McCain’s speech

My class ran late last night, so I missed a big part of John McCain’s speech. You’ll have to help me out talking about it. It seemed anti-climactic compared to Sarah Palin’s, but it got moving when he told the story of his captivity–not the heroic part, but how he had been a selfish flyboy until his captivity; how at one point he had been broken by the torture (referring to his being forced to do a propaganda thing for his captors) and was ashamed; how his captivity–and his fellow prisoners–taught him to love his country and deny himself. THAT was good, a confession of brokenness at his time of glory.

But, again, I missed most of it. Give me your analysis.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Bruce

    It was pretty much boilerplate convention acceptance speech up until that time. His story, if dated, is still compelling, and says much about his character. Jimmy Carter is complaining that McCain is “milking” his prisoner of war experiences, which may be true. It is truly experience worthy of being milked. If he hadn’t gone into some detail about it last night, its absence would have been something of an elephant in the room. Having told his story, he’d be well advised, on the stump, to talk policy, to legitimately question the positions and experience of his opponent (to not do so would be another elephant, IMO), and to only bring up the war-time thing in passing.

    But you’re right, till he got going on his personal story, the earlier part was a snoozer.

  • Bruce

    It was pretty much boilerplate convention acceptance speech up until that time. His story, if dated, is still compelling, and says much about his character. Jimmy Carter is complaining that McCain is “milking” his prisoner of war experiences, which may be true. It is truly experience worthy of being milked. If he hadn’t gone into some detail about it last night, its absence would have been something of an elephant in the room. Having told his story, he’d be well advised, on the stump, to talk policy, to legitimately question the positions and experience of his opponent (to not do so would be another elephant, IMO), and to only bring up the war-time thing in passing.

    But you’re right, till he got going on his personal story, the earlier part was a snoozer.

  • Greg Smith

    I agree that the speech was basically boilerplate until he began to tell his personal story. I don’t think that telling the story of his experience was dated or unnecessary. Quite the contrary. I felt it put into perspective his commitment to put the country first. The first part of the speech was, indeed, a snoozer. The last ten minutes were one for the history books. I thought that part could not have been pulled of better by anyone.

  • Greg Smith

    I agree that the speech was basically boilerplate until he began to tell his personal story. I don’t think that telling the story of his experience was dated or unnecessary. Quite the contrary. I felt it put into perspective his commitment to put the country first. The first part of the speech was, indeed, a snoozer. The last ten minutes were one for the history books. I thought that part could not have been pulled of better by anyone.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    McCain isn’t an inspiring speaker. Part of it is probably the physical limitations of his body–he can’t point and jab and wave his arms; his movements are stiff.
    But I listened to the whole thing–I’m not a lover of speeches; they don’t often enlighten a whole lot–and I was moved by his admission of having been broken, humbled, encouraged by his fellow captives, and made into a servant-patriot.
    I got a feeling he himself was a little astounded at the crowd’s reaction to the rousing closing.
    In many ways, I think the crowd was more on fire than he, until that close.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    McCain isn’t an inspiring speaker. Part of it is probably the physical limitations of his body–he can’t point and jab and wave his arms; his movements are stiff.
    But I listened to the whole thing–I’m not a lover of speeches; they don’t often enlighten a whole lot–and I was moved by his admission of having been broken, humbled, encouraged by his fellow captives, and made into a servant-patriot.
    I got a feeling he himself was a little astounded at the crowd’s reaction to the rousing closing.
    In many ways, I think the crowd was more on fire than he, until that close.

  • Joe

    I think McCain used his POW experience appropriately. He did not say, “it means I should win,” he said “it changed me. I was a selfish punk and I became a man – not because I wanted to but because I had too.”

    I think that was the right tone.

  • Joe

    I think McCain used his POW experience appropriately. He did not say, “it means I should win,” he said “it changed me. I was a selfish punk and I became a man – not because I wanted to but because I had too.”

    I think that was the right tone.

  • http://www.homesteadblogger.com/gonorthyoungpack Jenn W

    Here’s the text:
    ” I have a privilege given few Americans: the privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for president of the United States, and I accept it with gratitude, humility and confidence.

