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Johnny We Hardly Know Ye: Part II

John McCain’s political career in Arizona was launched and nurtured by a bogus former Air Force pilot.

Duke Tully was the publisher of the Arizona Republic in the early 1980s, a newspaper that then totally dominated the state. Tully helped McCain in his first bid for Congress and groomed him for higher office.  

Unfortunately, Tully was a bigger phony even than McCain. When he was a classified ad manager in Ohio, Duke had begun his fantasy military career as a second lieutenant. Selling a lot of classified ads and advancing through the ranks in the newspaper world, he promoted himself in his imaginary Air Force career as well. He reached the rank of colonel to complement his role of publisher.

Here is a story from the Republic that explains their early friendship:

Upon meeting McCain, Tully regaled him with stories of his own military service as an Air Force pilot in Korea and Vietnam. The two men quickly hit it off and soon were spending a lot of time together. Cindy McCain and Tully's second wife, Pat, also got along well. Both were far younger than their husbands.

Tully had logged many hours in Air Force simulators learning how to fly F-16s. He bragged about a simulated dogfight he had with McCain on the Goldwater gunnery range in southwest Arizona.

"Duke said he had gotten John in his sights and shot him down," recalls Bill Shover, a former Phoenix Newspapers Inc. executive. "John couldn't maneuver very well because of his (formerly) broken arm." ...

Shover characterized Tully as McCain's PR man, hosting dinners to introduce him to the Valley's movers and shakers. McCain wrote guest columns for The Republic. In one of them, McCain gave a sentimental account of Christmas in Hanoi. Tully became godfather to one of McCain's children.

Although it was clear McCain had the ability, ambition and wherewithal to reach Congress on his own, Tully helped open doors. In the pages of The Republic and The Phoenix Gazette, McCain was a star.

Tully positioned McCain to take Barry Goldwater’s seat in the U.S. Senate, driving out his potential Republican rivals and viciously persecuring the Democratic candidate through the columns of the Republic.  

I had the privilege of interacting with the legandary Duke personally. At the height of his power, he was a character witness for one of my opponents in a litigation in Phoenix.

From the Republic:

In late 1985, the pressure of living the lie was building up inside Tully, causing him to drink and alienate his wife, Pat. After she filed for divorce, Tully, in his own words, "was beginning to crack up."

He began to drop not-so-subtle hints to people that he had never served in the military. Then, on Oct. 25, a concerned secretary summoned Shover to Tully's office.

The Republic account continues:

Shover found Tully stepping on his plaques and certificates and throwing them into a trash can.

Determined to protect his boss, Shover told him to quietly get rid of his uniforms and to stop telling his fake war stories.

Tully refused to be quiet about it.

"It's almost like he was trying to get caught," Shover said.

Eventually, word leaked to Tully's enemies, one of whom was Maricopa County Attorney Tom Collins, who had been smacked by The Republic for taking a trip with his family at taxpayer expense.

Collins, along with freelance aviation writer Dick Rose, began to investigate Tully's background. The day after Christmas, Tully told Shover that Collins would have a press conference to expose him.

McCain, a Navy pilot, should have known Tully was a fraud, but he was totally fooled, as the Republic account indicates:  

One of the early press calls was to McCain.

"His response was kind of like, 'Yeah, I have heard of Duke Tully. I'm sorry about what happened to him. Any other questions?'" Shover said.

Shover called McCain a political opportunist who moved quickly to distance himself from Tully.

"In other words, he walked," Shover said. "He used Duke Tully to gain what he got in his life, and he left him just when Duke needed him most."

McCain has a different take.

Part of him resented Tully's deception, but mostly McCain says he felt bad for him. And he criticizes The Republic's own coverage of Tully's "downfall" as excessive and "a little gleeful."

"In one of its numerous takes on the subject, The Republic ran a story that puzzled over my inability to spot Duke's deception, given our close relationship," McCain wrote in his 2002 book. "'Tully's lies rang true to combat flier McCain' ran the headline. Well, they also rang true to the reporters and editors of The Republic, people whose job it is to distinguish truth from falsehood." ...

"I think of him often, and not just of his unfortunate last days in Arizona," McCain wrote. "He was good company, and I miss him."

Stripped of his fantasy military rank, Tully moved down through the ranks in the newspaper world. In California, serving as publisher at a small newspaper, he faced real combat for the first time, and a neighbor’s cat did not come out on top in the shootout. Tully slipped further, eventually helping another wife with a retirement community newsletter in Florida.

This true-life episode explains another fundamental part of McCain’s philosophy: There is no difference between the truth and a lie if you tell the lie well enough. Also, people are only valuable as long as they feed your own narcissism. Finally, McCain, a complete phony himself, has no ability to judge people. As president, he would have to fill the jobs such as Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Justices of the Supreme Court. (We have already seen his vice presidential pick.)

(This three-part biography of McCain begins after his well-known war service, which we thank him for. The first chapter dealt with the connection between his fortune and a famous unsolved murder in Arizona. It will conclude with McCain’s whoring for lobbyists, both during the Keating Five scandal and up to the present day.)

Originally posted to EricAZ on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 07:04 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Part of why this happens,often (7+ / 0-)

    is the worship and fetishization of the military experience,especially the combat experience. From ancient warriors in Sumer and Babylonia and Greece that had their exploits taken up to mythic status in song and celebrations until now when not even 1% of the population is genuine military there is  great need for resume padding, for the desire to stand out somehow, even if it is totally unearned.

     Someone expert in inventing and embellishing  a story, even a trivial unexceptional story into something grand and heroic would be very useful to a John McCain attempting to succeed in another line of work.

