John McCain could have dismissed his inability to recall how many houses he has as a senior moment, but that would have pointed to his age.
So there wasn’t any way for John McMansion to dig out of this one, but one thing is clear: the McCains have more houses than you or I do, and his inability to count them is not due to a simple forgetful moment, but because of a legitimate clarity issue in how to count separate houses on one estate, what is owned by the senator and what is owned by the financially reticent Mrs. McCain, and how many condos they fused into one giant McCondo-seum.
Fortunately, most of us are privileged enough that we will never, ever have to deal with such pesky clarity issues.
McCain’s staff says he has four houses, but then the watchdogs are saying that he has at least seven. Then again, Huffington Post cites an assessment by Progressive Accountability that says they have 10, with a combined value upwards of $14 million! I’ll tell you, nothing makes me feel more in touch with a presidential candidate than when I compare his or her financial holdings to my personal financial worth. Now McCain says that I won’t be rich until I reach the $5 million threshold? Man, I have a long way to go.
Barack Obama, who has taken a hit in the polls that pundits say worsened while he was catching rays during the Russia/Georgia conflict, has launched something of a populist attack against McCain to a point where it could push back the much-anticipated text message that I’m supposed to get telling me of Obama’s veep pick. Why would anyone want to hurry the announcement of the potential second-in-command of the Free World when there is political gold to be unearthed from this prospector’s mother lode?
Politico quoted Obama on a campaign stop in Virginia where McCain was painted as out of touch:
Somebody asked John McCain, ‘How many houses do you have?’ And he said, I’m not sure. I’ll have to check with my staff. True quote: I’m not sure, I’ll have to check with my staff. So they asked his staff and he said, at least four. At least four! …
If you’re like me and you’ve got one house — or you were like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so that they don’t lose their home — you might have a different perspective. By the way, the answer is: John McCain has seven homes. So there’s just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain’s world and what people are going through every single day here in America.
To be sure, it’s difficult these days to relate personally to our presidential candidates. These folks generally live in a world that most Americans will never experience. So with that, the “I just want to have a beer with my president” argument is off the table.
The questions we need to ask are:
With millions of Americans facing foreclosure and with the concept of a sturdy fixed-rate mortgage to some Americans as foreign as that of your spouse being worth $100 million after inheriting a beer distributorship, is McCain in touch with everyday economic issues?
How big a tax deduction are the McCains getting from owning all of these houses?
At what point do we call someone “out of touch” with the common man?
Is it when he or she needs two hands to count his or her houses, or when he or she can’t count at all?