July 3, 2008

Should McCain be asked how his experience in Vietnam qualifies him to be President?

We're told he "recoiled" in "distaste" when asked. Jon Stolz says:
The fact of the matter is that General Clark was absolutely right. McCain's service, while heroic and honorable, is not very relevant when it comes to preparing him to be the military's ultimate commander. His experience didn't involve executive decision making in the military, or global strategy. Very few candidates for the presidency have had the experience in life that prepares them for that role. In fact, McCain said it himself in 2003, that some of our best Commanders in Chief had no military experience at all.
Jac says:
[I]s it true that McCain is "reluctant to talk about" his heroism in Vietnam? I don't know. But he hasn't been reluctant to say "I'm John McCain and I approve this message" in an ad showing footage of him as a POW, intercut with a closeup of McCain with the word "hero" emblazoned on his forehead....

No matter what your opinion is of Barack Obama, I think you have to give him this: he'd never approve an ad that was based on highlighting a specific argument for why he's qualified to be president, but then later try to shut down any rational discussion of that precise point.
I think there are some things that Barack Obama has tried to place beyond debate, such as the things his wife has said in political speeches on his behalf.

Recoiling, disgust, and outrage — it's a response of a kind. A gesture. An expression. It's a move in the debate. The question is whether it works as a good enough statement. You can ask someone a question to which they will respond with an icy "How dare you ask me that?" When are you going to feel chastened and apologize, and when are you going to call their bluff?

I think in the case of McCain's experience in Vietnam, he really is best off not attempting to articulate how it might be a qualification. It's something that he did, something that happened to him, and it is what it is. We all know it and can rely on it to the extent we see fit. There is nothing more for him to say about it. If he were to begin to talk about what it was like and how it has formed him as a man, it would seem immodest and extreme. He would have to put us all in our place, and he might seem like an angry old man of the past. The silence is eloquence enough.

ADDED: Jac has done an update and he links approvingly to this:



Oh, lord! That was such an offensive attempt at a gotcha! MSNBC is a piece of work.

71 comments:

Henry said...

he'd never approve an ad that was based on highlighting a specific argument for why he's qualified to be president, but then later try to shut down any rational discussion of that precise point.

First, one needs a specific argument.

Original Mike said...

Yes, if I were McCain I'd hold my fire, too. But I think Team Obama pushes this argument at their peril.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Yeah, Ann, you're right. Plus, if McCain talks about 'Nam he might start spouting off the g-word.

Pelkabo said...

Headline right now on the New York Times:

Obama Might ‘Refine’ Iraq Withdrawal Timeline

There's your Ha Ha for the day, Ann. The joke is on the anti-war left. Their Messiah just threw them under the bus.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Thanks for the link, Mom. I updated the post to respond to your point about Michelle Obama.

mark said...

To sum up McCain's entire career and qualifications in "riding a fighter plane and being shot down in Vietnam", and then ask how is it relevant is an obvious hit job. His experience in Vietnam, in the military (including command experience), and in the Senate spans a lifetime - both in duration and accomplishments. That it is not precisely the same as a CinC experience doesn't make it any less impressive, particularly in comparison to Obama's miniscule experience and even fewer accomplishments.

On the question of character - Obama took 20 years of Wright's vitriol without a word of objection, in fact bringing his children into this environment, only to turn around and throw Wright under the bus when he became a political liability. Compare that with McCain's character and what we know of his PoW experience.

LutherM said...

ANN
You wrote, "McCain's service, while heroic and honorable, is not very relevant"
As for McCain not wishing to personally talk about it, that fits right in with many military men. Campaign laws require that the candidate approve commercials, not that he make speeches about his own bravery.

But to write that courage under fire is not relevant ?
Courage under torture not relevant ?

Even in the People's Republic of Madison, I don't think that is the prevailing opinion.

paul a'barge said...

McCain's humility and discomfort at profiting from his honor and service are well known and well documented. Even a moron with minimal Google-fu can substantiate this.

So, now we have some HuffPo moral retard reacting with faux outrage and glee at McCain recoiling from a demand that he shove his service to our country in our faces.

From what level of hell do these things slither? Really, is there an integer large enough to accommodate this?

Imagine one of these yuppie troglodyte self-emasculates, couched in fear and loathing of their mistress masters, in the same room as John McCain the hero? Now, imagine the audacity of their demands that he answer to their whining requests for justification?

Just wow.

Original Mike said...

... only to turn around and throw Wright under the bus when he became a political liability. Compare that with McCain's character and what we know of his PoW experience.

That might make a hell of an ad in the wanning days of the campaign (queue the voice over: "Leadership is measured by what a man does when the going gets tough.")

P. Rich said...

CHARACTER

McCain - 1

Obama - 0

Next topic.

perry masonmint said...


Imagine one of these yuppie troglodyte self-emasculates, couched in fear and loathing of their mistress masters, in the same room as John McCain the hero?


Absolutely right. He might turn to them and say "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt".

That would scare the shit out of them!!!!!

paul a'barge said...

Oh, what the hell ....
What a man does in his life in times of great trial tell us about that man. It tells us his character. And his character in the office of the Presidency is at points going to be all that he has to sustain him and to guide his decisions.

