The L. A. Slimes actually does a good job talking about why character matters when it comes to Senator John McCain
The first clue to McCain’s philosophy lies in two seemingly irrelevant items of gossip: His father was a drunk, and his second wife battled addiction to pain pills. Neither would be worth mentioning except for the fact that McCain’s books and speeches are shot through with the language and sentiment of 12-step recovery, especially Steps 1 (admitting the problem) and 2 (investing faith in a “Power greater than ourselves”).
Like many alcoholics who haven’t quite made it to Step 6 (becoming “entirely ready” to have these defects removed), McCain is disarmingly talented at admitting his narcissistic flaws. In his 2002 book “Worth the Fighting For,” the senator is constantly confessing his problems of “selfishness,” “immaturity,” “ambition” and especially “temper,” though he also makes clear that his outbreaks of anger can be justifiable and even laudable when channeled into “a cause greater than self-interest.”
“A rebel without a cause is just a punk,” he explains. “Whatever you’re called — rebel, unorthodox, nonconformist, radical — it’s all self-indulgence without a good cause to give your life meaning.”
What is this higher power that ennobles McCain’s crankiness? Just as it is for many soldiers, it’s the belief that Americans “were meant to transform history” and that sublimating the individual in the service of that “common national cause” is the wellspring of honor and purpose. (But unlike most soldiers, McCain has been in a position to prod and even compel civilians to join his cause.)
George Bush’s history of substance abuse is extremely formative on his thinking process. It lead him to his christian faith and his views on god-centered and faith-centered life. This leads him to the sense of calling he has had on National Security issues. Bill Clinton’s life was formed by an alcoholic father in the analysis of Dick Morris (which I agreed with) his ability to have an almost elastic ability to be all things to all people. These are negatives which these men turned into positives. What did Senator John McCain do with a similar negative to Clintons? He surrendered himself to a higher and transformational power (the government) because of his background as a military man.
You could also say that John McCain’s being in the Hanoi Hilton has also put him firmly at the alter of government power. Whereas many organizations (which he was later as a member of congress and the senate antagonistic towards) put pressure on the government to do right by folks like John McCain his mind still in that cell in Hanoi views the government as the source of his salvation.
Looking at Bill Clinton we see a similar negative trait which haunts his political destiny. Bill never served so he didn’t have the spine to put boot on the ground in a war he might lose. Somalia early in his presidency assured him that his instincts are correct.
We have a man who formatively is cloaked in the tounge of the addict, and a man who still deep in his mind is formed and tested in a torture cage in vietnam. are these formative experiences a help or a hinderance to his views on the future?
“Our greatness,” he wrote in “Worth the Fighting For,” “depends upon our patriotism, and our patriotism is hardly encouraged when we cannot take pride in the highest public institutions.” So, because steroids might be damaging the faith of young baseball fans, drug testing becomes a “transcendent issue,” requiring threats of federal intervention unless pro sports leagues shape up. Hollywood’s voluntary movie-rating system? A “smoke screen to provide cover for immoral and unconscionable business practices.” Ultimate Fighting on Indian reservations? “Barbaric” and worthy of government pressure on cable TV companies. Negative political ads by citizen groups? They “do little to further beneficial debate and healthy political dialogue” and so must be banned for 60 days before an election if they mention a candidate by name.
and I think I will just end it as the L.A Times did… talking about my favorite Arizona political figure
Goldwater, a man who seemed to emanate from Arizona’s dust, was the paragon of limited government, believing to his core that the feds shouldn’t tell you how to run a business or whom you can sleep with. McCain, on the other hand, is a third-generation D.C. insider who carpetbagged his way into office, believing to his core that “national pride will not survive the people’s contempt for government.”