    A word to Sen. Obama and his supporters: We’ll go at it over the next two months—you know that’s the nature of this business—and there are big differences between us. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other.

    And after we’ve won, we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again, and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.

    I’m very proud to have introduced our next vice president to the country, but I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. And let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second crowd: Change is coming.

    We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children.

    I’m not in the habit of breaking my promises to my country, and neither is Gov. Palin. And when we tell you we’re going to change Washington and stop leaving our country’s problems for some unluckier generation to fix, you can count on it. We’ve got a record of doing just that, and the strength, experience, judgment and backbone to keep our word to you.

    I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you. I’ve fought the big spenders in both parties… and the first big-spending, pork-barrel earmark bill that comes across my desk, I will veto it. I will make them famous, and you will know their names. You will know their names.

    I’ve fought corruption… I’ve fought to get million-dollar checks out of our elections. I’ve fought lobbyists… I’ve fought crooked deals in the Pentagon. I’ve fought tobacco companies and trial lawyers, drug companies and union bosses.

    I’ve fought for the right strategy and more troops in Iraq when it wasn’t the popular thing to do. And when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.

    I don’t mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way: In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test. I fight for Americans. I fight for you.

    I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when we valued our power over our principles.

    We’re going to change that. We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again to the values Americans admire.

    We believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential. We’re all God’s children, and we’re all Americans. We believe in low taxes, spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk-takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor. We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities. We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans, government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

    My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away.

    Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained, but what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice. Parents deserve a choice in the education of their children, and I intend to give it to them. Sen. Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats. I want schools to answer to parents and students, and when I’m president, they will.

    We’re going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. We’ll produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells off shore, and we’ll drill them now. We’ll build more nuclear power plants. We’ll develop clean-coal technology. We’ll increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We’ll encourage the development and use of flex-fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.

    We have dealt a serious blow to al-Qa’ida in recent years, but they’re not defeated, and they’ll strike us again, if they can. Iran remains the chief state sponsor of terrorism and is on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Russia’s leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world’s oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of re-assembling the Russian empire. And the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and our prayers.

    We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn’t do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to secure the peace.

    I hate war. It’s terrible beyond imagination. I’m running for president to keep the country I love safe and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal—diplomatic, economic, military and the power of our ideals—to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

    My friends, I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I’ve been her servant first, last and always. I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege.

    [As a Naval aviator in Vietnam] I liked to bend a few rules and pick a few fights, but I did it for my own pleasure, my own pride. I didn’t think there was a cause that was more important than me. [But] I was blessed by misfortune. On an October morning… I found myself falling toward the middle of a small lake in the city of Hanoi, with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me. I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency, for its faith in the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people. I was never the same again; I wasn’t my own man anymore; I was my country’s.

    If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

    I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank him, that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth. Fight with me. Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other, for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.

    We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history. Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. ”

    I listened to the whole thing – He isn’t quite the speech giver that Gov Palin is but I’ve certainly heard worse and even if slow it wasn’t empty.

  • http://www.homesteadblogger.com/gonorthyoungpack Jenn W

    Here’s the text:
    ” I have a privilege given few Americans: the privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for president of the United States, and I accept it with gratitude, humility and confidence.

    A word to Sen. Obama and his supporters: We’ll go at it over the next two months—you know that’s the nature of this business—and there are big differences between us. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other.

    And after we’ve won, we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again, and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.

    I’m very proud to have introduced our next vice president to the country, but I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. And let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second crowd: Change is coming.

    We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children.

    I’m not in the habit of breaking my promises to my country, and neither is Gov. Palin. And when we tell you we’re going to change Washington and stop leaving our country’s problems for some unluckier generation to fix, you can count on it. We’ve got a record of doing just that, and the strength, experience, judgment and backbone to keep our word to you.

    I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you. I’ve fought the big spenders in both parties… and the first big-spending, pork-barrel earmark bill that comes across my desk, I will veto it. I will make them famous, and you will know their names. You will know their names.

    I’ve fought corruption… I’ve fought to get million-dollar checks out of our elections. I’ve fought lobbyists… I’ve fought crooked deals in the Pentagon. I’ve fought tobacco companies and trial lawyers, drug companies and union bosses.

