The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Turbocharged Luxury Death

Posted on | June 19, 2013 | 46 Comments

The conspiracy theorists have already gotten way ahead of me on this story. I’m on a self-imposed deadline today for a long article about the life and death of Michael Hastings and the first question that interested me was, “How the hell does a journalist afford a brand-new Mercedes-Benz C250?”

A bit of research and a couple of phone calls pointed toward the answer: Big-money book deals for a guy who started his journalism career with Newsweek before moving onto high-dollar magazines like Rolling Stone and GQ that would never, under any imaginable circumstance, pay a nickel to a conservative reporter.

Well, I could expand on that theme a bit — and expect to do so later — but in the meantime there’s this long article to finish. But it’s interesting to notice that while everyone in the world of political journalism is saying nice things about Michael Hastings, at least one guy whose job is writing about cars isn’t too impressed:

Mercedes-Benz USA is no doubt sweating bullets over this one. An eyewitness report says that Mr. Hastings was driving at an excessive rate of speed down a suburban street when his car “suddenly jackknifed” and hit a tree “with the force of a bomb” . . .
This isn’t good. The official ad copy for the C-Coupe states

Like every Mercedes-Benz coupe, it wraps four sport seats and passion for the road in sleek style. And like every C-Class, it’s a paragon of engineering virtue and extraordinary value. Put it together, and it’s like nothing else.

Nowhere in there does it say anything about “then this sucker is going to jackknife out of control and char you like a steak ordered by a high-school dropout at Ponderosa”. . . . If I owned a C250 I’d be outside staring at the thing wondering if it was safe to drive it at 100mph in a suburb.

A fitting obituary for an irreverent iconoclast? Or . . . too soon?

Me, I’m just reporting this damned story. Y’all can talk it up all you want in the comments. I gotta get back to work.



46 Responses to “Turbocharged Luxury Death”

  1. MrEvilMatt
    June 19th, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    Turbocharged Luxury Death: Does the NSA have technology that can make a sports car veer out of control? http:/…

  2. Lockestep1776
    June 19th, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    Turbocharged Luxury Death: Does the NSA have technology that can make a sports car veer out of control? http:/…

  3. jwbrown1969
    June 19th, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    Turbocharged Luxury Death: Does the NSA have technology that can make a sports car veer out of control? http:/…

  4. preciseBlogs
    June 19th, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

    Turbocharged Luxury Death #news #conservative #journalism #conspiracytheories

  5. rsmccain
    June 19th, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

    Turbocharged Luxury Death Work, work, work … @texasbryanp @vermontaigne @ali

  6. vermontaigne
    June 19th, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

    RT @rsmccain: Turbocharged Luxury Death Work, work, work … @texasbryanp @vermontaigne @ali

  7. Richard McEnroe
    June 19th, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

    Someone go out back and do a headcount on Stacy’s deer park…

  8. SPQR9
    June 19th, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

    I’m still baffled how an ordinary car with four wheels “jack knifes” …

  9. Adjoran
    June 19th, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

    Hastings brought down McChrystal. Nothing like a scalp on your belt to enhance the offers in today’s “journOlism.”

    The commercials say even when you’re drunk and careening out of control on wet pavement, your Mercedes will realize it, take over, save the day, and not even hit Bambi. They don’t mention the bursting into flames part.

  10. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 19th, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

    That does not compute!

  11. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 19th, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

    C Class Mercedes are around $35,000 to around $65,000. Low end luxury, but definitely beyond most working class journalists.

    As flaming BBQ go, definitely pricey.

  12. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 19th, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

    Nothing beat the KIA for quality deer meat harvesting. Well maybe a Humvee, but that is if you want it mushed.

  13. RichFader
    June 19th, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

    There are perfectly innocent circumstances under which a guy could be speeding down surface streets in LA at 4:30 in the morning, lose control, jump the median and eat a tree. “Innocent” for our purposes meaning not involving sinister outside agency, not necessarily that the driver was completely innocent in any way, IYKWIMAITYD. I’m not saying for sure it happened innocently. I don’t and can’t know that. I’m just saying Hastings would be neither the first nor the last person in Southern California to die because he drove like an idiot.

  14. Dianna Deeley
    June 19th, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

    Yeah, there do seem to be an inordinate number of people who take “drive it like you stole it” as enjoining them to do precisely that, instead of being a simile to urge one to actually depress the accelerator just a touch.

  15. ThomasD
    June 19th, 2013 @ 5:23 pm


    But what can happen with most any rear wheel drive hotrod is for the (inexperienced) driver to let off on the gas, shifting the weight of the car forward, then come back on the gas a little too soon/hard, causing the rear wheels to loose traction and spin free. That’s when torque spin takes over and the back end abruptly kicks out to the side.

    A recoverable situation, if you have the time, space, and knowledge of how to react. Narrow streets and -especially- trees have a way of spoiling such efforts.

    Sometimes you only oops once.

  16. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 19th, 2013 @ 5:26 pm
  17. yestradamous
    June 19th, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

    He can lease one for less than $400 a month if he has a decent down payment.

