I’ve been following the gaffe with McCain and the houses with as much interest as the next disgruntled renter, but since I wasn’t feeling so awesome this weekend, I haven’t had a chance to write about it until now. For those of you who have missed the media circus, John McCain was asked how many houses he has, and he waffled and said “let me check with my staff.”
Most people have interpreted this to mean that McCain doesn’t know how many houses he owns, although I would argue that it’s also possible that he knew exactly how many he owned, and he wanted to find a good way to spin it, so he said he needed to “ask my staff” to buy time. If that was the plan, it sure as heck didn’t work, because the Internet and the media collectively exploded, and the parody videos were literally up within minutes.
Although can I just say, for the record, that I am really sad about being unable to find a Sesame Street style video with the Count going “how many houses…” It could be a great learning experience for kids!
But seriously. The house thing raises some interesting issues, most of which have already been flogged in the media. For example, while most people don’t have a problem with obsecenely rich people (although I do), the idea of being so wealthy that you don’t keep track of major assets is a bit off-putting, especially in a candidate who is trying to make the other candidate seem elitist and out of touch with America. With the foreclosure rate on the rise, I think there might be some bitterness going on here too, what with people who own minus one houses. Let alone renters like me who are really frustrated by people who buy multiple houses, driving the price up and making it impossible to go from renting to owning.
It’s also just funny, and it encapsulates so many of the reasons I wouldn’t possibly vote for McCain. The man is walking an awkward walk, what with the highly secretive and insanely wealthy wife and all, and I think we’re going to see more pressure in the coming months about the McCain’s wealthy, and whether or not McCain can really be viewed as a populist candidate. His wife may think she’s entitled to her privacy, but the fact is that when you are married to a Presidential candidate, your life is kind of open to inspection. And so is your money.
The bottom line is that it’s hard to think of McCain as anything other than a dinosaur who is totally out of touch with what is going on in the United States right now. If he had any conception of what life is like for most Americans, I think he’s understand why the inability to remember how many houses you own is perceived as extremely offensive, and why the Obama campaign got so much mileage out of it.
The next time you run into a real person who doesn’t know how many houses ou owns, please let me know.