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)