GOP, John McCain, POW, Republican, right wing Republicans, United States presidential election 2008
My opinion of John Sydney McCain, admittedly, couldn’t be a lot lower. Once a reasonable man,who appeared to stand forth with principles intact, party-be-damned, he was a bright spot in the GOP firmament.
All things changed for me, when I saw the lengths he was willing to go to gain the White House. In a final insult to the safety of the country, and as a true barometer of his feelings about women, he chose the Palinator to be but a heart beat away from the Presidency. This from a decidedly old man. Leaving America in the hands of a spectacularly unqualified and incurious opportunist. Trusting that women were so shallow and vapid that “any woman will do” and the feminist vote would fly his way.
Looking deeply into his background, I found a man who has lived off of America all his life. Son of an Admiral, John’s stint at the Naval Academy was distinctly undistinguished, finishing only 4 spots from the bottom academically, and being less than a stellar pilot. His womanizing and drinking, his dirty jokes, his barely contained racism, his “old boy’s club mentality” and his legendary fiery temper, all combined to leave him with little in the way of an illustrious naval career.
He was, decidedly not going to follow in Daddy and Granddaddy’s footsteps. As everyone knows, McCain was shot down in Vietnam and spent from 1968-1973 as a POW. The most noteworthy thing he did was to refuse early repatriation when it became know whose son he was. What is not largely known, is that this was part of the Military Code of Conduct. No one was to accept repatriation, except in the order of capture.
Of course, this is to take nothing away from the fact that McCain indeed did, follow orders. And as we all know, he used this and his POW status in general, all throughout his political life for whatever gain it would give him. Indeed it would not be unfair to argue, that given his poor history in the Navy, this act of honor was his one and only hope of being seen as following in the tradition of the men in his family. It was, in a word, the one way to make Daddy proud.
Returning to the US, he soon tired of his wife, Carol, who had been seriously injured in a car accident during his absence. He engaged in a number of affairs, until he met the wealthy and much younger Cindy Hensley, heiress to a beer distribution company. He convinced Carol to grant him a divorce, married in 1980, retired from the Navy in 1981, and immediately ran and secured a congressional seat from Arizona in 1982.
He continued, by all reports, his less than stellar ethical behavior, both private and public, and was investigated as part of the Keating 5 scandal. He was twice, allegedly on the short list for VP under Bush I and Reagan.
He was, by the mid 90’s labeled as something of an independent, and eventually became known as a “Maverick.” In 2000, he ran for president. Things got decidedly ugly in South Carolina, where the Bushites spared no lie to destroy him, labeling him as fathering a black baby, a homosexual, husband of a drug addict, and worst of all and the one thing that would blow John’s gasket, they questioned his mental stability and patriotism in Vietnam. Bush won SC, and McCain’s run was over.
The McCain temper is, as was stated, legendary. It was present even during his academy days, but was increasingly volatile and at times bordering on instability after his return to the US following his captivity.
I had come to believe that McCain was essentially unprincipled, he carefully crafted a persona that he thought would win the day as it were. This explained to me his about-face on so very many issues in recent years. It particularly explained his 180° reversals on things like immigration and climate change. He no longer seems to care about campaign finance.
What’s new I asked?
Well, others have a very different take, and in thinking it over, it may well inform this dramatic turn around. According to the Contrarian, Chuck Todd of MSNBC suggests a very different scenario for McCain’s reversals.
He claims that all this is about revenge. McCain does not, admittedly, handle defeat or refusal to see things his way. He was, as one might surmise, livid at Bush’s campaign treatment of him in S. Carolina. While known to be independent and becoming a maverick of sorts, it was after the 2000 election that McCain really turned up the maverick heat.
It is here that he started to buck the Bush agenda, voting against such things as the tax cuts for the wealthy, pushing through McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms. He pushed for HMO reform, was for gun legislation, was in favor of climate change legislation. All these were against Bush desires. Only on the wars was he in the Bush camp. Nothing stands between McCain and aggression it seems.
Being unprincipled, when he secured the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination, he had no compunctions about hiring former Bush election advisers, some of the same who had so gruesomely orchestrated his own demise in 2000. But of course, he lost anyway.
And then we see the utter reversals of position occur. Now again, it may be that some was motivated by his need to appear more “conservative” to Arizona voters whom we know to be rather uber right. But, can it not also be seen as just more of the same revenge tactic, against the man who beat him in 2008? Is this not really just, “I’ll get the last laugh here, I promise you.”
In the end, what we may be seeing is essentially no more than a totally unprincipled man, driven by a epically dangerous temper, wanting to kick sand in the face of anyone who betters him. And given the short memories of most voters, he has found that he can get away with it.
What do you think?
- McCain Defeats Conservative Primary Challenger (politics.usnews.com)
- McCain, Tacking Right, Seeks Primary Day Victory (foxnews.com)
- New John McCain Profile Reveals A Frustrated, Angry, Insecure Senator (huffingtonpost.com)
sadly, he’s BETTER than the other Republican candidate by a long stretch. The only real hop is that a democrat would win and in AZ that’s unlikely. Trust me on this one, I lived in AZ and attended public forums with these candidates…icky all around…but the lesser of two ick’s.
Yeah, I know Terri. Some choice you guys get.