So, let's see what we have here. John McCain, tortured and offered an early release to come home chose to ... wait his turn. Told to communicate in a photo op, he ... gave his torturers the finger.

Barky Hussein Obama, curtly given orders by his wife chose to ... simper and agree in his best "little boy" voice to do her bidding.

The question: Should McCain be asked how his experience in Vietnam qualifies him to be President? The answer: how dare you ask?

AJ Lynch said...

Experience is an argument Obama can't win.

He can't even come close to winning no matter how they try to frame McCain's resume. So they should just move on..

rhhardin said...

The topic is fraught with PC freight as well, owing to a confusion about honoring vets.

You get honored not for getting wounded, not for suffering, not for getting killed, but for going when called on; and that gets honored because it's the moment of morality itself : you act when called on.

Instead the confusion of that honor with the sympathy you get for suffering, which plays into the left's position that all soldiers are helpless fluff, overspreads the entire topic; and the media's business model, that suffering plays to its audience's interests.

Suffering doesn't get you to be President. Being called on and going does.

The move towards outrage at the question is a reaction to the confusion and not seeing a way out of it; namely that it isn't a matter of suffering but of doing what's right, that was on display.

Someday maybe they'll take Memorial Day and Veterans' Day and get the speeches right, but don't hold your breath.

garage mahal said...

"Leadership is measured by what a man does when the going gets tough."

I really don't think McCain wants to explore that angle in any detail.

1jpb said...

"to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her I think is just low class ... and especially for people who purport to be promoters of family values, who claim that they are protectors of the values and ideals and the decency of the American people to start attacking my wife in a political campaign I think is detestable."

Apparently this is BHO putting Michelle beyond debate. The alternative would be to weakly step aside in silence while Hannity and friends continue to spin their narrative without any counter narrative from BHO. Newsflash: that's not how politics works.

Regarding McCain, I do want to hear from him about his experience as a pilot. Are all pilots prepared to be president? Or, is it only the ones who were shot down and showed heroism as a prisoner? Or, what are the unique specifics of his military service that standout preparation to become president.

Why not elaborate on his military experience? It is arguable that HE is making his military knowledge the main justification for his candidacy. Do we have data indicating that pilots (on average) have made better presidents than non-pilots?

There are reasonable questions here. McCain is a war hero. His entire political career has been bolstered by this. Should that make him president in 2009? It didn't in 2001, when another pilot beat him: how has that pilot worked out?

Ann Althouse said...

"But to write that courage under fire is not relevant?"

I wrote not very relevant. It has some relevance. But surely we don't want the President to be whoever is most heroic in battle! It's something. As I said here: it is what it is. He showed great fortitude and endurance. I think most of us would have died in the situation that he was in. And as far as accepting the offer to leave the prison: Do you flatter yourself to think you'd have refused it? I sure don't.

But the President will have to do the work of the President. I don't know how anyone is good enough to do it, but McCain offers what he has and so does Obama. I think they are both good men, competent men. They have very different backgrounds, but the question is, who will perform best in the next 4 years. That isn't easy to answer. It's not a contest of who is the better person.

chuck b. said...

I don't want to hear anything about Viet Nam. Noone does.

McCain's experience there testifies to his character. We know about that.

What do we know about Obama? He's terrible off teleprompter, his grandmother's a racist, he can't disown Jeremiah Wright (until he did), and he's lying about the judicial reasoning he favors.

veni vidi vici said...

"The topic is fraught with PC freight as well, owing to a confusion about honoring vets."

Frater fragged a frigate that was fraught with freight! Oh, Frigate!

dbp said...

George W. was a pilot, because he flew for the Air Force. Sen McCain was a Naval Aviator.

John Stodder said...

This argument is a straw man. When writers like Bolz claim that Wesley Clark was justified in saying what he said, the impression it's meant to leave is: "John McCain has been campaigning as if his service in Vietnam and POW experience qualifies him to be president." But he has never said any such thing, and it would be righly viewed as absurd if he did. (It was Kerry who campaigned like that, disastrously.)

Yes, McCain cites it, but only in the same way Obama cites his years as a community organizer or his working his way through Harvard. Is anyone accusing Obama of claiming that his years in community organizing makes him better-qualified to be president? No. It's part of his bio, it's information worth knowing, but that's as far as it goes.

This is such a phony issue. What these Lackoffian jackals are trying to do is to delegitimize any mention by McCain of that part of his life history. They fear it and they want it to go away. They want the "frame" to be young Obama versus old man McCain, and not yuppie Obama vs. patriotic warrior McCain. So the idea is, get the press to challenge McCain over his military record, not as to its verity, but as to its inappropriateness; to make pictures of McCain in the Hanoi Hilton a political third rail like the 9/11 WTC video, something that's off-limits.

Yuk. These 21st century Dems are just cruising for a guy like me to vote against their candidate out of spite. I hate this shit. I can't be the only one. When I take over the Democratic Party, every "frame" guy gets fired on Day One.

Original Mike said...

And as far as accepting the offer to leave the prison: Do you flatter yourself to think you'd have refused it? I sure don't.

Me neither. And for me, that's the big deal. It shows one hell of a lot of fortitude, choosing what's right rather than what's easy. That's Presidential material.

perry masonmint said...

garage mahal said...

