will be most harshly judged for is his decision to make Sarah Palin his running mate in 2008. Many people (correctly) believe that moment paved the way for the rise of what David Brooks in the movie calls “a disease” of anti-intellectualism in the Republican Party.
To continue reading: John McCain’s Revisionist History Is a Team Effort