McCain’s POW Get Out of Jail Free Card
Boyd Garrett, a retired sailor and SERE school graduate has all the respect in the world for what John McCain went through at the Hanoi Hilton. But enough is enough. Noting Team McCain’s comical comeback to attacks on how many houses the candidate owns –“This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years — in prison,” Boyd writes:
But for crying out loud, “I was a POW” is not the answer to every damn accusation by your opponent. This is starting to get a little old.
McCain campaign? Shut the hell up with the “John was a POW” crap.
Senator? Tell them they’re idiots, and they need to shut the hell up. They haven’t got the foggiest idea of what it meant for you to be a POW, and they’re cheapening the ordeal you went through.
Four years ago, I wrote a post called “Heroes Don’t Shout” about another presidential candidate who was over-playing the Vietnam war hero card. It concluded,
I’m too young to remember the 1972 campaign but I’m reasonably confident that McGovern didn’t make a fuss over his wartime exploits. George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole didn’t, either. John McCain, who certainly earned the right, generally avoided it although he made far more references to it than I’d have liked. Kerry would have been far better off to let others mention his Vietnam service and to otherwise be stoic about it. It would have been more effective and less absurd. I laughed out loud when he rendered his sloppy hand salute and announced that he was “reporting for duty” at the Democratic convention. I suspect I wasn’t alone.
It’s simply unseemly to continually refer to your own heroism, let alone to use it as a Get Out of Jail Free card on issues totally unrelated. On top of that, it’s begging for Joe Biden (who, you may have heard, is Obama’s VP pick) to uncork a variant of “A noun, a verb, and 9/11.”
Via Andrew Sullivan, I see that some fellow calling himself Jetpack has a rather amusing post entitled, “Playing the POW Card – From the Bottom of the Deck” offering a series of mock McCain comebacks. My favorites:
- Milk prices are too high
“This is a guy who didn’t have the luxury of milk for five and a half years — in prison.”
- We’re not doing enough to find alternative sources of energy
“This is a guy who lived in the dark for five and a half years — in prison, with no light bulbs.”
McCain was my favorite of the Republican field well before the primaries started but I’ve said repeatedly that he’s making a mistake to keep hammering this topic. We already know he’s a war hero. His courage and character are a large part of why people take him so seriously as a leader. But they’re not going to elect him president based on what he did nearly four decades ago but on what he’s going to do over the next four years.
Run on the future, Senator, not the past.