"Leadership is measured by what a man does when the going gets tough."

I really don't think McCain wants to explore that angle in any detail.


Ain't that the truth...

dbp said...

To most Americans, McCain's Naval service will count as a plus. I think Obama's campain realises this and they are trying for one of two possible outcomes: 1. Goad McCain into overplaying his heroism and end up looking like a jerk, or 2. Trick McCain into acting like his heroic service is irrelevant and thus never to be brought-up.

McCain needs to be smart: Play footage of Michelle saying she is proud for the first time and then play footage of McCain, just out of Hanoi saying he's never stopped loving his country.

This is exactly the sort of thing the Obama campain is trying to proactivly prevent.

Ann Althouse said...

"Frater fragged a frigate that was fraught with freight! Oh, Frigate!"

LOL.

reader_iam said...

It's not a contest of who is the better person.

If only that weren't a minority position.

bearbee said...

Why is this even an issue?

Was Kerry ask the question?

Craig Landon in an earlier thread laid out a case for McCain's executive experience as commanding officer.

His service went beyond Viet Nam and if accurate, seems obvious he should stress that aspect of his military career.

Superdad said...

It does not qualify him; but it sure as heck matters. Not because he was a pilot; not because he was shot down, but because of what he did after he was shot down. He did not just refuse an early release. He acted as a Chaplin, a counselor and a leader to the rest of the men who were being held in that pow camp. He made sure that as many of those men made it home alive as possible. The actual stories of what he did in that pow camp are a powerful testimony to his love for his fellow man and his country.

Does this mean he is automatically the best man to be president? of course not; but to say it doesn't matter is just stupid. And the fact that the two dickheads Obama found to say it once put on a uniform doesn't change that.

and for the record - I don't really like McCain all that much.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Dan Abrams is the quintessential pencil neck dweeb with a whiny voice. I bet he was the knock kneed kid on the playground who when sniviling to the teacher and ratted out all of his playmates.

What a loser.

The Drill SGT said...

Stolz said..."McCain's service, while heroic and honorable, is not very relevant"

a couple of points;

1. McCain's service is very relevant to this combat Vet. Concepts like:
- Loyalty
- honesty
- Courage
- Leadership
- Sacrifice
- knowing what the horrors of war are like
- knowing what it means to commit troops to combat in a far off land
- knowing, that in the Military, we understand that the priority is always MISSION, then taking care of your Men, then taking care of yourself.
- Understanding that there is no greater sacrifice that a person can make, beyond putting one's mortal body between the horrors of war and one's family.

2. In Starship Troopers, Heinlein postulated that Veterans (and he defined them as those completing a broad range of public service) should be the only ones allowed the right to vote. Not because they were smarter, or better educated, but rather because they had demonstrated that they were willing to put the common good ahead of their personal benefit.

McCain's service in Vietnam demonstrated that sacrifice and he continues to live to that ideal. Last year, in answering a question, about why he continued to advocate a surge, when the piblic wanted a pullout, McCain stated, I'd rather win the war than be President

That for me is enough rationale to vote for him. I want somebody willing to put America ahead of his personal ego and fortune.

PJ said...

I'll repeat a point I recently made in a less appropriate thread: If Bush's policy regarding torture has really been a major failure that has diminished our nation in the eyes of the world, and if McCain's policy would have been different, and if the difference in McCain's position was informed by his military and POW experiences, how are those experiences not (or marginally) relevant to McCain's qualifications for President?

garage mahal said...

The actual stories of what he did in that pow camp are a powerful testimony....

Yes, compare and contrast McCain giving up military info, making propaganda tapes and radio broadcasts for the N Vietnamese, to a true American hero like Rocky Versace who refused to break the Code of Conduct by taunting his captors that eventually led to his murder.

Peter said...

All information matters in a certain way, but you have to judge how and how much. The "courage" part of McCain's biography, particularly the refusal of early release, tells me that he can do what he believes is right in the face of unbelievable contrary pressures (though he might not always do so, as some of his rightward panders show). Obama has not demonstrated *any* such capacity, given his nakedly political "bus" moves. Many of McCain's past "maverick" positions also demonstrate this quality.

The problem is, while it's an admirable quality in the abstract, what McCain believes is right does not match very well at all with what I believe. So I am a McCain admirer but absolutely not a McCain voter.

But in some respects, his integrity is what many of us are looking for in Obama. It would be a change from partisan political expediency. McCain might bring more of that than Obama, on the evidence.

George said...

Oh, for crying out loud, Professor....You write...

"But surely we don't want the President to be whoever is most heroic in battle! It's something."

No Washington? No Grant? No Jackson? No Truman? No Kennedy?

We had another President who was a Prisoner of War...

Jackson...

"Upon discovering the two Jackson boys, the British detachment began to destroy the house, tearing apart furniture and breaking windows. The prisoners cowered in the living room until the British commander ordered Andrew to clean the mud from the soldiers' boots. Jackson refused, replying, "Sir, I am a prisoner of war and claim to be treated as such." In an angry response, the soldier raised his sword and swung at the boy's head. Jackson managed to deflect part of the blow with his left hand, but he received a serious gash on his hand and another on his head–two scars of British ire that Jackson would bear for the rest of his life.