  18. BobBelvedere
    June 19th, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

    RT @rsmccain Turbocharged Luxury Death Work, work, work …

  19. BeccaJLower
    June 19th, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

    RT @rsmccain: Turbocharged Luxury Death #tcot #tlot #p2

  20. Escher's House
    June 19th, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

    I’m sorry, but this looks like a suicide to me.

  21. rustypaladin
    June 19th, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

    My mind went straight to tinfoil hat when I first saw this. I’m pretty sure this is too spectacular to be anything but what it looks like: A really bad accident. Of course that’s what they WANT me to think…

  22. yestradamous
    June 19th, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

    We heard an accident exactly like this one morning at 5 am as a matter of fact. Heard a car revving, then about 10 seconds later, a squeal and a boom. Guy wrapped his car around an old olive tree, failing to negotiate a curve. Worst accident I ever saw.

  23. Joseph Fein
    June 19th, 2013 @ 7:31 pm

    This was near my house on the Miracle Mile — the LAPD copters were above all night.

    Even if he was speeding at 3 AM (with no traffic), they are doing a lot of work near the new Academy Museum.

    Liberal on Liberal violence?

  24. Richard McEnroe
    June 19th, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

    Parlor pink on pink?

  25. DaveO
    June 19th, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

    If the vehicle has a computer that helps with driving, braking and fuel regulation – yeah, it can be hacked and reprogrammed.
    Does the NSA have it? Perhaps, but I’d look to criminal quarters first. The Nigerians and Russians specialize in cyber-assassination.

  26. Richard McEnroe
    June 19th, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

    Kia’s a good solid ride, but for the more discerning deerherder, buy American!

  27. Patrick Carroll
    June 19th, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

    My wife hasn’t had a steady job in more than a decade.

    She drives a Mercedes.

    I drive a Honda.

    Yes, I must hand in my man card.

  28. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 19th, 2013 @ 9:43 pm


  29. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 19th, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

    Let me guess: olive tree still living, car and driver not so much.

  30. bet0001970
    June 19th, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

    No. The NSA does not have technology that can make a sports car veer out of control. But Budweiser does. As does the intersection of Highland and Melrose. It’s called an elevation in the road. These sorts of objects have been known to send cars airborne, careening out of control. Also there is a picture of the crash with the gas tank visibly detached from the vehicle. So one can only imagine how much fuel was dispersed upon the scene.

    So for everyone on the interwebs who suspects that McChrystal sent a team of his best retired military hitmen to dispatch the young Hastings with an explosive device…alas, it is not so.

    However…I wouldn’t scratch the State Department off that list just yet.

  31. Cube
    June 20th, 2013 @ 12:02 am

    Whaddya mean, hand in your man card? Keepin’ Momma happy is the reason men exist, right? 🙂

    My wife and I had two Hondas and ran ’em both ’til they croaked. So far they’re the best cars I’ve had.

  32. The Tragic And Somewhat Mysterious Death Of Michael Hastings | American Glob
    June 20th, 2013 @ 12:28 am

    […] The guy was driving a Mercedes-Benz C250. If you’ve ever been in a Mercedes, you know how solid they are. Stacy McCain gets into that here. […]

  33. holygoat
    June 20th, 2013 @ 1:22 am

    ” high-dollar magazines like Rolling Stone and GQ that would never, under any imaginable circumstance, pay a nickel to a conservative reporter.”

    P. J. O’Rourke called to say “hi!” 😉

  34. robertstacymccain
    June 20th, 2013 @ 2:32 am

    Right, except that P.J. (with whom I briefly hung out in New Hampshire during the campaign) is grandfathered in from back in the 1970s, when he was hired by Rolling Stone after first working for National Lampoon. And also, P.J. is a humorist.

    The point is still the same: Rolling Stone and GQ are liberal magazines, as are Esquire, Vanity Fair and Playboy. And Buzzfeed is a liberal blog — it’s Daily Kos with cute kitty pictures.

  35. robertstacymccain
    June 20th, 2013 @ 2:33 am


  36. Wombat_socho
    June 20th, 2013 @ 3:32 am

    Especially since the State Department has experience with motor vehicles and the press.

  37. Animal’s Daily News | Animal Magnetism
    June 20th, 2013 @ 6:27 am

    […] Turbocharged Luxury Death […]

  38. HarrietBaldwin
    June 20th, 2013 @ 8:45 am

    Turbocharged Luxury Death

  39. kmacy2
    June 20th, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    RT @HarrietBaldwin: Turbocharged Luxury Death

  40. bet0001970
    June 20th, 2013 @ 12:18 pm


  41. PubliusNV
    June 20th, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

    Turbocharged Luxury Death

  42. crosspatch
    June 20th, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    “Does the NSA have technology that can make a sports car veer out of control?”

    NSA, probably not. FBI — maybe. Some models of vehicles can be disabled by remote signal.

  43. Richard McEnroe
    June 20th, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

    Jim Beam does.

  44. Patrick Carroll
    June 21st, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    You’re very kind. Thanks.

  45. Patrick Carroll
    June 21st, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    BTW, on the rare occasions I ride in the wife’s Benz, I am impressed by how *solid* it feels. No creaks, rattles, etc. Simple silence as the car progresses.

    You know, this lack of feedback may not be a good thing.

  46. FMJRA 2.0: Starface : The Other McCain
    June 22nd, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

    […] Turbocharged Luxury Death […]