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McCain’s Dark Side Makes Him Unfit To Lead America

Look below the surface and you will discover a different side to the man they call ‘McNasty’


By Mick Youther

Do you remember the John McCain who ran against George W. Bush in 2000? You know, the straight-talking maverick even Democrats liked. What ever happened to that guy?

Was a deal struck between John McCain and the Republican establishment before the 2004 election? Did they promise McCain that if he would stop criticizing Bush and start supporting the Bush agenda, he would be the Republican party’s nominee for president in 2008?

That theory began to look doubtful last summer, when McCain’s presidential campaign was about broke and trailing in the polls; but when the corporate media hailed McCain’s third place finish in the Iowa primaries as the greatest victory since Truman over Dewey, it became pretty clear: the fix was in.

Why else would McCain get off the “Straight-talk Express” to take a seat behind Bush on the “Brown- Nose Express”? No honorable person can support Bush and his policies without demeaning themselves and sacrificing their honor (ask Colin Powell). Did McCain succumb to what Thomas Jefferson described: “When a man has cast his longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct”?

With this in mind, I began to explore the life of McCain. I wanted to tell the story of a noble warrior who had forsaken his ideals and supported a man he detested because of his ambition to be president. But I found out much more.

McCain’s mother was an oil heiress. Both his father and grandfather were admirals in the Navy, and that was John McCain’s supposed destiny and his first ambition: to be an admiral.

After attending an expensive boarding school, where he earned the nicknames “Punk” and “McNasty,” McCain got into the Naval Academy on the strength of family connections. He was almost expelled twice for bad conduct, but his mommy came and fixed things for him the first time, and a classmate took the fall for him the next time. McCain graduated fifth from the bottom in a class of 899 cadets.

Up to this point, McCain’s history of preferential treatment and being bailed out by friends and family is reminiscent of our fearless leader, George W. Bush.

They both even became pilots, but this is where their paths diverge. Boy George jumped to the head of the line to get into the Texas Air National Guard, so he didn’t have to “shoot himself in the foot” to dodge Vietnam; and John McCain opted to fly in Vietnam because he needed combat missions—if he ever wanted to make admiral.

Unfortunately, McCain had already crashed two planes and caused an international incident by flying too low and cutting some power lines in southern Spain.

This would have been enough to ground most pilots, but not McCain. “McCain pulled strings to get ahead. After a game of tennis, McCain prevailed upon the undersecretary of the Navy that he was ready for Vietnam, despite his abysmal flight record. Sure enough, McCain was soon transferred to McCain Field, an air base in Meridian, Miss., named after his grandfather, to train for a post on the carrier USS Forrestal”—Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 10/16/08.

While on the Forrestal, McCain narrowly escaped an explosion and fire that started on the flight deck after he wet fired his engine for takeoff. (This is a “hot dog” practice whereby the engines of the plane are purposefully flooded with fuel so that when the pilot starts the plane, flames shoot from the engines

and generally frighten the pilot next in line for takeoff causing quite a pyrotechnic display.—Ed.)

As brave men fought and died to save the USS Forrestal, John McCain watched on closed-circuit television, and his own words reveal his feelings: “This distressed me considerably. I feared my ambitions were among the casualties in the calamity that had claimed the Forrestal” (McCain’s book, Faith of My Fathers).

McCain was transferred to the USS Oriskany and was shot down over North Vietnam on Oct. 26, 1967.

The rest of the story is familiar: McCain becomes a war hero by being a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five and a half years—during which he learns the true value of family and country. He returns home and confirms the importance of family by divorcing his wife and marrying a rich, mob-connected beer-heiress. He gives up on becoming an admiral. His wife buys him a house in Arizona, so he can enter politics. (He has seven houses now.) He is soon caught with his hand in the cookie jar in the Keating-Five Savings and Loan scandal, but he learns another valuable lesson: don’t get caught.

McCain gets off with a slap on the wrist, and has been a straight-talking maverick, fighting for the little guy ever since (or so he tells us).

In retrospect, it seems that McCain was an appealing candidate in the 2000 primary—only because he was running against Bush. By taking the opposite positions from Bush on practically everything, McCain made sense to many Americans—especially Democrats.

Compared to Bush, McCain sounded like straight talk. But now, McCain is running against Democrat Barack Obama. To do this, McCain has reversed himself on almost everything he said he believed when opposing Bush. This includes tax cuts for the rich, immigration reform, abortion, lobbying reform, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention of terrorist suspects, torture, closing the Guantanamo “non-combatant” POW camp, the new GI Bill, homosexual marriage, ethanol, the estate tax, coastal drilling, campaign finance, and whether his vice presidential pick would be based on qualifications or purely for political reasons. (For a more complete list, see

Yet McCain continues to make statements like:

“In all due respect to my colleagues, they’re drinking the Kool-Aid that somehow I have changed positions on the issues.” —AP, 8/22/08

“Always telling the truth in a political campaign is a great test of character.” —From his book

“I say, ‘OK, what specific area have I “changed”?’ Nobody can name it. . . . I am the same person and I have the same principles.”—On ABC’s The View, 9/12/08. (Check out John McCain’s 44 Flip-Flops at

So, if you intend to vote for John McCain, or are still undecided, you should read “Make-Believe Maverick” in Rolling Stone, 10/16/08.

“It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.”

John McCain’s reason for running: “I didn’t decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president.”

Mick Youther is a retired researcher from Southern Illinois University.

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(Issue # 43, October 27, 2008)

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