Okay, McCain is a war hero; and your point is … ?

John McCain’s acceptance speech was nearing a surprisingly effective (for him) conclusion when he said, “I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.”

Good line. It, like a few others, came as he described his imprisonment in North Vietnam. Frankly, I didn’t think there was any way he could tell that story in a way that didn’t sound maudlin, boastful, or self-serving. I was surprised, impressed, and moved.

McCain’s public speaking has always been awkward and contrived to the point of making me uncomfortable. I squirm. I almost feel sorry for him. Tonight was the best delivery I’ve seen from him, which made it better than I expected, but still not very good. I doubt he wrote the speech himself, but few political speakers can afford to write their own stuff. Pity the unheralded speechwriters. It must be painful to write a good speech and have to watch McCain deliver it.

Anyway, after years of knowing about it, months of being reminded of it, and three days of hearing it recited in detail and splashed on a giant screen, I feel confident enough to say, yes, John McCain is a war hero.

That said, what really annoyed me about the GOP’s adulation for the war hero and his Republican supporters was the inescapable implication that there are no Democratic war heroes. At one point last night, the family of a soldier killed in Iraq was introduced and cheered as though such a thing were unique. It seemed so unfair to single out that one family when others have given just as much. Democrats have died, too. And Independents. And plenty of kids too young to know the difference.

The Republicans don’t have a corner on war heroes in this country, or on “Country First” and patriotism. It’s tasteless and offensive for them to keep acting like they do.

7 comments

  1. It’s funny how being a war hero and patriot didn’t help John Kerry 4 years ago…
    _________
    That should have been a lesson to everyone that it takes more than a medal to get elected. On the other hand, Americans have been campaigning and voting for war heroes for more than 200 years …

  2. If anything, I am inclined to vote AGAINST someone who harps on patriotism and military service. It strikes me as nationalistic, and the us-them mentality does not mesh with my view of the world and America’s role in it.

    It’s also passe, but I think one has to be evolved beyond chest-thumping “we’re numbah ONE” redneckism to see that.
    _________
    All those old white guys still think it’s about being the toughest guy in the schoolyard. You’d think they’d outgrow it eventually.

  3. Actually, writing a speech for McCain should be a piece of cake. His life story is remarkable; McCain’s speech writers can really draw from it. Speech writers for Obama, for example, have to come up with original materials. Obviously, the “change” slogan is the best one. I’m sure Obama’s speech writers get paid more than McCain’s.
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    Writing a speech for him is easy; expecting him to deliver it well is a fantasy.

    Content is another issue. And issues are the issue now. The election is looming (finally!), and both candidates need to start talking issues and solutions, not biographies.

  4. i agree.

    My grandfathers, father and step father, and two uncles all served in the Air Force or Army. Though i respect the service of John McCain, and all those who serve in the military, i don’t want him to be president. (i mean aside from the fact that he does not reflect my values in any way, but your post is about his speech and his repeatedly mentioned years of imprisonment.)

    i’ve got to say, still, that the fact that McCain was a P.O.W., has referred to his captors as a racial slur, adding “What else am I supposed to call them?” and is determined to fight this war in Iraq for maybe a hundred years more while planning more wars with Iran and Russia, scares the crap out of me. He seems to have an ax to grind with the world.

    And as far as the “change slogan” is concerned, it seems to’ve become the new, ganked, slogan of the Republican party. How does a Republican change into a Republican?
    ___________
    Lol. Love that last observation. Not to mention that “Change” has been Obama’s chant from Day One. So how the hell do Republicans think it’s going to work for them at this point?

    Yep, now that you mention it, the majority of Americans probably have vets in their lineage. -My dad was an Army doctor during WWII. My older brother was an Air Force pilot flying B-47 bombers for SAC during the Cold War in the ’50s. (And I’m getting all puffed up with pride just thinking about it.)

  5. Speaking of Kerry, on The Daily Show last night the other night they had one of their people talking about that guy named John who just got the nomination. Winner of the Purple Heart, decorated war hero, great patriot, etc. There were some fun moments watching them bicker over whether they were talking about McCain or Kerry. 🙂

    That said, to me much of what McCain does these days boils down to “noun, verb, Hanoi Hilton”, to paraphrase Joe “Joey the Shark” Biden.
    ___________
    How much do I love Jon Stewart? Let me count the ways … 🙂

    Ah, yes, Joey da Shark. I can’t wait to see what happens when a shark meets a barracuda. Bets, anyone?

  6. Hey 30 –
    LOL – I guess we’re not going to find much agreement here. While McCain is not my first choice by any means, I think he’s a decent guy and yeah, I’ll admit his military experience does hold some sway with me. Whether we like it or, we are in a war – someone who has some understanding of that, particularly from the view of a soldier, can’t hurt.

    As to the pubbies playing up the war hero/military/patriotism angle – that’s pretty standard fare in politics – you always play to what you think are your strengths, don’t you? I mean, it seems to me that Obama is playing to the opposite as his strength, so what’s the problem?

    Frankly, in my opinion, none of us have really great choices this time – so we make the best of what we have, yes?

    Annie
    ___________
    I know, I just seem to have my claws out this week. Sorry ’bout that. It’s not very becoming, is it.

    In truth, I’m a pretty reasonable (I think) somewhere-in-the-middle type person, with views on both sides of the political fence. It depends more on which specific issue is being discussed, and I haven’t heard a lot of issues (or, more to the point, solutions) being discussed yet on either side. They’d better get busy, because they’re running out of time.

  7. Had Obama had a white face, he’d win with a landslide… The IQ difference is day and night. A dog barks loud is still a dog, period. But a white dog against a black one makes all the difference.
    ____________
    So much for a post-racial America, eh?

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