"When Robert also refused to clean the boots, he was sent staggering across the room by a blow from the officer's sword.
The British took the two Jackson boys and twenty other prisoners from the battle to Camden, nearly forty miles away. There, the British placed all of them into a small prisoner camp with 250 other men, with no medicine, no beds, and only a small amount of bread for food. Both boys became infected with smallpox and would have likely died had their mother, Elizabeth, not helped to arrange a prisoner transfer–the patriots turned over thirteen redcoats and the British freed seven prisoners, including the two Jacksons. Andrew walked the forty miles back to Waxhaw, while his mother and his dying brother rode beside him. Robert died two days after returning home, and it was several weeks before Andrew regained enough of his health to leave his bed."

To defy the enemy and live, that's guts. That's Presidential character.

Greybeard said...

I'm a Viet Nam Vet and will not vote for John Mc. But to argue what he endured doesn't show he's one tough son-of-a-bitch is beyond lunacy.
Next topic?

Cedarford said...

rhhardin said...
The topic is fraught with PC freight as well, owing to a confusion about honoring vets.
You get honored not for getting wounded, not for suffering, not for getting killed, but for going when called on


And also how distinguished your duty was - and if going to a career in civilian life - just what in your service meshes with what the "hiring manager(s)" want.

McCain's military narrative is subject to a lot of confusion because so many of the American public have been told suffering=heroism, dying doing a risky job voluntarily = heroism.

As an ex-officer, I look at McCain's military record in toto, I see some impressive feats preparing him to be President. I never supported McCain as President, perhaps I will reluctantly if Obama shows he is the empty suit I think he is outside what Team Axelrod programs him to say....but if you look at his whole record you see:

1. Rather than be downgraded for his class ranking, people at the bottom are generally admired at the Service Academies. They are more likely to have distinguished careers than all but those at the very top - they are normally the rebels and outside the box thinkers that spend 4 years fighting the Man. McCain's low ranking comes from demerits more than stupidity. In many subjects (history, literature) he was among the best in his class. He boxed. He was known as fearless. A rake and a rogue. John McCain stories of his midshipman years are still Academy lore.

2. Before his captivity, he was in one of the most toughest elite jobs in the Services - carrier fighter jet pilot. He was the 1st American pilot in jets to survive two ejections and one crash. Besides flying, he also served as flight repairs officer and deck officer (the most dangerous two acres on the planet) leading & commanding men.

3.In the Forrestal fire that killed 134 men and wounded 161, inc McCain - McCain is seen on film jumping from his burning plane and rolling through a lake of flaming fuel that engulfed him as he hit the "deck". Then off-film, after he was "put-out" by fire extinguishers, running back into the flames to rescue a trapped pilot when a 500 lb bomb blew, killing the 1st firefighting crew and throwing McCain and the pilot he had reached 50 feet clear of the inferno, within a few feet of being blown over the side. McCain suffered burns from his trip from and back into the fire, and was also operated on for bomb shrapnel frag in his chest and legs.

4. Still recuperating, he and other fliers volunteered to transfer to another aircraft carrier. On his 23rd mission, he was shot down. He also became the 1st American pilot to survive 3 dangerous ejections - though the 3rd one gravely wounded him.

5. His POW time has been written about extensively. What isn't written is that if he hadn't been in captivity 5 1/2 years, LT Cmdr. McCain would have been named the XO of a Air Wing, possibly it's Commanding Officer after a 2-year shore assignment in an executive capacity.

6. After he came back, he had a painful recuperation from mental and physical damage...he was able to get a War College spot ahead of his rank by saying he was also rehabilitating to get flight status. To do that, after classes, he went through physical therapy "as painful as my interogators dished out" on his shoulders, one elbow, and one knee breaking up scar tissue, tearing ligament and muscle so he got movement back - and weights to strengthen him up to pass the Flight physical. Less than two years after the Communist released him, he had his wings back - amazing doctors with his iron will.

7. His time as Commanding Officer in Penniscola is considered stellar military leadership. For his work in making the near-dysfunctional squadron, the nations largest, top rated, his executive turnaround gained him and key officers and enlisted the Presidential Meritorious Unit Commendation. The 1st time ever given in peacetime.

8. McCain was promoted to Captain and made the Navy's Senate Liaison. He was well-liked by Senators and Senate staff for his excellent planning, advance work on trips, and his work 100%, have a good time 100% when not working approach.

9. On the sum of his military career, not just his "suffering in captivity" too many fixate on, I'd rate McCain outstanding in a range of abilities and attributes:

Courage. Iron Will. Ability to relate to, and lead others. Ability to successfully work complex systems and organizations in time of tremendous pressure and physical risk. Devotion to Duty. Patriotism. Executive management skill. Commitment. 1st Class Character.

The guy has his downsides - temper, stubborness, ill-thought out legislation, lack of knowledge of many areas of civilian life and how economies work....but his life history, pre-Senate, was a credit to himself and his country.

Some of his medals:

Silver Star Medal,
Legion of Merit,
Distinguished Flying Cross,
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart Medal,
Meritorious Service Medal,
Air Medal,
Republic of Vietnam Combat Medal,
Navy Commendation Medal,
Combat Action Ribbon,
Prisoner of War Medal,
Presidential Unit Commendation,
Good Conduct Award 25 years,
Honorable Discharge.

