Washington D.C.: Flanked by Senators Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Arizona Republican John McCain convened a press conference to announce his hiring of disgraced "Syria analyst" Elizabeth O'Bagy, recently fired from the Institute for Study of War after revelations she had falsely claimed a Ph.D., as a top-level legislative assistant.
"In her brief career before joining my Senate team, Elizabeth O'Bagy has impressed me with her astute analysis of the situation on the ground in a volatile part of the world, the depth of her knowledge and scholarship, and her ability to work with the media," McCain told reporters. "But I wouldn't have taken her on based on those qualifications alone. No, what impressed me most was Ms. O'Bagy's willingness and ability to demonstrate a great moral lesson for her fellow Americans: that in order to succeed, one must be prepared to fail."
"Throughout my career, in the United States Navy as well as in politics, I have demonstrated that the road to success is paved by failure. Elizabeth O'Bagy understands this truth as much as I do."
"I began my service to this nation as a proud pilot in the Naval Air Corps. Fresh from the Naval Academy, where I earned a graduate ranking of 894 in a class of 899, I immediately steeled myself for failure. And fail I did: crashing five expensive jets through foolish hot-dogging, and managing to place myself at the center of a catastrophic fire that nearly destroyed the U.S.S. Forrestal, before going on to serve my country in Vietnam. I have no doubt that in Vietnam I would have gone on to ever greater failure had my career not been cut short by enemy missile fire," McCain added.
"But I didn't let that setback stop me. On my return to the United States, I immediately set myself to fail my beloved wife, who had suffered injuries far more grievous than any I sustained. And fail her I did, throwing her over in favor of a richer, prettier beer heiress, one who hadn't been maimed in a car accident, whose money and connections fueled my way to the United States Senate, where I have gone on to fail the voters of Arizona, spectacularly, for 26 years."
At this point in McCain's address, Senator Lindsay Graham interjected, "If I may speak out of turn Senator, I'd like to vouch for my distinguished colleague's record of failure in the Senate. No Senator during my tenure has failed his constituents as consistently, and with such determination, as John McCain. Why, just in this term, Senator McCain has broken his 2010 campaign promise that he had 'learned his lesson,' and would never again support an immigration amnesty bill, has led the United States into a pointless war in Libya that demonstrably harmed America's national security, led the charge for another meaningless war in Syria, and done as much as any Senator, bar none, to make America a domestic surveillance police state, where every phone call, email, and text is monitored by shadowy unaccountable spies. That's a record of failure that I do my best to live up to every day, whether I fail the citizens of South Carolina by lying to them through my teeth or by wasting precious time with my reckless diplomatic showboating."
"Thank you, Lindsay," the senior Senator from Arizona replied. "Of course, my greatest failure, the John McCain presidential campaign of 2008, speaks for itself. It's no ordinary failure to take a record of character and experience like my own, with the advantage of a sympathetic media and a public eager to hear the 'straight talk' for which I'm justly famous, and squander it all against a state senator from Illinois whose middle name is Hussein. No, to fail on that scale I had to put my nose to the grindstone, with innovations like choosing the mayor of an Alaskan mining village as my running mate, suspending my campaign to deal with a crisis as though I'd already been elected President, and making my unqualified daughter, herself one of the deepest and most treasured failures of my life, the centerpiece of my campaign's public outreach."
"What lessons can we learn from the spectacular failure of my campaign? The most important is that in Washington, failure can never be punished. It can only be rewarded, as I have been rewarded for my failures. That's the American way."
McCain concluded his address: "When I reached out to Ms. O'Bagy to offer her this important position, where she will help in guiding our great nation to a war in Syria that is long overdue, I knew that she had the most important qualification for the job: the ability to succeed through failure. I look forward to working with her in the years to come. God bless America."
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