    I’ve fought for the right strategy and more troops in Iraq when it wasn’t the popular thing to do. And when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.

    I don’t mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way: In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test. I fight for Americans. I fight for you.

    I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when we valued our power over our principles.

    We’re going to change that. We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again to the values Americans admire.

    We believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential. We’re all God’s children, and we’re all Americans. We believe in low taxes, spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk-takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor. We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities. We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans, government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

    My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away.

    Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained, but what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice. Parents deserve a choice in the education of their children, and I intend to give it to them. Sen. Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats. I want schools to answer to parents and students, and when I’m president, they will.

    We’re going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. We’ll produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells off shore, and we’ll drill them now. We’ll build more nuclear power plants. We’ll develop clean-coal technology. We’ll increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We’ll encourage the development and use of flex-fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.

    We have dealt a serious blow to al-Qa’ida in recent years, but they’re not defeated, and they’ll strike us again, if they can. Iran remains the chief state sponsor of terrorism and is on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Russia’s leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world’s oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of re-assembling the Russian empire. And the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and our prayers.

    We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn’t do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to secure the peace.

    I hate war. It’s terrible beyond imagination. I’m running for president to keep the country I love safe and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal—diplomatic, economic, military and the power of our ideals—to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

    My friends, I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I’ve been her servant first, last and always. I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege.

    [As a Naval aviator in Vietnam] I liked to bend a few rules and pick a few fights, but I did it for my own pleasure, my own pride. I didn’t think there was a cause that was more important than me. [But] I was blessed by misfortune. On an October morning… I found myself falling toward the middle of a small lake in the city of Hanoi, with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me. I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency, for its faith in the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people. I was never the same again; I wasn’t my own man anymore; I was my country’s.

    If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

    I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank him, that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth. Fight with me. Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other, for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.

    We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history. Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. ”

    I listened to the whole thing – He isn’t quite the speech giver that Gov Palin is but I’ve certainly heard worse and even if slow it wasn’t empty.

  • kerner

    If local talk radio is any gauge, McCain won over a lot of conservatives with that speech. Like Jenn, a lot of them listened to the words and ignored the delivery.

    Think about it. McCain listed a number of conservative principles, and a few conservative programs. He promised to not only veto ear-mark spending bills, but to name and denounce their authors, and then he followed it up with his biography of courage and humility and love of country. And finally promised as sincerely as any politician I have ever seen to fight to the end for this country’s good, and urged us all to join him.

    I think a lot more conservatives trust McCain today than did before this convention. When McCain picked Pailn as his running mate, he called her his “partner”, implying that she will be a whole lot more than window dressing in his administration. Then Gov. Palin got up and really made the sale. In that context, McCain’s speech to his fellow republicans convinced a lot of them. So, to me, that’s a pretty effective speech.

  • kerner

    If local talk radio is any gauge, McCain won over a lot of conservatives with that speech. Like Jenn, a lot of them listened to the words and ignored the delivery.

    Think about it. McCain listed a number of conservative principles, and a few conservative programs. He promised to not only veto ear-mark spending bills, but to name and denounce their authors, and then he followed it up with his biography of courage and humility and love of country. And finally promised as sincerely as any politician I have ever seen to fight to the end for this country’s good, and urged us all to join him.

    I think a lot more conservatives trust McCain today than did before this convention. When McCain picked Pailn as his running mate, he called her his “partner”, implying that she will be a whole lot more than window dressing in his administration. Then Gov. Palin got up and really made the sale. In that context, McCain’s speech to his fellow republicans convinced a lot of them. So, to me, that’s a pretty effective speech.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Heavy on biography, light on policy.

    I did appreciate his call to action at the end. Too bad it was belied, in part, by the previous day’s mocking of community organizers. McCain may want people of “both” parties to work to improve this nation, but I’m not convinced other leaders in his party care.

    As for his being a POW, it is a good story, but it’s not exactly news. If he was relatively new to the national scene, I’d understand such emphasis on his heroics, but several decades after he’s been in Washington, my question becomes: what have you done lately? I also have had a hard time taking his heroism seriously ever since McCain apparently stopped taking it seriously: when he used his being a POW to deflect questions about how many houses he owned, among other things.

