Why is Anyone Still Listening to John McCain?

John McCain is all over the TV – again. This time he is trying to drum up a scandal over the  Benghazi tragedy, comparing it (absurdly) to Watergate and somehow finding that it’s all Susan Rice’s fault. And, of course, his pal Lindsey Graham (I wish he would change his last name) is backing him up.

You would think that by now the American media would have caught on to the fact that John McCain is always wrong.

Don’t they remember that he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate in his disastrous 2008 presidential campaign?

Don’t they remember how he wanted America to go to war with Russia over a tribal spat in Georgia?

Don’t they recall him singing , “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”?

And how about his persistent and eager advocacy for the Iraq misadventure? If it were up to him, American troops would still be in Iraq. Indeed, he once said he would keep them there for 50 – or even 100 – years!

Yet he keeps popping up on the TV talk shows, supposedly as some kind of expert on foreign affairs.

I wish I could say he is a “blast from the past,” but his past could, at best, be described as “checkered.”

The media labeled him a hero after his plane was shot down by the North Vietnamese. He was seriously injured, but that didn’t stop the Vietnamese from torturing him. He refused to betray his comrades in arms, and even refused an offer of early release, demanding that POW’s captured before him should be set free as well.

Of course, I commend him for that. Nobody has ever questioned John McCain’s bravery. It’s his competence I wonder about.

From what I’ve read, he wasn’t much of a pilot. During the early-to-mid 1960s, he crashed twice and once hit some power lines. According to one story, which could well be apocryphal, he decided to play a joke on the pilot lined up behind him on an aircraft carrier so he made flames flare form his plane’s engines.  The flames ignited other aircraft, killing 134 of his buddies. (The official account is different, however. He doesn’t get blamed for the aircraft carrier fire. In fact, that report describes him as a hero in the incident, saying he was injured while pulling another pilot from a burning plane. Both stories could possibly be true. As I said, nobody questions McCain’s bravery.)

At West Point, he was a terrible student. His grades were among the worst in his class, and his antics constantly got him in trouble with the brass.

After Vietnam,  McCain shrugged off his cancer-srticken wife (a former model) to marry the daughter of an Arizona beer baron who had been convicted in connection with illegal liquor distribution.  It was his father-in-law’s cash and powerful pals that launched McCain’s political career.

Among McCain’s not-so-public endeavors was his role as head of the National Endowment for Democracy, a right-wing organization set up under President Reagan to supplement the CIA’s clandestine activities abroad.

Finally, let’s not forget his involvement in the “Keating Five” scandal. McCain was one of five senators accused of improperly intervening on behalf of Charles H. Keating, Jr., chairman of Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which collapsed in 1989, at a cost of over $3 billion to the federal government. Some 23,000 Lincoln bondholders were defrauded and investors lost their life savings.

While the Senate ethics committee cleared him of “wrongdoing,” he was criticized for “poor judgment.”

Poor judgment. If I had to write John McCain’s biography, that would be my choice for a title.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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