10. For 40 years, every Navy sailor has seen the Forrestal Fire footage, also a significant part of the Army, Coast Guard, and AF dealing with damage control (nearly everybody). For the last 10, the fact that McCain was the guy you see jumping into a sea of fire out of his jet surviving only with the duck and roll he did perfectly and taught to others now, and he was running back into the flames to rescue another pilot after suffering his own burns is well known.

SteveR said...

To argue one way or the other about the details of the why or why not of skreMcCain's military service is a great topic for commenting but it seems clear to me that Obama encourages it at his peril. The people who will decide this election are likely to be unconcerned with the details and also likely to find questions and criticisms about it, distasteful. Its not anywhere close to a John Kerry situation for one.

Simon said...

Is Dan Abrams really this stupid? Really? He doesn't see the difference? Does he need someone to help him cut up his food and wipe away his dribble? What's next: "Are Coke and Beer really that different? They're both brown carbonated drinks? Dipsh*t.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

Cedarford said...10. For 40 years, every Navy sailor has seen the Forrestal Fire footage, also a significant part of the Army, Coast Guard, and AF dealing with damage control (nearly everybody). For the last 10, the fact that McCain was the guy you see jumping into a sea of fire out of his jet surviving only with the duck and roll he did perfectly and taught to others now, and he was running back into the flames to rescue another pilot after suffering his own burns is well known.

When his plane exploded in flames, McCain had the presence of mind to quickly and decisively do the one thing that would save his life. He unhooked himself, got out of the cockpit surrounded by flames. He climbed onto the nose of the A-4, then walked out the refueling probe, then made a diving roll to the deck and out of the flames.

To expand on what C4 said, in that acident displayed a number of characteristics that look good in a President.


here is the video, amazing

The Drill SGT said...

my link didnt work.

here it is

www.youtube.com/watch?v=chuiyXQKw3I

Kirby Olson said...

McCain comes from three generations of top military leaders. He's going to be the CEO if he's elected. They say the apple doesn't roll too far from the tree. I expect that his past would help him to make solid sensible decisions. He doesn't come from a line of fools.

The Drill SGT said...

C4,

quibbling with your medals list:

1. Good Conduct Medal? you sure? that is only for enlisted soldiers, though of course the naval service may have different rules :)

2. I read a network article that said Bronze Star, V for Valor, with 2 gold stars( which to me means a second and third award, but I'm no swabbie)

3. I think he got more than 1 Purple Heart, but found no evidence just now.

1jpb said...

Many of you refer to McCain's integrity. You use different terms, and your admiration differs in intensity. You (without being fully informed) sincerely believe that BHO is a flip flopper, but McCain is a steadfast hero who doesn't flip flop.

How do you account for the huge number of McCain filp flops that has been documented by the left folks?

drilling, windfall, wire-tap, privatizing SS, abortion rights, death tax, detention, telecoms, yucca, cuba, hamas, syria, lobbying, intolerant agents, warming, lips, rogues, kerry, cigarettes, economics, iraq, wright, bush, earmarks, mortgages, budget, torture, sea, dream, immigration, donors, easy win, rumsfeld, roe, gays, jerry, rich cuts, wylys, finance, king, jones, ethanol, confederate flag, henry, grover, caved, reform.

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/2008/07/mccians-recordsetting-flipflop.php

Sure, a few of these are a stretches, but the vast majority are legitimate flips.

All politicians act politically. The real question is do you want change in the executive? Or, do you want to continue the Bush economic and war policies, with a few alterations to the lower tier policies where McCain has (so far) resisted switching to the Bush view?

Convincing yourself that McCain would be a good president because he is a war hero would be unwise.

Of course, he could be your choice based on the issues if you support his platform of fiscal bankruptcy, global capital redistribution, wealth gap expansion, foriegn nation destruction/building, and watered down culture war.

fivewheels said...

You forgot puppy-murdering, 1jpb. It's right on top of his platform, with all the rest.

I wish this "McBush", "Bush's third term" angle wouldn't be used. It's purely a ploy that's designed to work on uninformed voters, isn't it? The differences between McCain and Bush are pretty significant, and I certainly had the impression that since 2000 there's personal animosity as well. But the rubes don't pay enough attention to know this, I suppose.

And if "change in the executive" were "the real question", I could vote for Jessica Simpson. But that's not a very sophisticated position.

XWL said...

Thanks for the link, Mom. I updated the post to respond to your point about Michelle Obama.

I strongly object to the use by JAC of the word "Mom" when referring to the blogger Althouse. It's yet another example of a male blogger asserting his male privilege and trying to keep a strong female voice 'in her place' (namely barefoot and pregnant, or at least allude to pregnancy and maternity, and barefootedness). This recalls the "sweetie" incident from not so long ago. Sen. Clinton may have lost in the primaries, but her supporters won't forget the nature and tone of the debate that arose because of the differences between the two leading candidates.

(whoops, sorry, got possessed by an angry ghost of a disappointed Clintonista)

Seriously, though, Althouse is a blogger in these pages, not Mom, she didn't call you "child", did she (though technically she could have, then she'd be accused of infantilizing a person with whom she's having a political discussion, and then I could have started a whole different pretend rant)?

rhhardin said...

