Tuesday, February 5, 2008

McCain's Got a Walk-In Closet of Skeletons

John McCain and his wife in New Hampshire
(VictoryNH: Protect Out Primary Flickr)
It seems that John McCain is poised to win the Republican nomination, to the chagrin of many hard-line conservatives. With all of the media's talk about "electability," I figured maybe it was time to look at McCain's electability, because this is a man very similar to my Rudy Giuliani who, as it turned out, has endorsed McCain (birds of a feather fly together).

On the issues, McCain is not great. Some good things about him shine through, such as the waterboarding being torture assertion and his murky abortion rhetoric (which, from what I can gather, simply means it is up to the woman.)

However, other issues of his are startling, such as his assertion that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is working, keeping military options open in Iran even if they do not have nukes, his call for more death penalty sentences and tougher criminal sentences in general, and his general hawkishness. The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is moronic and illogical. Iran does not have nukes nor will it be capable of having nukes anytime soon, but military intervention is an option McCain wants to keep open? All because he thinks that talk is over-rated. Tougher criminal sentences? We already imprison a record number of people in this country, the last thing we (and the budget) need is more people in prison.

Of course, McCain speaks about all of these things, but his actions throughout his life speak to very different values. John McCain was a war hero. Even though he seems to have received preferential treatment in the Navy because his grandfather and father were both admirals, what he went through in Vietnam as a Prisoner of War sounds horrific and I'm not even going to touch it. However, other things that he did in the Navy show that he is not the clean-cut Republican he claims to be.

John McCain at a 1974 interview (Wikipedia)
His sexual exploits seem to be in high numbers. In John McCain: An American Odyssey, Robert Timberg lays out some scenarios which the future senator found himself in on some trips during his time in the Navy, one of which is laid out here. Of course, this would not be a big deal if he were not so pro-abstinence when he is in the view of the public. But I guess McCain does not feel the need to follow his own advice. Especially when hiring staff members for his presidential campaign.

The same would be apparent when it comes to adultery. A Christian man like McCain likes to spout family values. He does not like to practice them, however. This can be clearly evidenced by taking a glance at his divorce from his first wife Carol Shepp. Upon returning from Vietnam, McCain came home to find his wife recovering from a horrific car accident. Both John and Carol have said that they were both different people when McCain returned from Vietnam and that is the reason they broke up.

However, they did not divorce until McCain had a pitcher in the bullpen in the form of Cindy Hensley, the daughter of a wealthy Anheuser-Busch distributor and well-connected Arizona man, James Henley. The two began an affair about a year before McCain decided to divorce from Carol. Less than a month after the divorce was finalized he married Cindy, who was 17 years younger than him. Not a nice story.

It ended up OK for McCain, who was able to launch a political career in newly expanding Arizona (with some financial help from the Mrs.) His new wife turned to philanthropy, trying her hand out at a charity organization called American Voluntary Medical Team, a group that volunteered time to do medical work in third world countries. A noble thing to do.

But then Cindy McCain began to steal drugs from the organization to feed an addiction to painkillers. Employees began to notice her erratic behavior and figured out what was going on. One man, Tom Gosinski, deduced that his name was being used to file false prescriptions (ordered by doctors from AVMT) to feed Cindy McCain's habit, at which point he tipped off the DEA. He was subsequently fired and filed suit 11 months later, claiming he was only fired because he knew about Cindy McCain's addiction.

The story broke around the same time that McCain was running for president in 2000 (the year he lost the nomination to Bush). In order to maintain a chance in the polls, McCain and company were able to play it very well, according to Amy Silverman at Salon. McCain had a lawyer call up the Maricopa County attorney (a McCain friend) and have him investigate Gosinksi for extortion, due to his lawsuit. The only issue with that is the fact that it defies logic: if Gosinski were suing for hush money, he wouldn't tell the DEA before he filed suit

Needless to say, no criminal charges were ever filed against Gosinski. The day that the DEA report was to be made public about Cindy McCain, she went on national television and tearfully explained her ordeal, diverting attention from the glaring facts of the case. Cindy McCain received no criminal record for her admitted behavior, but instead entered a treatment facility (which has since been contested) and saw no jail time. To McCain's credit, he spouts his love for this type of treatment of addicts, which is better than straight jail time. However, the drugs were not the only crime committed by Cindy McCain, but I guess the judge saw no problem with Mrs. McCain's theft from a charitable organization or filling false prescriptions (under false names.)

Charles Keating of the Keating Five
(Arizona Capital Times)
As if all of this was not enough, McCain has proven himself to be a crooked politician. He was part of the infamous Keating Five, who, amidst the savings and loans scandal of the late 80s, tried to get one of the most crooked S&Ler's off the hook. The whole story is long and complicated, and I will not reproduce it here. Suffice it to say that McCain got off easy with a "poor judgement" ruling by the Senate Ethics Committee and he has been accused of leaking sensitive information to the press to discredit his co-defendants to make himself look better (which has been partially confirmed by the Boston Globe). Definitely read that link, though, because it will make McCain's rhetoric about money corrupting politics make him look ridiculous. That's real easy to say when you're an incumbent who no longer needs the money from crooks to get into office.

In conclusion, McCain should not be in office. If he has done things like he did with Charles Keating as a freshman senator, imagine what he would be able to do as president of this country. Was it a mistake? Of course it was, but admitting a mistake does not make it go away nor does it make what happened OK. The fact that McCain got to remain a senator after that debacle is amazing and he should be content with that.


  1. I love that title.

    If the list is not enough, he has well established connections to George Soros. http://michellemalkin.com/2008/01/25/meet-the-open-borders-family-mccain-hernandez-soros-and-the-reform-institute/

  2. ITA, the title is hilarious.

    However, there's no reason to expose McCain as the criminal he is because Sarah the Barracuda is doing enough damage to lose the election FOR him.

  3. Given Palin's recent exchanges with the media, I think McCain may be second-guessing himself on picking her as his running mate.