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Dear Sen. McCain;

Senator, the Dog is writing to you today to express his sympathy to you on your recent loss. What’s that? You don’t know what the Dog is talking about? Well it is simple Senator, the Dog is commiserating about the loss of your honor.

There can be no doubt that you lived the early part of your life by a strict code, in fact it was the US Naval Academy’s Honor Code.Sure you are no longer a Cadet, but this Code was created with the intent of imprinting the tools of honor on a young man for a life time. In case you have forgotten it Senator, let the Dog take a moment to refresh your memory;
A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate those who do.

It all seems so straight forward to the Dog; but not being a Canine American, it might seem different to you. Still if we look at the arch of your life story it seems that you did understand it and its importance once upon a time. You served your country as a fighter pilot, when you were shot down; you used the Code of Conduct to keep faith with your fellow POW’s and the first in first out policy. These are honorable acts Senator, and no one should say any different. It is understandable why you are proud of them, even leaving aside the fact that they have helped your political ambitions.

It is later that it seems to have slipped your mind that to maintain honor, you have to continue to act in an honorable way. This quickly became a problem for you. Let’s take the second prescription first, shall we? The Honor Code says the following about cheating:

CHEATING: A violation of cheating would occur if a Cadet fraudulently acted out of self-interest or assisted another to do so with the intent to gain or to give an unfair advantage. Cheating includes such acts as plagiarism (presenting someone else's ideas, words, data, or work as one's own without documentation), misrepresentation (failing to document the assistance of another in the preparation, revision, or proofreading of an assignment), and using unauthorized notes.

Now Sen. McCain, we all know that you broke faith with your first wife (though you continue to avoid talking about it in an open and frank manner) by starting a relationship with Cindy. If you look at that first sentence, it is clear that you acted out of self interest with the intent to gain something that would not be fairly yours. The Dog is not an idealist; he knows and recognizes that matters of sex and the heart are going to test the honor of anyone. So, let is set this example aside, after all, how we learn from our failures can be honorable, even if the failure does stain that honor.

It makes it hard, however, to understand how you can square your actions with public financing in the primary though. It is clear from the rules that you should have stayed in the public financing system (if honor is important to you) yet you acted in a way that can only be considered a gaming of the system. To opt in, and then use that money to secure a loan, and opt out would be a clear violation of the cheating section of the Honor Code. Ask yourself what you would do with a Cadet that acted the way you have, and you will see this to be true.

Now let’s look at the lying part of the Code. It has a special place as the first and perhaps most important part of this way of honor. Here is what the Code has to say about lying:

LYING: Cadets violate the Honor Code by lying if they deliberately deceive another by stating an untruth or by any direct form of communication to include the telling of a partial truth and the vague or ambiguous use of information or language with the intent to deceive or mislead.

This is pretty damning Senator; there is very little room to wiggle in the definition of lying and its corollaries. The Dog knows (since he has seen you do it) that in your stump speech you say that in 24 years in the Congress you have never asked for an ear mark. But we know that is not true, don’t we Senator? In 2003 (check) you inserted 14.3 million dollars that were not asked for by the military or the President to expand the "buffer" zone around Luke AFB. In 2006 you inserted 10 million dollars into the budget for a William Rehnquist academic center at the University of Arizona. What else could we call these but earmarks?

Senator that is a lie and it is against the Code you are saying you live your life by, sir. But it is worse than that. You have lied in your campaign ads, saying that Sen. Obama would raise taxes on middle class voters. A simple trip to his website would show this not to be the case, but there it is in a commercial that ends with your approval. It has been pointed out innumerable times that Gov. Palin did not sell the State Jet on E-Bay (yes, she did post it there, three times, but that is not what you say) nor is it true that she killed the Bridge to Nowhere. Again if a Cadet acted this way in your presence, what would you think?  

The Dog is pretty sure that you have not stolen, at least by what the Code has to say about it, so good on you Senator! But it is in the tolerate section that you actually fail the most spectacularly. The lobbyists (okay, currently not working lobbyists) that make up the upper level of your campaign all violate this Code on a regular basis, and you are tolerating them. To see what they do in your name and not act to stop them or the other Republicans that would say anything to stay in power is a clear case of toleration. If you don’t believe the Dog, here is what the Code says on that;

TOLERATION: Cadets violate the Honor Code by tolerating if they fail to report an unresolved incident with honor implications to proper authority within a reasonable length of time. "Proper authority" includes the Commandant, the Assistant Commandant, the Director of Military Training, the Athletic Director, a tactical officer, teacher or coach. A "reasonable length of time" is the time it takes to confront the Cadet candidate suspected of the honor violation and decide whether the incident was a misunderstanding or a possible violation of the Honor Code. A reasonable length of time is usually considered not to exceed 24 hours

Senator, this is so sad, because you did used to be a man that one could honor. There is no doubt that you had your failures, such as being part of the Keating Five, but previously you acted as though the honor you had been given was worth redeeming by actions. In McCain –Feingold you made strong strides towards cutting the role of big money down (if not out) of national politics. In 2000 you were available to the press 24/7 (nearly) and it was amazing to see someone that was willing to be open and candid about their views.

Yet somehow the loss in the primary changed you, sir. From your position on the Bush tax cuts to your belief in electoral reform, you have given up the honorable actions of that time for the chance to become President. The Dog is sure, so very sure, that you have reasons that you tell yourself as to why this was necessary and good (perhaps because of the crises in our country) and that you will make it up when and if you become our 44th President.

This is what makes the sale of your personal honor require some expression of sympathy. You have placed yourself in a box where the only chance you see of regaining any honor is to throw it all on a single bet to become president. If you win, you might find the strength to act in ways that might clean these stains from your honor (though you and the Dog know that once you start throwing honor away is infinitely harder to return to), but if you lose, then all of this is sunk cost. You will have thrown away the very thing that might have made you a good president, a true leader of our Republic; because it seemed to you that you could not achieve that goal with it.

Loss of honor is a sad thing, both for the one that loses it and those that witness this loss. Senator McCain, you truly have the Dog’s sympathy, as you have lost something beyond price for political power. There is very little in this world that could be sadder.

Note: For those that would read up on the Cadet Code of Honor, you can find it here.

Originally posted to Something the Dog Said on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 07:11 AM PDT.

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