In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.
In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.
McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House
Enter public life determined to tell the truth; to put problem-solving ahead of partisanship; to defend the public interest against the special interests; to risk your personal ambitions for the sake of the country and the ideals that make her great. Keep your promise to America, and you will keep your honor.
Although he would soon regale The New York Times with tales of the heroism of the brave enlisted men who "stayed to help the pilots fight the fire," McCain took no part in dousing the flames himself. After going belowdecks and briefly helping sailors who were frantically trying to unload bombs from an elevator to the flight deck, McCain retreated to the safety of the "ready room," where off-duty pilots spent their noncombat hours talking trash and playing poker. There, McCain watched the conflagration unfold on the room's closed-circuit television — bearing distant witness to the valiant self-sacrifice of others who died trying to save the ship, pushing jets into the sea to keep their bombs from exploding on deck.
As the ship burned, McCain took a moment to mourn his misfortune; his combat career appeared to be going up in smoke. "This distressed me considerably," he recalls in Faith of My Fathers. "I feared my ambitions were among the casualties in the calamity that had claimed the Forrestal."
The fire blazed late into the night. The following morning, while oxygen-masked rescue workers toiled to recover bodies from the lower decks, McCain was making fast friends with R.W. "Johnny" Apple of The New York Times, who had arrived by helicopter to cover the deadliest Naval calamity since the Second World War. The son of admiralty surviving a near-death experience certainly made for good copy, and McCain colorfully recounted how he had saved his skin. But when Apple and other reporters left the ship, the story took an even stranger turn: McCain left with them. As the heroic crew of the Forrestal mourned its fallen brothers and the broken ship limped toward the Philippines for repairs, McCain zipped off to Saigon for what he recalls as "some welcome R&R."
Everyone realizes how praiseworthy it is for a politician to honor his word and to be straightforward rather than crafty in his dealings; nonetheless, contemporary experience shows that politicians who have achieved great things have been those who have given their word lightly, who have known how to trick men with their cunning, and who, in the end, have overcome those abiding by honest principles.
--Machiavelli, "The Politician", 1513
a) a bad soldier
b) a traitor who traded information -- "songbird", as a press report from '67 called him -- in exchange for medical care unavailable to his fellow prisoners, thus committing treason
c) his experiences as a prisoner made him crazy; it's not "temper", it's PTSD that makes him unfit for the Presidency
McCain Plans Fiercer Strategy Against Obama
Branding his opponent as "erratic in a crisis," Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is preempting plans by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to portray him as having sinister connections to controversial Chicagoans.
Obama-Biden communications director Dan Pfeiffer said about the new ads: "If John McCain thinks he can 'turn the page' on the economic crisis facing American families, he is even more out of touch than we imagined. Now there may be no good answers for John McCain due to his erratic response to the financial crisis, but his desire to avoid discussing the economy is something we will remind voters of everyday for the next month."
« Older The Li'l O'Reilly Factor... | All-Art.org provides an extens... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt