CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

HolidayBuyer's Guide

John McCain laughs off iPhone poker during Senate hearing

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee must have spouted things Sen. John McCain has heard before. He was caught playing iPhone poker. On Twitter, he complains that he lost.

Politics is all poker-playing. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There's a vast relief when we discover that politicians are just like us.

Yes, they're greedy, lazy, manipulative, and egotistical. We can understand these things. In their position, we'd be the same.

Perhaps we'd never imagined, though, that they'd also play games on their iPhones during important business meetings.

All hail, then, to Sen. John McCain who today was caught by the Washington Post playing poker on his iPhone during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Syria.

One imagines he's heard it all before. One important person presents evidence that seems incontrovertible. Another pretends to examine it. A third raises an objection. As for the actual voting, ah, that's where the political skills really come into play.

The wise would see that threatening to attack another country is precisely all about poker. You don't want to show your hand. But you want them to believe you hold a winning combination.

McCain himself, on being unmasked as an iPhone poker aficionado, took to Twitter to pour scorn on his alleged inattention.

"Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing - worst of all I lost!" he tweeted.

Losing is, indeed, the worst thing of all.

The one contrast between iPhone poker and war is that in the former, you definitely know when you've lost. With the latter, you can claim to have won for years, when the definition of winning is often so nebulous.

With his tweet, McCain made it clear that sitting in a committee meeting that lasts more than three hours is more than any sentient human should have to tolerate.

Please make that clear at your next day-long strategy meeting.

We should be proud that Sen. McCain played poker. His counterparts in other countries have used parliamentary sessions to gamble in far more risque directions.

A couple of years ago, an anti-porn Indonesian politician was caught fiddling with his iPad in parliament. Of course, he was watching porn. Where else was he going to do it?

Then there was Italian politician Simeone Di Cagno Abbrescia. He was also caught with his metaphorical pants around his ankles during a parliamentary session.

He admitted that images of barely-clothed ladies were on his iPad screen. However, he didn't accept responsibility. No, he blamed the iPad.

He said at the time: "Normally I use my iPad to keep myself informed and to read the news agencies. But one can end up lingering over these sorts of, let's say, pornographic images, which once in a while appear. It was just curiosity, I've never used the services of escort girls."

It's hard out there for a politician.

iPads and iPhones exist in order to help them get through the drudgery of doing the people's business.

Just as they exist in order to help us get through the ride home on public transport.