    McCain sounded more last night like the guy I used to respect, which of course means that he sounded more like the guy most Republicans can’t stand. But his speech stands in stark contrast to the way he’s run his campaign of late. It’s difficult to know what to believe.

    I’m a policy wonk (of sorts), so I was disappointed we didn’t hear much from the “party of ideas”. I was also disappointed about several of the misleading statements he made about Obama vis-a-vis nuclear energy and taxes.

    But my reaction is what you’d expect it to be, so take it with a grain of salt. Not that I needed to tell anyone here to do so.

    Bruce (@1), “its absence would have been something of an elephant in the room”? Well, there were thousands of elephants in the room last night, you know. :)

    Finally, I know it is in no way important, but the choice of one of the backdrop pictures (which, on the channel I was watching, only appeared as an oddly green background) is a bit bizarre.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Heavy on biography, light on policy.

    I did appreciate his call to action at the end. Too bad it was belied, in part, by the previous day’s mocking of community organizers. McCain may want people of “both” parties to work to improve this nation, but I’m not convinced other leaders in his party care.

    As for his being a POW, it is a good story, but it’s not exactly news. If he was relatively new to the national scene, I’d understand such emphasis on his heroics, but several decades after he’s been in Washington, my question becomes: what have you done lately? I also have had a hard time taking his heroism seriously ever since McCain apparently stopped taking it seriously: when he used his being a POW to deflect questions about how many houses he owned, among other things.

    McCain sounded more last night like the guy I used to respect, which of course means that he sounded more like the guy most Republicans can’t stand. But his speech stands in stark contrast to the way he’s run his campaign of late. It’s difficult to know what to believe.

    I’m a policy wonk (of sorts), so I was disappointed we didn’t hear much from the “party of ideas”. I was also disappointed about several of the misleading statements he made about Obama vis-a-vis nuclear energy and taxes.

    But my reaction is what you’d expect it to be, so take it with a grain of salt. Not that I needed to tell anyone here to do so.

    Bruce (@1), “its absence would have been something of an elephant in the room”? Well, there were thousands of elephants in the room last night, you know. :)

    Finally, I know it is in no way important, but the choice of one of the backdrop pictures (which, on the channel I was watching, only appeared as an oddly green background) is a bit bizarre.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I watched the speech last night and Kerner, I think you summed up its effect very well.

    tODD, I find your take that he seems to be trying to appear more himself (or something like that) interesting.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I watched the speech last night and Kerner, I think you summed up its effect very well.

    tODD, I find your take that he seems to be trying to appear more himself (or something like that) interesting.

  • Anon The First

    I did hear a lot of policy talk by McCain. Lots of it. But I don’t see how he could accomplish many of them without powers far exceeding those granted to the presidency by the Constitution, and without a supermajority in the House and Senate and in the judiciary.

  • Anon The First

    I did hear a lot of policy talk by McCain. Lots of it. But I don’t see how he could accomplish many of them without powers far exceeding those granted to the presidency by the Constitution, and without a supermajority in the House and Senate and in the judiciary.

  • E. Malley

    This is a dicey topic, but why was McCain a POW? He admits he was bombing a power plant, which doubtlessly was producing electricity for thousands of people who needed it. If another country sent a plane over one of our power plants, wouldn’t we too shoot it down? Also, I wonder how many Vietnamese he killed in his earlier raids? No one argues that Veitnam was a just war for the US; thus his actions were not just.
    As Christians, let’s keep his POW experience in some perspective.

  • E. Malley

    This is a dicey topic, but why was McCain a POW? He admits he was bombing a power plant, which doubtlessly was producing electricity for thousands of people who needed it. If another country sent a plane over one of our power plants, wouldn’t we too shoot it down? Also, I wonder how many Vietnamese he killed in his earlier raids? No one argues that Veitnam was a just war for the US; thus his actions were not just.
    As Christians, let’s keep his POW experience in some perspective.

  • T.V.

    Wait…E., because he was shot down on a mission you’ve decided was ‘bad’ his confinement and torture don’t count???

  • T.V.

