Who’s the Blowhard?

By Jack Limpert

Today on Twitter:

Andrew Sullivan ‏@sullydish
We elected Obama over McCain and yet Obama is now ceding foreign policy to that discredited blowhard…

Andrew Sullivan is talking about this McCain? The one who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958 and in 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. In mid-1968, his father John S. McCain Jr. was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater, and the North Vietnamese offered McCain early release because they wanted to appear merciful for propaganda purposes, and also to show other POWs that elite prisoners were willing to be treated preferentially. McCain turned down the offer; he would accept repatriation only if every man taken in before him was released. After five years of torture, he finally was released in 1973.

Maybe because I was reading a newspaper and listening to the radio during World War Two I see those who fought for the United States differently from journalists who only know Vietnam and what came later. In the 1940s, I earned pennies and nickels to help my parents buy $25 war bonds because we were afraid the Germans and Japanese were taking over the world. One of my dad’s nephews was in the 1942 Bataan death March.

You don’t forget those battles and those sacrifices.

Maybe McCain was wrong to fight in Vietnam, maybe he’s wrong on Syria, but if you remember what he and others did for love of country, for what they saw as the defense of freedom, it seems almost obscene for McCain now to be dismissed by a blogger as a “discredited blowhard.”

I’m also old enough to remember the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. Senator Joseph McCarthy was from Appleton, my Wisconsin hometown, and my mother knew him as a genial politician. But I couldn’t take his arrogance.

I was on the side of Joseph Welch, the counsel for the U.S. Army, who famously asked McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
Update on 9/6/13: In a town hall meeting, McCain was accused of treason for backing U.S. action against the Assad government of Syria because of its use of chemical weapons.





















  1. Another way to look at McCain’s more recent wisdom or lack thereof is to remember that he picked someone totally unqualified to be president — and perhaps other offices? — as his vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.

  2. Oh, my. Andrew Sullivan as Sen. Joe McCarthy? Maybe we’re treated to TWO blowhard-y episodes on the blog today. Happens to the best of us. 🙂

    Good point, JRL, about Sen. McCain’s appointment of Gov. Palin as running mate.

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