With John McCain’s Passing…

The WSJ had a good op-ed and another article on the effect he had in the Senate. I always thought how many could have endured what he endured in Hanoi for 7 years? Somebody today in the F/B group posted a wonderful story on him during his Presidential run and a “television journalist” who tried playing the game of “gotcha“.

You know, ask some absurd question so you can ridicule the the hapless interviewee on his lack of preparation. Who’s the President of Absurdistan? Don’t know? How are you qualified for the office?

I didn’t always agree with his votes while Senator, but I never questioned his honor or character. 

“McCain’s calling card was honor and character. When he was fished out of that lake in downtown Hanoi, the North Vietnamese first withheld treatment until they discovered his father was an admiral and commander of naval forces in Europe. The late, great Admiral James Stockdale, who was tortured in that prison, said McCain “received an offer that, as far as I know, was made to no other American prisoner: immediate release, no strings attached.”

The young pilot told the Vietnamese what they could do with their special treatment, effectively sentencing himself to four more years of beatings. This reflected his profound sense of duty. In the Hanoi Hilton he and his fellow POWs resisted the enemy despite torture and returned with honor.”

While at Annapolis, he was not a model midshipman.

“John McCain was not a model midshipman. While at the Naval Academy, he earned so many demerits for unsanctioned outings that by graduation he was made to march the equivalent of 17 round trips between Annapolis and the fleshpots of Baltimore. He later regretted finishing fifth from the bottom of his class instead of dead last. As his mother—still alive at 106—often said, “He was really a scamp.” McCain preferred “maverick.” “

He had a pretty good sense of humor.

“When turbulence frightened the local politicians aboard a flight across the Midwest, McCain put them at ease with one line delivered cool as ice: “You are safe. I know that I won’t die in a plane crash—I already tried that three times.” He was referring to his naval career, which involved two crashes before he was famously shot down over North Vietnam.”

Of course he had political enemies at home, but I was surprised to learn overseas.

“In addition to rankling his critics in Congress, McCain’s indomitable attitude occasionally earned him enemies overseas. In 2001 when George W. Bush said he had looked in Vladimir Putin’s eyes and seen his soul, McCain retorted that he had also looked into Mr. Putin’s eyes but had seen just three letters: “K-G-B.” The Russians soon thereafter started targeting him with online lies. To this day, emails circulate purporting to come from unnamed “fellow POWs,” “squadron mates” and “authoritative sources,” accusing McCain of being a coward, a squeal, a lousy pilot and worse.”

He was a friend to those in uniform and the military.

“In his last decade McCain continued to advocate for a stronger military and continuing U.S. leadership against the advancing authoritarians in Russia, China and the Middle East. But his vote against reforming ObamaCare and Medicaid contradicted his support for the military. Without reforms, entitlements will grow and inevitably squeeze military spending to European levels.

Most important to McCain’s view of politics was his devout patriotism and unaltering faith in American exceptionalism. Hailing to the service of his grandfather and father, and his own in Vietnam, McCain believed in the rightness of American purposes around the world. This belief caused him in his final years to resist the drift in his own party toward isolationism. This was the principled root of his differences with Donald Trump.

When McCain received his brain-cancer diagnosis, his daughter called him a “warrior at dusk.” It is an apt description. While the searing experience of Vietnam led so many to lose their faith in America’s goodness, for John McCain it was the opposite. “I fell in love with my country,” he said, “when I was a prisoner in someone else’s.” ” 

He was a good man…

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