McCain does a good job with the appearance of a boyishly
He puts on his quiet voice and uses his boyish (albeit now
partially fossilized) expressions and, reminding me of Richard Nixon during
something like his Checkers speech, sometimes glances down at his well-shined
shoes, as though wordlessly to say, see what a good boy I am.
McCain�s actual record of ethics and behavior is rather
dreary, and it is a subject which mysteriously eludes treatment in mainline
media which seem always ready to treat trivia like flag pins. There are many
parallels of insensitivity, anger, aggression, limited capacities, and
grotesque humor with George Bush.
McCain was, quite simply, a nasty brat as a young man. There
are many stories of the way he bullied others, including teachers, stories
perhaps easy to make light of fifty years later, but not funny if you were his
victim and, more importantly, all too similar to stories of his adult behavior.
He was a poor student. He always took advantage of being the son and grandson
of admirals to get away with his sometimes vicious antics and failures.
Despite his favorite public act as boyish fighter pilot, he
apparently remains an often nasty man in private. Many fellow politicians,
including Republicans, testify to his furious, spluttering temper and the use
of the most obscene words to friends and work associates with whom he is
unhappy. There is also the story, related by a Republican, of his sudden
physical attack on a member of the government of Nicaragua during a
When McCain�s being shot down in Vietnam is discussed, the
fact that he was bombing civilians is almost never mentioned. He�s just lucky
he survived. He might well have been torn limb from limb had he been a
Vietnamese pilot shot down in Texas.
How did he survive being shot down? After all, he landed in
a body of water and he was hurt. A group of local villagers, and one Vietnamese
man in particular, Mai Van On, left their bomb shelters and pulled McCain from
the water where he would certainly have drowned otherwise.
That brave and decent Vietnamese man, whom McCain once
acknowledged, died recently, a very disheartened man that McCain never showed
any real sign of thanks or reciprocity. His wife has spoken to the press on
this. After all, in many cultures, someone�s saving your life creates a
powerful bond or debt, but apparently not for John McCain.
Apart from some fitting communication from the man who went
on to become famous, imagine how even a little money order from this well-off
man could have altered the lives of those who saved him?
When McCain returned home to the wife who had waited for him
for the five and a half years he was in prison, he discovered his wife had been
in a terrible car accident in which she was disfigured.
Instead of compassion and loyalty, McCain started a series
of affairs, ending with wealthy future wife Cindy.
He left his crippled wife to marry the money. It was a
pretty shabby display, reminiscent of Newt Gingrich�s telling a wife dying of
cancer he was divorcing her, but it did considerably help finance his political
During the great savings and loan scandals, McCain was at the
center, having got a lot of money and favors from (to-be convicted felon)
McCain�s second wife, Cindy, was a drug addict, by her own
admission. She also stole a large quantity of drugs from a charity for which
she did volunteer work to feed her habit, an act which would earn you or me
hard time in prison in Bush�s America.
You do have to ask about the mental state of a woman who is
said to be worth $100 million yet who steals the drugs she craves.
But Cindy got off with a slap on the wrist, thanks in part
to the efforts of her husband. This law-and-order conservative, this defender
of the hard line in the war on drugs, saw nothing wrong in using his influence.
No insistence here that Cindy do the time that he and Bush insist on, and snigger
over, for young black men caught with modest quantities of cocaine.
Cindy, in her efforts to soften her brittle Bergdorf Goodman
image -- or whatever expensive store it is in New York to which she regularly
flies to buy racks of clothes -- and connect with average Americans, also had
the minor flap of being caught misrepresenting other people�s recipes as her
own. Integrity does not appear to be a strong McCain family value.
Recently McCain had a hard time remembering how many houses
he and Cindy owned. Does anyone believe that that is the kind of personal
matter someone forgets? If he was indeed being honest, then almost certainly
Alzheimer�s has set in. More likely though, he was not being honest, trying to
deflect an embarrassing question. The latest count on the houses is eight.
McCain, in 2000, told us exactly what he really thinks of
the Religious Right. After all, he is known as a rather irreligious, worldly
man. He did endear himself to many as he lambasted the Religious Right�s nasty,
inappropriate influence in American politics, but practically the next day, he
was crawling around on his belly, saying he was sorry, having quickly realized
what he had done to his political ambitions.
And that last pattern has been typical of McCain�s entire
public career. Shoot off his mouth, make big noises about being tough and
honest, and then crawl back quietly shortly afterward, having achieved nothing
but adding a notch to the reputation he relishes as a maverick.
Of course, there never has been a bombing run McCain did not
eagerly support. He embraces enthusiastically, consistently, all war measures,
no matter how weak or foolish the reasons used to support them. That�s why
Lieberman, supposedly a Democrat, supports McCain so enthusiastically, Lieberman
being another man who never saw a bombing run he did not like nor an excuse too
flimsy to support one.
As for McCain�s humor, nothing so reveals him for the mild
psychopath that he is. The sense his humor conveys, at least a good deal of it,
is very much along the lines of what Bush�s humor conveys.
As, for example, the time Bush made some twisted comment and
facial expressions to reporters about the pitiful woman he refused to stay from
execution in Texas despite her pleas as a converted Christian.
Or Bush�s comment to reporters in Chicago when, not long
after 9/11, he joked about having �won the trifecta� with his new-found
Or the story from an acquaintance of his youth about his
favorite stunt, repeated many times over, of shoving lit firecrackers into the
mouths of captured frogs and watching them blow up.
The disgusting nature of some of McCain�s jokes is
summarized in this Times
After eight years of Bush�s incompetence and stupid
brutality, are we to have another man as president reflecting many of the same
qualities and views?
One recent poll showed that while nearly 90 percent of
Republicans would support McCain, only 73 percent of Hillary Clinton�s
supporters would support Obama. These disaffected voters should examine closely
the character of the man for whom they may vote in protest.
McCain is certainly well aware of them. He just picked a soccer mom from Alaska
as his candidate for vice president.