Independent's Eye by Joe Gandelman

Did you ever buy something cheaply on eBay assuming its value would increase and plan to sell it later "“ and later find it's seemingly worthless? It does happen and here's a cautionary tale for those who use eBay about Jack Bludderberg-- who bought John McCain's political soul.

Cartoon by Brian Fairrington - Cagle Cartoons (click to reprint)

Cartoon by Brian Fairrington - Cagle Cartoons (click to reprint)

"I've been burned before on eBay but nothing like this," Bludderberg said in his apartment in Utica, New York. "It can't even compare to when I stockpiled classic Coke after New Coke came out figuring scarce classic Coke would be worth a fortune. These days you can support yourself if you focus on eBay. I've done well. Just look around here..."

And, indeed: his spacious three bedroom apartment contains a new custom-ordered dining room table. One bedroom overflows with items he has bought at garage sales, flea markets, and on eBay. He buys low, then sells high.

"I usually have great instincts but I had an off day when I bought McCain's political soul," he said mournfully. "Usually I make a BIG profit." He pointed to a box.

"See this? I bought that on eBay. It's Newt Gingrich's political cravenness and political opportunism."

He opened the box. "So what do you see?"

I could see an outline of something but noted: "Why, it's nearly transparent!"

"Exactly! It was slightly transparent when Gingrich lectured Bill Clinton on Monica Lewinsky while having an affair and when he shut down the government. But after Barack Obama's election Gingrich took Rush Limbaugh and others to task for being too partisan and sounded like favored compromise and consensus. It was less transparent then. But after this week it's worth a fortune!"

"What do you mean this week?"

"Gingrich told the National Review Online: "'What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?'  He also  talked about shutting down the government again. It made his political cravenness and political opportunism nearly totally transparent. Polls show Gingrich competing with those favoring Sarah Palin and he's trying to out Palin Sarah Palin. It's now worth five times what I paid for it: almost pure, unadulterated cravenness and opportunism."

Then I asked him about McCain. He shook his head.

"I bought McCain's soul on eBay during the 2008 Presidential campaign, when he began fudging his old political positions to win conservative votes. McCain offered to sell his soul to anyone who'd give him what he sought. I got there first."

"So what's the problem?" I asked.

"During his primary campaign he discarded so many past positions that the soul decreased greatly in value. Immigration reform? Illegal aliens? The border fence? All past stands discarded. Now I'm lucky I'll get a tenth of what I paid!"

He looked at a new Google News alert.

"Oh, no. McCain says he's thinking of filibustering if Don't Ask Don't Tell comes up for a vote. His political soul is worth almost NOTHING on eBay now. Liberals, moderates, conservatives "“ no one will trust him."

He groaned. Then, suddenly, his eyes lit up.

"Hey, wait! Maybe I can sell it at a fixed price on Craig's List!

"I wonder if I can get $11.25 if I also throw in a pair of McCain-brand flip flops?"


Copyright 2010 Joe Gandelman

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. CNN's John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at [email protected] and can be booked to speak at your event at

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