Thursday, August 21, 2008

counting the uncountable

a lot of people are picking on john mccain today because when he was recently asked how many houses he owns, he was unable to answer the question. but i don't think that's fair, because when you own as many houses as john mccain does, keeping track of them all can be quite difficult. if i owned half as many properties as mccain, i probably couldn't give you an exact number either.

as josh marshall explains, it all depends on how you count. for example, his primary residence is a $4.7M condo in phoenix. but when mccain bought the place, he bought two adjacent condos and then merged them together like voltron into one megacondo. so does that count as one house or two? or, on the other hand, is a condo a "house" at all? similarly, he owns a large piece of property at hidden valley ranch. on that property there are six houses. so does that count as one home with five guest houses, or do you count it as six houses?

so obama released an ad attacking mccain for not knowing how houses he owns. the ad claims that mccain owns seven houses. but looking at the list, i don't even know how they came up with that number. this page says there are 10 homes. that's counting the hidden valley ranch property as three houses (why three, and not four or six, i don't know). but the list also includes five condos and two lofts... neither of which are "houses" according to a strict literal definition. so if the question is explicitly how many houses he owns, the answer is three. (or six?) but if you're talking about homes, including condos and lofts, the number could be as high as 13. furthermore, the mccain campaign is quick to point out that mccain doesn't actually live in all 13 of those places. if you own a house but don't live there, do you really own it?

i can understand why obama would be fascinated by this—after all, obama grew up poor and had to work hard to earn enough money for one home in chicago and one in washington. (indeed, by john mccain's standard, obama doesn't even make enough money to qualify as "rich".) mccain, the son of an admiral who married a wealthy beer heiress, probably doesn't have time to concern himself with trivialities like counting his houses. that's the kind of thing you hire other people to do.

i just hope this doesn't backfire on obama. can't you see the response ad? barack obama claims john mccain owns seven houses. but in fact, a detailed analysis confirms that mccains only owns six houses, along with five condos and two lofts. can america afford a president who doesn't know how to count to six? i'm john mccain and i approved this message.

update: i forgot that in 2004, republicans relentlessly mocked john kerry because the kerrys own a meager five houses, which isn't even in the same league as mccain's thirteen.

1 comment:

Doug said...

McCain campaign's response: 7 houses, so what? Obama lives in a frickin' mansion and, and, . . . . um, JOHN MCCAIN WAS A P.O.W.

Reminds me of the jock doing the report in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure who gets flustered and blurts out "SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!"

Ok, I like that. I'm adding that to my blog post on the subject.