And also how distinguished your duty was

I think that doesn't enter into honoring vets, phenomenologically speaking. There it's only you're called and you go.

Your performance may be impressive but it could equivalently be impressive in any field.

XWL said...

One more thing, I would love to see independent confirmation of McCain's 'recoil' and 'distaste'. I suspect that the ABC reporter (linked by Stolz) might be projecting or exaggerating a bit there, but I have no evidence one way or the other.

Seems like there are folks pushing hard on the 'McCain is a loose cannon with a short fuse' meme, along with 'Grandpa McCain should be in Depends, not the White House' meme.

We'll see how that works over time. I suspect that this will win McCain votes rather than lose them, but I could be wrong.

Cedarford said...

Althouse -

But surely we don't want the President to be whoever is most heroic in battle! It's something. As I said here: it is what it is.

She's right. America may select Generals to high office as demonstrated great leaders of men in War (14 Generals or high-level officers were President, and many more were outstanding persons who served in lower rank (JFK, Nixon, Bush I) or as civilian leaders in charge of military personnel - Hoover, FDR.

But no, "great suffering" or just being a cop, fireman, or soldier in government uniform and doing expected duty - isn't heroic. And just heroic bravery of the SGT York, Audie Murphy, or some POWs is not a ticket to high office.

He showed great fortitude and endurance. I think most of us would have died in the situation that he was in.

Some would, some would not if they were as trained and in the peak physical and mental condition Mccain was when shot down. The Japs were many times more evil and brutal as the Vietnamese, and only 40% of allied prisoners died in Jap hands. Plus 22% of civilians interned.(Survival rates of captured Japs and enemy Japanese civilians we Americans relocated or interned was above 99%)

And as far as accepting the offer to leave the prison: Do you flatter yourself to think you'd have refused it? I sure don't.

Yes. I would have. I suspect many of your commentators who served in the military would have refused as well, as the POW chain of Command was able to spread word to POWs that as a matter of honor, though not a direct order, they were to refuse release unless every POW senior to them was released 1st, or they were in such declining health their lives were at risk.

McCain was not the only one to refuse early release. A majority did. Though America did not discipline those that bailed without satisfying the honorable charge they had, especially low-ranking enlisted since most never got word of "most senior, out first" - those that maintained honor and the chain of commands instructions - like McCain - were deeply honored for it when they returned.
But if you had the sense of military honor and professionalism, and worked to meet expectations of command those pilots and aircrew did - I suspect the majority of Americans that had what it took to be in those military positions would have also rejected, painfully, a shot at freedom they believed wasn't theirs to take.

But the President will have to do the work of the President. I don't know how anyone is good enough to do it, but McCain offers what he has and so does Obama. I think they are both good men, competent men. They have very different backgrounds, but the question is, who will perform best in the next 4 years. That isn't easy to answer.

I think both are not the optimum picks their Parties could have made.

It's not a contest of who is the better person.

Nope, and like 2004 with the awful Bush and dishonorable Kerry, I was thinking if only we could burn the Constitution and get Bubba and his cigars back in the Oval Office. Or latch on to a tanned, rested, and ready Nixon who was checking out of Purgatory.

****************

Part of the US problem is the Old Wealthy Elite once prepared able leaders with grounding in the classics, sport, military service, extensive foreign travel, and jumping between jobs that required learning then showing adeptness in civilian jobs that required leadership, undertsanding of macro economic and global issues - then "service" as prosecutors, undersecretaries in Gov't agencies.

Now, we have silo'd. It is rare that the best students outside the South sign up for even a brief military hitch because the "distraction of national service" could mar their lifetime earnings potential. Demanding someone have "foreign policy experience" is a joke as well because the US system now wants those with such expertise and opportunity to gain further expertise as policy advisors to come from an insulated community of people with advanced degrees that are locked into that and nothing else from college onwards.
Only the military gives "generalists" like the old moneyed class access to doing foreign policy.

Other countries bounce their best and brightest around in a broad variety of jobs and ministery post to gain relevent overall perspective and the top performers get general policy leadership slots. Where their decisions are not made in utter ignorance of the economy or the military or "changing, more lenient societal values on punishing child-rapers".

Other countries have trained up lots of General Zinnis or George Schultzs. We have few..

Simon said...

1jpb - it may help your understanding if you first understand that changing one's mind is distinct from flip-flopping. Some of McCain's shifts have been flip-flops, i.e. changing your claimed position out of a sense of political expediency, but most - things like drilling - have reflected Keyne's aphorism that when the facts change, what can one do but change one's mind?

1jpb said...

5wheels,

If you don't care for my characterizations, you can use the right wing terminology to describe McCain's policies, e.g. being for freedom, not letting the terrorists win, not letting the Marxists win, not letting the Socialists win, not letting the Manchurian candidate win, etc.

The language doesn't matter.

McCain has a huge list of flip flops, as I itemized.

But, it's policy that really matters. McCain's current foriegn and domestic policies are very similar to those implemented by Bush. He's for the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and he's for more tax cuts aimed at the wealthy. His Iraq exit strategy is dictated by the Iraqis willingness (or not) to act. His health care plan taxes businesses and pushes people out of existing plans without crediting back enough to cover premiums. He promotes capitulation in trade deals rather than leveraging our consumer strength to push for standards that would give American workers a fair deal.