    Wait…E., because he was shot down on a mission you’ve decided was ‘bad’ his confinement and torture don’t count???

  • E. Malley

    T.V., nothing excuses the torture McCain received. He was treated barbarically (though the US also tortures at Guantamamo). But at the same time, whenever I hear of McCain’s POW days, I think of what he was doing over N Vietnam. When soldiers kill civilians, we wince (sometimes) and punish them (sometimes). But when pilots drop bombs on innocent people, we call those deaths collateral damage and forget them.
    There’s a kind of dark side to McCain’s heroics.

  • E. Malley

    T.V., nothing excuses the torture McCain received. He was treated barbarically (though the US also tortures at Guantamamo). But at the same time, whenever I hear of McCain’s POW days, I think of what he was doing over N Vietnam. When soldiers kill civilians, we wince (sometimes) and punish them (sometimes). But when pilots drop bombs on innocent people, we call those deaths collateral damage and forget them.
    There’s a kind of dark side to McCain’s heroics.

  • Carl Vehse

    E. Malley, read this POW experience and see if you can put some perspective on it.

  • Carl Vehse

    E. Malley, read this POW experience and see if you can put some perspective on it.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    He admitted: ‘And they broke me.’
    I never thought of his captivity in those terms, as the catalyst for a turning point, solely because of the abject humiliation of it. If he gave a true accounting last night, he had the epiphany that captives, whether they’re captives of enemies or of the state or of disease or of troubles, are inclined to have: that they’re helpless and not worth much on their own, and can only depend on belief in something greater than themselves, and on the kindness and care of others.
    It wasn’t his heroism on display, but his lesson learned through humility.
    The justness or unjustness of the war is more than irrelevant. It happened, and McCain took on the duty of his vocation.
    He didn’t stand up there making claims about the war or even his participation in it. He didn’t point to any success as an aviator or a warrior. He pointed instead to his failures, and to what he realized through the experience.
    That gave me a new view of McCain. A brand new view.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    He admitted: ‘And they broke me.’
    I never thought of his captivity in those terms, as the catalyst for a turning point, solely because of the abject humiliation of it. If he gave a true accounting last night, he had the epiphany that captives, whether they’re captives of enemies or of the state or of disease or of troubles, are inclined to have: that they’re helpless and not worth much on their own, and can only depend on belief in something greater than themselves, and on the kindness and care of others.
    It wasn’t his heroism on display, but his lesson learned through humility.
    The justness or unjustness of the war is more than irrelevant. It happened, and McCain took on the duty of his vocation.
    He didn’t stand up there making claims about the war or even his participation in it. He didn’t point to any success as an aviator or a warrior. He pointed instead to his failures, and to what he realized through the experience.
    That gave me a new view of McCain. A brand new view.

  • richard

    E. Malley,
    Just a suggestion, but maybe you should read Luther’s “On Whether Soldiers Too Can be Saved.” And there is some debate even in Christian circles on whether Vietnam was a just war; hence your conclusion that McCain’s actions in the war were unjust is a faulty one.

  • richard

    E. Malley,
    Just a suggestion, but maybe you should read Luther’s “On Whether Soldiers Too Can be Saved.” And there is some debate even in Christian circles on whether Vietnam was a just war; hence your conclusion that McCain’s actions in the war were unjust is a faulty one.

  • Carl Vehse

    E. Malley, please provide the source or link for your assertion, “He [McCain] admits he was bombing a power plant”. And please specify when did McCain admit this?

    Also, please specify or provide references on the 22 missions of John McCain before he was shot down, including the details on the location of the targets, whether they were military or civilian, and the resulting damage that occurred, in order to substantiate your claim about what McCain was doing over North Vietnam and dropping bombs on innocent people.

    There are serious charges you have made and need to be supported by documented evidence.

  • Carl Vehse

    E. Malley, please provide the source or link for your assertion, “He [McCain] admits he was bombing a power plant”. And please specify when did McCain admit this?

    Also, please specify or provide references on the 22 missions of John McCain before he was shot down, including the details on the location of the targets, whether they were military or civilian, and the resulting damage that occurred, in order to substantiate your claim about what McCain was doing over North Vietnam and dropping bombs on innocent people.

