Thursday, August 28, 2008

John McCain and Family Value

Recently, the UK Daily Mail published a story about John McCain's separation from his first wife (Open Bar gets the credit for finding this story and sending it to me). You can, and should, read the whole thing here.

For those who want the synopsis, here it is (with some of the info taken from here and here):
  • John McCain was married to swimsuit model Carol Shepp in 1965 (her first marriage ended in 1964 when she sued her first husband for infidelity).
  • In 1967, he was shot down over Hanoi, and endured five and a half years of torture at a Vietnamese POW camp.
  • In 1969, some two years into his captivity, Carol was in a serious car accident, leaving her unable to walk and severely disfigured.
  • McCain won his release in 1973, and came home to find his wife bore little resemblance to the woman he left: she was much shorter, because she had sections of her legs removed, and she had gained considerable weight.
  • In 1979, then 43 or 44, and still married to Carol, he met Cindy Hensley, who was 25, beautiful, and the heiress to a multi-million dollar beer distributorship.
  • Still married, McCain dated Cindy for six months, while pressing his wife to grant him a divorce. (side note: the Daily Mail article totally plagiarized this line: "Over the next six months he pursued her, flying around the country to see her. Then he began to push to end his marriage" - from a 2000 New York Times article, in which Nicholas Kristof wrote that: "Over the next six months, Mr. McCain pursued Miss Hensley aggressively, flying around the country to see her, and he began to push to end his marriage.")
  • In April of 1980 the divorce was finalized, and in May of 198o he married Cindy.
  • His children from the marriage to Carol did not attend the wedding, and would not reconcile with him for several years.

I understand that there are two sides to every story, and no doubt the McCain camp could explain this story in a manner that would assuage the discomfort it would cause in some of his supporters. But is that a reason to leave it unreported? Why have no major American news media outlets focused on this? Is it because they feel badly? Is it because he is not denying it? Was it too long ago?

And even if the mainstream media is not reporting it, surely they would report on the fact that others are reporting it. In other words, if and other 527's pressed this story, the media would report it, but take the high road and say that they were just covering the coverage, not the story itself (they cloaked themselves in that bogus excuse when John Kerry got swift-boated). So where are the left-leaning political action groups to bring this completely factual, entirely true story to light? What is going on here?

It is not an accident that McCain lost to George Bush in 2000 Republican primary in South Carolina. That contest was seen as a turning point in the race to unseat the Democrats, and Bush won, at least in part, because he took the gloves off and went after McCain with everything he could possibly find. Some of it true, some of it Rovian fantasy (like using push polling to suggest that McCain had an illegitmate black child). Of course none of us would tolerate the latter in our own candidate, even if it means you lose, but I am all for the former, especially if it means the other guy won't win.

So let's get to it, Democrats. As my co-authors have already observed this week, it is time to take the gloves off and start punching. John McCain is a man who wants to be president of the United States, but in his 40s (not in his 20s or even 30s) demonstrated a complete lack of a moral center. And the other side has the audacity to claim the mantle of the religious right, value voters, and moral superiority? Don't make me laugh.

"Family values" doesn't mean marrying the richest girl who says yes.


Open Bar said...

Love, LOVE the usage of "Value" instead of "values".

Well played, sir.

But I don't quite get the "value voters" thing later.

Weird. But fantastic post overall.

Open Bar said...

I meant that I loved the "Value" thing in the title.

Uh, look over there -- it's a shark!