He did go against Bush with his flim-flam gas plan. Which proved that he wasn't kidding when he indicated that economics wasn't his main thing--even Bush (and all economists) knew that this plan wouldn't help.


Simon,

Did you even look at my link? McCain perfectly fits your description of flip flopper. It's amusing to read his old positions because he can be so strong in demonizing his opposition. Now he supports the positions that he had previously railed against. Hilarious.

P. Rich said...

Althouse, when you put McCain and Obama in the same sentence and call them both "good" men, you must be using some ridiculously broad, lawyerly, dipshit definition of "good". What you've done is insult McCain and run a coverup on Obama, all in the space of a few words. Congratulations.

Palladian said...

It's hilarious (or unspeakably dreadful? I'm not sure which) that anyone even dreams of calling Obama a "good man" in the same sense that McCain is a "good man". What evidence exists that Obama is a "good man" of the sort that did what McCain did during his military career? Opinions of McCain's political choices may vary, but if Obama's people are as smart as they are smug they'll quickly STFU about anything related to McCain's military career.

The Drill SGT said...

C4 said...A majority did. Though America did not discipline those that bailed without satisfying the honorable charge they had, especially low-ranking enlisted since most never got word of "most senior, out first" - those that maintained honor and the chain of commands instructions - like McCain - were deeply honored for it when they returned.

Sloppy language. I'm sure you mean FIFO, First In, First, Out.

not RHIP, most senior get out first, junior enlisted last.

Joe said...

The weirdest thing here is that Obama is attempting to define the qualifications for president in precisely the way he is most unqualified. Ironically, it's an entirely bullshit definition--if CEO-style experience is the highest qualification, Mitt Romney should be the overwhelming favorite of everyone.

1jpb said...

Palladian,

They are good men in different ways.

BHO wouldn't call his wife a trollop cunt. BHO wouldn't be accused of uncontrollable rage including physically assaulting a man, as recounted by a fellow R (it is true that BHO almost got into a fist fight with a fellow D on the Senate floor in IL, but almost is almost.) BHO has demonstrated a closer relationship to God, which is very meaningful to some of us.

There is no doubt that McCain has a total lock on the military hero claim, there is no comparison. And, I have never seen anyone (including Althouse) try to imply that such a comparison exists.

Cedarford said...

From the LA Times -

While attending the war college, McCain focused on fixing the knee injured when he was shot down in 1967 over North Vietnam. Through a friend, he met Diane Lawrence, a physical therapist, and told her that he needed to bend the knee 90 degrees to pass a flight physical. She said it was the worst knee injury she had ever seen.

"I told him, 'I know what your goal is, but can you stand the pain?' " Lawrence recalled. "He said, 'Yeah, honey, I can stand the pain.' "

So, hour after hour, McCain would lie on his stomach as Lawrence rested McCain's leg against her shoulder and bent the knee degree by degree.

Even when McCain could bend his knee a little more than 90 degrees, convincing doctors that he could fly was another challenge.

"I think he threatened every Navy doctor he met," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a McCain supporter who spent 25 years as a military attorney. "Every doctor told him, 'John, forget it. You won't fly again.' But he was going to get into a cockpit if it killed him."

Ultimately, he passed a flight physical at the Navy field in Pensacola. He went back to Lawrence's clinic in Virginia to deliver the news in person. "We both cried," she said.


Pretty good stuff. This history is of a very tough, steely, determined guy. Might even mean more than soaring oratory and Ivy League papers - what it takes to lead the US in some very bad coming years of domestic misery and uncertainty, and potent international dangers and globalist competition races we have been on the losing side of for a while..

**************
Drill SGT - Your critiques are on mark. I have not been able to verify more than one Bronze Star with "V", but the article that mentioned a Good Conduct Medal was actually in reference to the medals of the 'Nam war hero writing about McCains impressive service, awards and his occasional benefit from nepotism outside the POW years. Soon as you said it, I knew you were right. I never got a good conduct medal and double-checked by DD-214 awards section....I'd like to think I deserved one for never getting caught..

While FIFO is maybe more accurate for civilians who might confuse seniority in rank, or time in service with "seniormost" POW, the POW's common reference was to seniority as a function of time held.

Simon said...

1jbp,
Yes, and it was pretty silly and ill-supported. When you can't do better for source material than the leftosphere, you're out of ammunition. Many of them - drilling has already been mentioned - don't represent flip flops, they represent his changing his mind based on new facts. Others are based on misapprehension - the claims about his supposed flip flop on warrantless surveillance, for example. To be sure, there are some flip-flops, but not nearly to the extent claimed. Again: having one position then and having another one now is not a flip flop. King's strategy is essentially to unload such a huge number of allegations in one post that it would soak up a huge amount of time to respond to each point in turn, requiring any post attempting to refute it (and it is, for the most part, refutable) to invest hours and hours of time or run the risk of "yeah but" replies ("yeah but I also said..."). And for the vast majority of us - who have jobs, lives, families and avocations of our own to attend to - it just isn't worth the investment of time to demonstrate why King and the others pushing this meme are so comprehensively misguided.