     This has more relevance than just his inflated military "heroic" carreer. It was employed in the same manner to exaggerate and inflate his actual political contributions even to the point where his lobbying devotion is recast as "ethics reform" and his steady work for fossil fuel companies and their defense against all others makes hima "champion of environmentalism".  The ultimate greenwashed ,bribed in sa hundred ways celebrity candidate, John McCain.

    Only the part he was in the Navy and a flier is basically true. All else is now part of a long time deliberately concocted legend.

    He is a survivor, not a hero. He was an "American Idol" years before there was a production company and writers creating it on television.

    Very important to show the stagecraft and actors and theatre behind the suit that McCain wears and has worn alll his adult life. There are several legends here, the military one, the role of maverick, the role of a environmental champion.  All concocted and wildy off the mark when examined closely.

    To strive,to seek,to find, and not to yield. 1843 high school motto, Rhode Island.

    by Pete Rock on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 07:54:41 AM PDT

    •  McCain is a fraud (6+ / 0-)

      In his own words he is a collaborator.

      Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship's name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant." Page 193-194, Faith of My Fathers

      In the time between Oct 1967 and Jan 1970 he gave more than 20 interviews that we know about. Interviews to foreign press, Vietnamese military and Russians. In every single one he broke the Code of Conduct.

      John McCain's highest calling has been protecting and promoting himself

      •  The same phoney promotion was added to JSM (7+ / 0-)

        McCain's maverickiness comes from the same source, the manufactured hero legend, the Greatest POW ever,the Only Superduper hero who can swagger his own way, piss everybody off and still get reelected year after year as a cowboy hotshot from Arizona.

        Fact #1 He is a survivor, not a hero.  He survived a missile hit on his jet.

        Fact #2 He didn't do any serious air to air duelling combat, didn't save anybody, did not do anything particularily heroic above and beyond what others were tasked with. The unusual part of his flight resume is he lost 4 planes in crashes and one as shoot down fromenemy action. Most pilots are gtounded after losing a couple of planes for safety and psychological reasons. Pilots lose their nerve or their own confidence in flying safely after these incidents..

        Fact #3 did nothing  special in his time in POW camp except to beg for better treatment and make recanting his war mission tapes and videos for his captors.

        Where is the proof? He sealed all the evidence and documents and copies the Navy had when it investigated. He claimed he only did it(renounce his fighting for America) in "words" so it didn't count. Navy has a timeline list of some 17 pages out of 690 plus they have .That is all he allows out. Why? Isn't he proud of his own service?

        There were hundreds of other POW's didn't do it or gave nothing up of any significance.

        His hero stuff is SELF MANUFACTURED. If he didn't keep on mentioning it all the time, nobody else would bother.

        The head of a POW repatriation committee liason with Vietnam to recover and rescue POW/MIA's says McCain got 28 medals and ribbons. For flying 20 hours,total before being shot down.  WTF???? Pure PR and stroking.

        His mission?  To bomb a small country that had NOT DECLARED WAR OR ATTACKED AMERICA. That is why the War in Vietnam was such trouble and hated as a cause in America. It dishonored us and disgraced us. McCain wanted to do the missions to get promotions to stay in the service as a career. He didn't care where his bombs went or that peasants and civilians got killed that did America no harm. From miles away missiles and bombs.

        "Maverick" is utter bullcrap and fakeiness to prettify a thug and a remorseless killer that got stopped. That is the "hero" the Republicans scraped from the bottom of their barrel to stick  us with as President. Worse than Bush if you can believe it.

        He spends most of his time talking about events of 35 to 40 years ago. What has he done in the last 26 in the Senate and House? Where has he led the Republican Party?  Big Zero on both counts, the true Maverick is a failure now as he was back in the POW camp and as a warrior.  How sad. How unfit for anything except retirement is he right now.

        To strive,to seek,to find, and not to yield. 1843 high school motto, Rhode Island.

        by Pete Rock on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 09:54:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  McCain would make disastrous decisions (9+ / 0-)

    McCain’s friendship with Tully is easy to understand. They are both self-aggrandizing, lying egotists, who don’t care about the truth or other people as long as they are in the center of attention and weld the power.  If McCain can’t see beyond himself, what kind of appointments would he make if he were elected?  Imagine him in the oval office – all the disastrous decisions he would make!

  •  it really is hard to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Coherent Viewpoint, Virginia mom

    understand  how an aviator didn't pick up on this guy's b.s....unless he was so interested in his future he just didn't pay attention.

    My middle name is Hussein!

    by regis on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 08:50:07 PM PDT

  •  In the insert from the Republic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Did that Christmas in Hannoi story described by this guy Shover include the cross on the sand?

  •  McCain is an opportunist and he has skills (0+ / 0-)

    as we can see but the TM chooses to ignore.

    thanks for the diary and glad it was rescued!

    The Truth is nonpartisan!

    by fedupcitizen on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 01:05:04 AM PDT

  •  Why is it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when I think of Arizona statesmen, the only real one I can think of is Goldwater? There's a politician "reality" problem there that goes beyond this entertaining anecdote. Maybe it's just because the state has voted consistently Republican for so many decades that there hasn't been enough partisan combat to ground résumé inflation, but the Arizona flavor seems pretty egregious. Beyond Tully and McCain, McCain's one-time opponent, Evan Mecham, comes to mind. That's three of a perfect pair of phonies right there.

  •  Poor judgement shown once again McCain. (0+ / 0-)

    You do not have the "instinct" to be our leader.  You have been helped and sent through the ranks all along.  What have you actually done for YOURSELF?  Become a POW?  That doesn't make me feel any better.

  •  Thanks for calling the series to our (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    attention.  I've diaried it from my own quirky perspective.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:42:01 AM PDT

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