After more than ten years of blogging, I feel fortunate that I don’t have more than a couple of posts that I regret. And I don’t regret this piece on John McCain even though I felt ambivalent about even when I was writing it. It was a downright savage piece, but he deserved it and the bottom line is that it was just the unvarnished truth. John McCain was a terrible student at the Naval Academy who should have been kicked out. He was an awful pilot who should have been grounded. He was a prisoner of war, but not one of any kind of special distinction. He got captured and made a political career out of it.
I don’t agree with Donald Trump when he disrespects prisoners of war. I don’t think John McCain’s suffering in captivity should ever be diminished. The country had a debt to John McCain when he came back.
But that doesn’t make him a hero. It doesn’t make him a good cadet, a good pilot, or a man who had distinguished himself above and beyond his peers. I would suggest that exactly no one emulate John McCain’s choices in life, because he’s a horrible example and role model for students, naval officers, pilots, ethical politicians, husbands, and for people who might want to pick a vice-presidential running mate someday. He’s also a warmonger.
So, Trump basically told the truth about McCain, but he did it in a stupid way that wrongfully disrespected a bunch of people who didn’t deserve his contempt. McCain really did finish almost at the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy, and he really did turn getting captured into some kind of heroic act.
These days, we call people who get shot for no reason “heroes” in this country. The word has become so cheap, you can probably buy it for a nickel.
If you wouldn’t want a guy flying in your squadron because he’s incompetent, then that guy isn’t a hero.
Now, we’ll see if Ed Kilgore is right that these comments will hurt Trump. I doubt it.
This modern GOP ain’t your grandma’s Oldsmobile.