William said...

I can see one very obvious advantage in having a decorated veteran as CIC: if the man giving the order to go in harm's way has himself faced combat, it makes the order more palatable for those that must follow it. That was certainly Kerry's argument. However, this might be a case of Democratic exceptionalism. For example Romney's Mormon faith is a problem for a Republican President but not for a Democratic Senate Majority Leader....For those that say too much can be made of military experience--Custer was a brave and experienced veteran of the Civil War--I would say that too much can be made of glamour and charisma. It was Custer's charisma rather than his experience that led to his defeat. It is very hard to have hubris without charisma.

blake said...

>>BHO wouldn't call his wife a trollop cunt.

Unsubstantiated rumors. But even so, all this might mean is BHO is afraid his wife.

>>BHO wouldn't be accused of uncontrollable rage

Sure he would be. Find the right partisan hack and you can find accusations of whatever you want.

But again, being "mild" is not the same as being "good".

>>BHO has demonstrated a closer relationship to God, which is very meaningful to some of us.

But since the God he has a "closer relationship" with damns Amerikkka, some of us don't think that's a strike for "good" either.

I don't think "character" is something BHO can win on.

I really don't want to vote for McCain. I don't agree with his policies, I think McCain-Feingold was treasonous, and I think he's stubborn enough to make W look wishy-washy (for better and worse).

My current plan is to leave President blank, since even the (L) slot leaves me cold this time. But it's possible the Obamabots will piss me off enough to vote (R) for the first time ever.

Spread Eagle said...

I'm not remebering McCain ever proffering up his former POW status as a qualification for anything, and I don't believe it is in his nature to do so. If anything it's just left to be something that everybody already knows about and will make of it what they will.

So to ask him how it qualifies him to be president assumes an untruth.

Thorley Winston said...

Yes, and it was pretty silly and ill-supported. When you can't do better for source material than the leftosphere, you're out of ammunition.

Agreed, normally I wouldn’t bother with anyone who was so utterly unserious that they would use TPM and by extension the Huffingtonpost (which is what TPM uses as the source for most of the “flip flops”) as their source material but after reading through about four or five of them, the “flip flops” seem to largely consist of “Senator McCain supported legislation on issue A in the 1990s but recently opposed legislation on issue A because the legislation was different than the one that he originally supported.”

1jpb said...

If you're so uninformed as to be wrong about:
-unsubstantiated rumor (multiple corroboration)
-partisan hack (a fellow R Senator)
-Wright (BHO never worshiped Wright or his incendiary youtube comments which BHO didn't witness in person.)

What's your explanation for McCain dumping his first wife because she lost her beauty in an accident (23 operations, and six months in the hospital), then marrying the beer heiress beauty 18 years his junior a month after his divorce?

You should just come out as a McCain voter, so what if it's your first R, you have to start somewhere. And, your process for deciding a president is precisely to sort of "rational deliberation" that McCain is counting on.

blake said...

If you're so uninformed as to be wrong about:

Au contraire, I'm obviously not uninformed, or I would've just gone "huh?" You shouldn't--but you inevitably will--confuse "informed" with "agreeing with me that all my sources are credible."

-unsubstantiated rumor (multiple corroboration)

I don't find the witnesses particularly credible; in any event, I don't care.

-partisan hack (a fellow R Senator)

You stated that nobody would accuse Obama of something. I say, you just have to find the right hack.

I wasn't referring to the charges against McCain. McCain has a temper; that's not necessarily a minus. Whether it's "uncontrollable" is known only to him.

-Wright (BHO never worshiped Wright or his incendiary youtube comments which BHO didn't witness in person.)

And that were on sale in the church lobby!

What's your explanation for McCain...

I have no explanations for McCain; I need no explanations for McCain. Unlike you, I'm not pimping for anyone.

You should just come out as a McCain voter

No, just because Obama's got supporters who are absurd to the point of irritation (irritating to an absurd degree?), that's not really a valid reason to vote for McCain. Not that your effort isn't admirable.

Kirk Parker said...

1jpb, that was no man, it was a Sandinista.

save_the_rustbelt said...

I know several men who were major league heroes in Viet Nam.

None of them would make a good president, and they would be the first to say so.

Relevant? Somewhat. Important? not really.

Thorley Winston said...

-unsubstantiated rumor (multiple corroboration)

What are the names of these supposed witnesses?

hdhouse said...

I don't see any comments about McCain being a two faced flip-flopper who simply goes where either the money or the votes are....

did he learn that in Hanoi?

Steven said...

So, John McCain assaulted a member of a murdering totalitarian regime. Hmm.

Bad judgment, I have to agree. The Sandinista apparently survived.

Schuft said...

Ann wrote...
I wrote not very relevant. It has some relevance. But surely we don't want the President to be whoever is most heroic in battle!

That's a straw man. No one's arguing that McCain's military service is sufficient to qualify him to be President. Any more than Obama's excellent grades at Harvard would be sufficient.

John Smith said...

Is there any proof that McCain was really offered (and refused) early release from the POW camp? It just seems out of character to me, especially given his willingness to read out the propaganda statements over the radio? All I've ever found on the early release claim cites his own book, and there are numerous factual errors in that.