Isaac was surprised to hear me advise a friend of mine that a vote for a third party is a vote for McCain. I don’t usually fall into such rhetoric. In fact I have always voted third party…until this year. Personally I’m a huge Obama fan…not because he’s a Democrat, because I honestly believe that he is the right man to lead this country out of stalling out, crashing, and burning. Even if I didn’t feel that Obama was the best man for the job, for the first time in my voting life I feel the stakes are too high to give a man like McCain the chance to run our country. McCain is not only the wrong choice, but it is a choice to put an abusive, dishonorable, and dangerous man in power. Many people aren’t aware of how terrible a person McCain is, mostly because Obama doesn’t sling all that much mud. I can’t speak for his television commercials, but in the debates Obama sticks to the points when he could clearly criticize McCain’s personal character.
Let’s start with McCain the “war hero”. Rolling Stone puts it well, “There is no question that McCain suffered hideously in North Vietnam. His ejection over a lake in downtown Hanoi broke his knee and both his arms. During his capture, he was bayoneted in the ankle and the groin, and had his shoulder smashed by a rifle butt. His tormentors dragged McCain’s broken body to a cell and seemed content to let him expire from his injuries. For the next two years, there were few days that he was not in agony.”
The question is, why was he there in the first place? Let’s look at his war trajectory starting with Annapolis. His classmates and colleagues describe him as “petulant — even abusive” and he had a record of insubordination that would have gotten any other midshipman kicked out of Annapolis. McCain was untouchable and knew it.
According to Rolling Stone’s Tom Dickinson, “Midway though his final year, McCain faced expulsion, about to ‘bilge out’ because of excessive demerits. After his mother intervened, however, the academy’s commandant stepped in. Calling McCain ‘spoiled’ to his face, he nonetheless issued a reprieve, scaling back the demerits. McCain dodged expulsion a second time by convincing another midshipman to take the fall after McCain was caught with contraband.”
“Contraband” is a pretty strong word. It summons up the image of McCain doing heroine in his room…or at least smoking pot. What Rolling Stone calls contraband was actually a television. (See “McCain’s Annapolis High Jinks” April 02, 2008 MSNBC by Domenico Montanaro.) Not nearly as controversial as other sorts of contraband, but enough to get him considered for dismissal from Annapolis a second time which makes it questionable if Big Momma McCain could bail him out again. This story shows us three things. First, that when McCain calls himself a maverick he really means he shows flagrant disregard for rules. Second, when the heat is on McCain has no trouble calling in a patsy and making his friends take the fall for him showing a distinct lack of honesty or honor. Third, even though he was called a “hero” for being a prisoner of war, it was really just the unfortunate outcome of him forcing himself into a place where he didn’t belong in the first place. McCain obviously didn’t deserve to graduate from Annapolis; he should have been kicked out on several occasions. Even squeaking by Annapolis, McCain didn’t deserve to be in the Air Force for long. On two occasions he should have had his flight privileges taken away: once for each plane he crashed.
“In the Navy, if you crashed one airplane, nine times out of 10 you would lose your wings,” says says Phil Butler, who lived across the hall from McCain at the academy.
McCain was the 1 out of 10 that was given a second chance…one that he failed.
McCain’s second crash sparked “a small international incident” that would have had any other pilot “as the deck officer on a destroyer someplace in a hurry.”
Before that story, you should understand the man in his own words. McCain took little interest in his flight manuals; he had other priorities.
“I enjoyed the off-duty life of a Navy flier more than I enjoyed the actual flying,” McCain writes. “I drove a Corvette, dated a lot, spent all my free hours at bars and beach parties.”
Off duty on his Mediterranean tours, McCain frequented the casinos of Monte Carlo, cultivating his taste for what he calls the “addictive” game of craps. McCain’s thrill-seeking carried over into his day job. Flying over the south of Spain one day, he decided to deviate from his flight plan. Rocketing along mere feet above the ground, his plane sliced through a power line. His self-described “daredevil clowning” plunged much of the area into a blackout. This is a man who certainly shouldn’t be flying a plane, much less our country. At this point I blame the Air Force for not saying “You’re obviously not a good enough pilot to be in the Air Force” which would have allowed them to put a better man it the cockpit…perhaps one that could follow orders…instead of McCain who got himself shot down out of pure cockiness. It was a dangerous mission to be sure, one that takes a hero, but sometimes being a hero means knowing when to turn back. Something McCain doesn’t know how to do. As planes entered Hanoi airspace, they were instantly enveloped in dark clouds of flak and surface-to-air missiles. As he dived in on the target in his A-4, his surface-to-air missile warning system sounded: A SAM had a lock on him.
“I knew I should roll out and fly evasive maneuvers,” McCain writes. “The A-4 is a small, fast” aircraft that “can outmaneuver a tracking SAM.”
But McCain didn’t “jink.” Instead, he stayed on target and let fly his bombs — just as the SAM blew his wing off. That’s his character in a nutshell. Someone willing to risk his own life…not because he cares about his country or his fellow soldiers…but cares only for his own ego and the chance to play the hero. Perhaps next week I’ll write on his abusiveness to women to the point of him being arrested for verbal assault on strangers or calling his wife a “cunt” for her commenting on his receding hairline, but for now I leave you with one question:
Our country is dangerously close to stalling out, so why would you be willing to risk having a man who didn’t deserve to graduate academy, has a reputation for recklessness in the face of foreign affairs, and cares about the glamour of the position rather than the job itself in the pilot seat of this country?
This is a man that shouldn’t have been trusted with the two bombs strapped to the bottom of his plane, much less given control of every bomb in the American arsenal. He was a dangerous man to have in the US Air Force, and he will be a dangerous man to have in the US government. Even if you don’t believe in Obama for president of the United States, please don’t make a choice that could put a terror like McCain in power.