While your portrait of McCain as a vengeful man who seems to have no moral compass is something I can generally agree with, I am a peer of many of the Vietnam 10 POWs from my carrier who knew him as well in captivity as one could under the circumstances. Of the ones I have asked they believe that he was deeply scared by that experience, more so than most. While I am not sympathetic to that necessarily since some of my friends came back in worse shape, it does fill in some of the blanks. He was the only POW not to be promoted upon his retpatriation, crashed three planes in training under dubious circumstances, including one on the way to the Army Navy football game and generally came away from his years in captivity with the impression that the country owed him a lot and he was going to get all of it.
He was at best an irrscible squadron mate by one account, and as you have documented, a terrible student.
On the one hand all this makes me feel sorry for him in some way but does not allow me to excuse his behavior in the Navy, his persdonal life, or after he had beeen a Senate Pentagon Liason Officer, which is how he managed to get public office in the first place.
He is sad, he is tired, and he never should have run again.
Reamus, I would have suspected as much, about him being scarred. I think it fairly screams from his behavior, and I agree, he determined that he was owed big time. That’s why I think he takes these presidential defeats so badly and is determined to “get back” and those who had the audacity to defeat him. I read that it was not until near the very end that he actually accepted that he would lose.
He seems to have been a person who feels entitled from childhood. You are right, his naval career was simply awful, not so much from lack of ability as the desire to do well, as if he could skate because of who he was.
A thoroughly sad man, I admit, but though I pity him, I cannot stand by while he actively helps destroy this country and frankly, the world should he ever get the chance.
Thanks for sharing, and Serving, and being POW, Sir!
The wife business is for me the best indicator of his character. If there’s a better offer, he’ll take it every time. My parents taught me we call this a “lack of scruples.” Even with his genius for surrounding himself with enablers, when his head touches the pillow, it can’t be easy being him.
It is sad for him. But it’s also sad for us, because his disingenuous courting across the aisle under W jaundices our view of any other conservative trying to build bridges. Despite his POW ordeal, history will not be kind to John McCain.
Tim as best I can tell he’s fairly misogynistic. There are a couple of legendary stories of his treatment of Cindi. And the one article in the Post cited to a number of instances where he went after women who had dared to oppose him on fairly minor things. Like they had no right, given his maleness.
Wow; that was like ripping a scab off an old wound that was kinda healed, but actually never will be— as long as “Songbird” McCain still soils the U. S. Senate.
No, John Sidney didn’t do anything all that honorable while a POW. “Songbird” is the name his North Vietnamese captors gave him after he started “singing” as a POW. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that says he collaborated with the enemy; that he in fact made 32 “films” for them; and accepted various sorts of special treatment for doing so. I wrote about it a few weeks before the election, after he gave a nauseating speech at the GOPper convention; you can read it here if you want any more of JSM: http://bit.ly/aC7Oz0
Of course— as Americans, we should all deeply respect, and honor, the men and women whom fate has decreed must experience the countless horrible things that WAR inflicts; John McCain is one of those unfortunates.
But that is no excuse for the way he has used his experience to gain, and keep political power. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes come judgement day.
Terry, it’s no doubt why the bushites labeled him a traitor during 2000 in NC–his behavior as a POW.
I’m not one to believe in hell, but if there were one…..lol
You know Sherry, on your point about his careless naming of Palin: I remember being just stunned that the country didnt recoil in horror at the recklessness of it. But they didn’t. And so it goes.
May I add to your terrific post that as the son of an admiral, a military man and a member of the congress, McCain has ‘sucked off’ the government ‘teat’ all of his life. All. Of. His. Life.
Indeed he has Moe. People like him then have the audacity to tell us we don’t need universal health care,and that we can go for free treatment at the ER and crap like that. They’ve never actually worked a day in their lives. It’s too too sad.
As to Palin, I agree, it makes me see red to think that so many are taken in by the brainless bubblehead.
I’ve never believed that story about him refusing early repatriation. It just doesn’t make sense.
If it was in their own best interest to repatriate him, they would have done so; since it wasn’t, they didn’t.
I find it very hard to believe they took his feelings on the matter into account.
Thomas, I don’t know the ins and outs of the Code of Military Conduct. But you are right in one sense, I find it hard to believe they cared one whit about his feelings in the matter.
Great overview, new info, Sherry. A few more points:
(1) It was McCain’s A4 attack plane that “Accidentally” fired a rocket On his Carrier, starting a Major Fire that killed many crewmen, Took the Carrier out of Action for Months.
(2) Most ‘powerful leaders’ are Born to Wealth, as McCain and GW Bush were. They seldom or never worked an average civilian job, can’t relate to average people.
(3) During the 08 Presidentials, McCain’s Platform included:
(a) ‘Winning the Iraq/Afghan Wars, even if it takes a Hundred Years’. (Problem is They are Not our Wars to win, as we didn’t in Viet Nam.)
(b) McCain wanted to INCREASE Even Reduce more the taxes ion Big Oil, which were, are Incredibly Profitable, and hardly even pay taxes. And Increase the GW Bush Federal Subsidies to BIG OIL, of USA Tax Money.
I generally agree with what you say Tony. Except on one point. McCain was not particularly wealthy before he married Cindi. They were comfortable to be sure, but his wealth arrived with the Anhauser-Bush marriage deal.