By Jordan Zakarin
With youth voters, traditionally grouped as those between the ages of 18-29, registering and voting in record numbers this presidential primary season, largely for Illinois Democrat Barack Obama, his presumptive Republican opponent John McCain maneuvered Thursday to attract some of those new voters to his campaign, giving a major address on the Iraq War while totally baked out of his mind.
The Arizona Senator, a long-time proponent and defender of the war who once promised to keep American troops in Iraq for “100 years” if necessary, smoked a fat L and walked slowly to the podium at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, where he preceded to make grandiose yet nonsensical statements regarding troop withdrawals, his plans for Iraq and greater vision for the Middle East as a whole.
Red eyed and seemingly fatigued, McCain sputtered out a series of bizarre predictions, forecasting that by 2013, “the Iraq war has been won.” Then, clearly feeling the full effect of the THC, McCain one-upped his initial 2013 prediction, saying that by that point, “Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced.”
The new strategy marks a significant departure for the 72-year old Navy veteran and former Prisoner of War in Vietnam, who had until now focused his campaign’s entire message on his military experience and the wisdom he claimed a natural byproduct of years working in government.
Following his Iraq pronouncements, McCain, after briefly getting distracted by a fly buzzing above the teleprompter, lazily and with a half smile, said that by continuing President Bush’s approach to the War on Terror, Osama bin Laden will have been caught by what would be the first year of his second term as President, and that bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, along with the rest of fanatical terrorism as a whole, would be nearly extinct. Continuing on as he plowed through a big grab bag of Fritos, the Arizona Republican also predicted that Iran and North Korea would voluntarily give up their nuclear ambitions.
There were immediate suspicions, given the fantastical visions into the supposed future, that McCain was under the influence of something far more potent than marijuana. Ian Semple, a 21-year old waiter, remarked that “with the way he spoke, the crap he said, he had to be hallucinating, straight up tripping balls. Maybe shrooms, or a diluted LSD. And that’s something you do when you’ve got a lot of time to kill on the weekends with your brosefs, not when you’re making a big speech. Not cool.”
Those suspicions only deepened as McCain addressed domestic issues. The spliffed-out candidate, following another hit from his bro’s fatty, McCain openly laughed as he struggled to say he would “fix social security”, guarantee universal healthcare by adding just a few tax credits to the current free market system. Now nearly crying he was laughing so hard, he said that he was literally looking into the future, where he saw a completely secure southern border and the deportation of any and all illegal immigrants who had committed any type of crime while in the country.
The outreach attempt was met with a mixed reaction, at best, with most students and young voters left feeling the effort was inauthentic. “He said some really weird shit,” commented Ben Reed, a student at Ohio State University. “He talked like it was the forties or something, calling things ‘far out’ and ‘tubular’. Who says that?”
Steven Raige, an unemployed musician, perhaps best encapsulated McCain’s uphill struggle for credibility with the demographic, saying that he heard from a friend who reads that “[Obama] wrote in his book that he was ‘doing a little blow’ since like high school, which is a total badass way to say it. It shows he’s been at it a long time, and really speaks to my generation. Even though what he was saying was friggin hilarious, McCain just smoked some reefer to score political points, which is lame, dude.”
Asked what it would take for the Arizona Republican to convince him and his fellow young voters of what he termed ‘legitness’, Page replied, “I dunno, maybe like a real plan to end the war and help us as we enter this depressed job market. Or a free eighth, or something. And not one of those where they’re on your ass to buy every day after you get it. That sucks.”