Most folks that are McCain's age (72) know that they and any of their peers should not be running for President. It comes with the territory that even in their best days they have lost considerable vigor and some intellectual acuity that would be worrisome given the forthcoming responsibilities McCain seeks. At the same time we should focus even more closely on the entire man we have before us not just the senior citizen we hear rambling on the stump. (His Dad died at age 70 and Grandfather at age 61)
McCain's life story worries me. I remain surprised, that even by accident, so much of it remains obscured by his daily quips to the press.
When exactly did McCain become someone we can trust to be President? He was a terrible student (like Bush) at the Naval Academy, was incorrigible as a young man (like Bush), was unfaithful in his marriage multiple times and abandoned his loyal wife after she suffered an disfiguring accident, stabbed his boss at the Pentagon numerous times in the back as he opportunistically lobbied against his policies, was member of the notorious Keating five, has supported the War in Iraq from the beginning (like Bush), has welcomed lobbyists to become a majority of his campaign leadership and is now a notorious flip flopper without a cause.
When you look at that list you wonder how the race for President is neck in neck at this point? Clearly, McCain has not excited the religious right nor hard core conservatives to any extent. Republicans in general would rather, like Homer Simpson in his own campaign, be chanting "someone else".
His appeal must still be that of a "maverick" republican with a military background that can attract, in addition to hard core republicans, hawks of all kinds, independents, right leaning democrats and closeted racists in all economic groups nationally.
Much of his celebrity may still be tied to his horrible experiences as a Viet Nam POW. Even here I am now in doubt as to how to interpret this factor.
In the first place, can't we fully honor those sacrifices he made without handing him the Presidency because of them? Additionally, if we look carefully on the details of his suffering, we become aware that because of the torture he suffered the Vietnamese did break him and force him to spill a phony story. This fact is totally forgivable and understandable given the tools and pressure they used on him. He is still a hero for the battle he waged on for resisting an early ticket to freedom. But what of his recent votes in the Senate on the very matter of Americans officially torturing as policy?
I can't forgive the opportunism that he showed when he voted against curtailing the CIA's use of torture after getting so many maverick points in speaking against torture as one of the few that had suffered and buckled under it. This is a real measure of the man we have before us.
We, in the progressive movement, had better wake up to the real makeup of this nation and not be lulled with some romantic version of America. The Presidential race is almost tied given all that each of these men have achieved to date. McCain remains a threat. WHY?