John McCain: Better Off LosingIt's been painted as a reconciliation, but McCain's appearance on Letterman last night was a sorry spectacle. Letterman spent half the interview talking to McCain like he talks to Paris Hilton—an object of obvious scorn—and half of it trying quite hard to get McCain to admit that the Ayers line is useless bullshit and that Sarah Palin is an embarrassment. McCain squirmed. He hasn't done The Daily Show in a while, either, presumably for fear of a similar line of questioning. Which is sad! Because McCain loved doing those shows! He loved being the funny, charming, lovable, funny old man of the Senate! Watching him at the Al Smith dinner, you see the obvious joy he took in just getting laughs in a friendly room again. Which is exactly why McCan needs to lose this race. We're not going to argue about the security of this country, about McCain's sense of "honor," about the toxic atmosphere of the campaign, no—we're just talking about McCain's simple enjoyment of his own privileged life. McCain's humor has always been caustic, mean, sarcastic, and cruel—"thanks for the question, you little jerk" is hardly an example of wit, funny though it is—and it is sometimes a window into a dark, deep embitterment. It doesn't work politically, in the way the Reagan's genial old wisecracks worked. A president needs, to a certain extent, to be somewhat humorless. McCain's sense of humor is dark enough to make that need doubly true in his case. And it's clear McCain hates the grab-and-grin aspect of the race. He's never cared for the idiot rabble of "the base," and they've never cared for him. He's energized by the Sunday Morning Shows, not by a rally crying for blood. He took the mic away from that crazy lady because she was embarrassing him. Those aren't his people. He's not enjoying himself. And McCain palling around with Jon Stewart and Dave Letterman was certainly more fun to watch before this miserable race. It's easy to say that all McCain wants in this world is to be president, but honestly it sometimes seems like all he wants is to already have been president. Who wouldn't want to be Bill Clinton before he embarrassed himself during this campaign? Or Bush Senior after everyone forgot his miserable single term in office? Should McCain lose, he can hopefully look forward to a happy post-election media good will tour, and all his sins will be again forgotten. Maybe he can crack wise on Palin and Ayers. We'll happily let him go back to the way things were, with only a minimum of chastising those who take him back—as long as he promises never to run for president again.