By Donald Scarinci | September 11th, 2013 - 12:25pm
| More

The picture of Senator John McCain playing poker on his Smartphone went viral within a few hours after it was posted.  Perhaps the reason had less to do with the fact that a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was not paying attention at the hearing to bomb Syria and more to do with the fact that Senator McCain is more tech savvy than many members of the United States Supreme Court and that the public identified with him because of it.

In case you missed it, a photographer for the Washington Post captured an image of McCain playing poker on his iPhone during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The lawmakers were considering whether or not to formally authorize the use of military force in Syria.

After the incident made national headlines, McCain quickly came clean. He tweeted, “Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing - worst of all I lost!”

He further explained his action in a CNN interview. “Well, as much as I like to always listen in rapt attention constantly with remarks of my colleagues over a three-and-a-half hour period, occasionally I get a LITTLE bored, and so I resorted–but the worst thing about it is, I lost thousands of dollars in this game,” he said. (So as to avoid further controversy, the money he references exists only online.)

While McCain’s critics characterize the momentary lack of focus as a dereliction of his duties, people who looked at the picture or read the news account were not all critics.  Many of those who visited this picture were ordinary people who enjoy a good video game themselves.  To them, Senator John McCain became a symbol of an ordinary American called upon to do extraordinary things, like vote on whether United States military force should be used in Syria.

Others who clicked on the internet picture were probably tech savvy Americans who were impressed that Senator John McCain, at age 77, has adapted his behavior and become comfortable using his Smartphone as a gaming device.  Many attorneys, including some members of the United States Supreme Court, are not tech savvy enough to even use email. 

Senator John McCain’s position about using American military force in Syria was settled well before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met.  The fact that he was bored at the Senate hearing and played a video game demonstrates how thoroughly the internet and the Smartphone permeates American life, even among America’s senior leaders and aging population.

Donald Scarinci is a managing partner at Lyndhurst, N.J. based law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck.  He is also the editor of the Constitutional Law Reporter and Government and Law blogs.

The Back Room

Sweeney goes on offense

Days after Jersey City Mayor (and 2017 gubernatorial hopeful) Steve Fulop declared his support and fundraising devotion to South Jersey Congressional candidate Bill Hughes, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) see-sawed onto Fulop's turf with his own "I can find pockets of love in every part of this state including JC" statement.

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

Op-Ed

Paterson can flourish with a second chance

By ASLON GOOW, SR. I have spent the past three decades raising a family, building a business, and working to improve our Paterson communities.  I am proud of those accomplishments.  In 2002, I spoke at an expungement... Read More >

Contributors

(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »
Watching Governor Chris Christie's shocking BridgeGate implosion, it's easy to forget the time when he truly seemed unstoppable.  Blessed with incredible political gifts and a Jersey bluster to match,... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

- PolitickerNJ.com

Poll

Was Frank X. Graves of Paterson New Jersey's best mayor?:

Resources

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources