For the last hour I’ve been trying to verify and contact a small group of people who’ve been passing along an extremely ugly eight-year-old story about John McCain, one to the other (including some in the media) over the last eight or nine days. The story first popped up on 9.14, and just seems too extreme to be believed.
Why am I posting this then? Because it’s gotten around to some extent and the cat is more or less out of the bag, and I’m not aware of anyone having said “wait a minute, hold on here.” Which is what I, a confirmed McCain hater, am saying here and now.
I don’t believe any big-time politician, even one who’d recently been smeared by Karl Rove during the 2000 campaign for possibly having fathered an illegitimate black child (which was total b.s.), would pass along a racial slur about an adopted child to a woman who shares a similar ethnicity — nobody is that dumb. My understanding of human nature just won’t allow it. Even if you consider that 1998 report about John MCain telling that off-color joke about Chelsea Clinton…I still can’t buy it.
The current McCain story in question originated with a San Francisco-based clinical psychologist named Anasuya Dubey, who is alleged to be the daughter of a former Indian Consul in San Francisco. I’ve tried to reach Dubey to no avail (she is said to be “private”) but an e-mail chain has revealed a few things.
A woman who claims to have spoken to Dubey, an author named Frances Moore Lappe of Cambridge, Massachucetts (“Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage in a World Gone Mad“) said in an e-mail to Kate Marianchild, whom I don’t know, that Dubey is “wonderful” and that it “sounds like NBC is on it.” Another interested reporter, according to a group e-mail sent out about the Dubey story by Mary-Kay Gamel, a UC Santa Cruz professor, is Jane Kramer of The New Yorker.
I called Lappe’s office in Cambridge and left a message. I called Gamel’s office and home number — neither had a voice message and no one picked up.
The words attributed to McCain by Dubey are repulsive and incendiary, and it strikes me as awfully strange that a woman looking to see this story circulated and, more to the point, believed would be so difficult to get hold of. She thinks she can put out a first-hand story of this nature during a presidential campaign and just…what, be left alone?
I also flinch whenever words of this nature are attributed to any major-league politician running for high office. They seems too vile for even McCain to have said.
I also wonder how precise and exacting Dubey’s memory may be after eight years, and whether she may have exaggerated the quote somewhat, being a woman of Indian ancestry who would naturally take great offense at such statements, if in fact they were spoken.