Almost all of McCain’s political reputation is based on the noblest thing he’s ever done in his life: refuse an out-of-sequence release from the Hanoi Hilton, despite enduring savage beatings from his captors. No one will ever be able to take that away from him, although you can read both the pros and cons of McCain’s actions during his captivity here. But like all torture victims, he eventually broke and signed a forced “confession,” as he recounted to Mike Wallace during a 1997 60 Minutes broadcast:
WALLACE: (Voiceover) People who know McCain well say he can hold a grudge. He also has a legendary temper. But if McCain can be hard on his friends and even harder on his enemies, he can also be very hard on himself.
Sen. McCAIN: I m–made serious, serious mistakes and did things wrong when I was in prison, OK?
WALLACE: What did you do wrong in prison?
Sen. McCAIN: I wrote a confession. I was guilty of war crimes against the Vietnamese people. I intentionally bombed women and children.
WALLACE: And you did it because you were being tortured…
Sen. McCAIN: I…
WALLACE: …and you’d reached the end of the line.
Sen. McCAIN: Yes. But I should have gone further. I should have–I–I never believed that I would–that I would break, and I did.
Maybe this, more than anything, explains why John McCain and his Mini-Me, Lindsey Graham, had dinner with his erstwhile “opponent,” Barack Hussein Obama II, rather than standing with Rand Paul.
While Paul was conducting his filibuster, McCain and Graham were among a group of Republican senators having dinner with Obama at a Washington, D.C. hotel.
Graham scoffed at Paul’s question about whether Obama thinks he has the authority to kill a noncombatant American citizen on U.S. soil.
“I find the question offensive,” Graham said Thursday on the Senate floor. “As much I disagree with President Obama and as much as I support past presidents, I do not believe that question deserves an answer.” Paul’s question, the South Carolina Republican said, “cheapens the debate.”
Even after losing the 2008 election, the senator (R.-Media) felt compelled to stand again in 2010, defeating J.D. Hayworth in the primary and easily winning re-election in the general. For McCain, there was no penalty for failure — as there never has been, throughout his life. (In this, he is eerily like Obama, the living embodiment of the Peter Principle.) After all, with a net worth of at least $20 million, whatever fire McCain may have had in the belly had long since been extinguished by the good life:
The GOP cannot hope to win another national election unless and until it retires flawed, easily caricatured men like John McCain – and never nominates them again.