    There are serious charges you have made and need to be supported by documented evidence.

  • E. Malley

    Well, they broke him, and then he came home and divorced his long-suffering wife and married the woman he’d been fooling around with – facts omitted, tactfully, from the video biography shown at the convention. If the POW experience was such a life changer, why did it manifest itself for the first several years after his return in such poor ways? By speaking at the convention more about his POW experiences (after every other single speaker had done so) than he did about, say, the US economy or his own Senate experience, he was mythologizing the Vietnam War, turning it into a heroic defense of country; otherwise, his sacrifice would have no value. I take nothing away from the agony of his imprisonment, but I think he’s using his POW experience in a very cynical way. I for one find him a very disturbing man.

  • E. Malley

    Well, they broke him, and then he came home and divorced his long-suffering wife and married the woman he’d been fooling around with – facts omitted, tactfully, from the video biography shown at the convention. If the POW experience was such a life changer, why did it manifest itself for the first several years after his return in such poor ways? By speaking at the convention more about his POW experiences (after every other single speaker had done so) than he did about, say, the US economy or his own Senate experience, he was mythologizing the Vietnam War, turning it into a heroic defense of country; otherwise, his sacrifice would have no value. I take nothing away from the agony of his imprisonment, but I think he’s using his POW experience in a very cynical way. I for one find him a very disturbing man.

  • E. Malley

    Carl, McCain himself giving you the documentation you want wouldn’t satisfy you, so I won’t bother to list the sources. Richard, if there is some (presumably, rational) debate over whether Vietnam was a just war, how can my conclusion that it was not be automatically faulty? It can be faulty only if there is no debate that Vietnam was a just war.

  • E. Malley

    Carl, McCain himself giving you the documentation you want wouldn’t satisfy you, so I won’t bother to list the sources. Richard, if there is some (presumably, rational) debate over whether Vietnam was a just war, how can my conclusion that it was not be automatically faulty? It can be faulty only if there is no debate that Vietnam was a just war.

  • richard

    And how can you say that someone who has been imprisoned and tortured for years “takes nothing away from the agony of his imprisonmnet”? Because he doesn’t react in the way you expect him to?

  • richard

    And how can you say that someone who has been imprisoned and tortured for years “takes nothing away from the agony of his imprisonmnet”? Because he doesn’t react in the way you expect him to?

  • E. Malley

    The question is, did he react in the way he said he did?
    I said that I take nothing away from the agony of his imprisonment. What I meant was that I do not minimize what must have been a horrible experience. That’s not the debate. The debate is over what he’s saying about it in 2008, and whether the experience really matters when it comes to dealing with all the things that a president has to deal with. Reasonable minds may differ.

  • E. Malley

    The question is, did he react in the way he said he did?
    I said that I take nothing away from the agony of his imprisonment. What I meant was that I do not minimize what must have been a horrible experience. That’s not the debate. The debate is over what he’s saying about it in 2008, and whether the experience really matters when it comes to dealing with all the things that a president has to deal with. Reasonable minds may differ.

  • richard

    E,
    I didn’t say your view of the war was faulty–but your premise that “No one argues that Vietnam was a just war for the U.S. ” is faulty; and your conclusion that McCain’s “actions were not just” is wrong. And then you compound it by saying his reaction to his imprisonment was wrong. I guess if McCain helps an old lady across the street, that would be wrong too.

  • richard

    E,
    I didn’t say your view of the war was faulty–but your premise that “No one argues that Vietnam was a just war for the U.S. ” is faulty; and your conclusion that McCain’s “actions were not just” is wrong. And then you compound it by saying his reaction to his imprisonment was wrong. I guess if McCain helps an old lady across the street, that would be wrong too.

  • E. Malley

    Richard, I think you missed my point. But you are right in that I overstated the case by saying that no one argues that Vietnam was a just war. There are indeed those who do. I should have said that I don’t think that a lot of people so argue, but I suppose that’s strictly not verifiable.
    I did not say that McCain’s reaction to his imprisonment was wrong. Many people, I suspect, coming out of such an experience might be changed in many ways. What I said is, where does his divorce figure into this life changing experience? Why was that left out of last night’s biography? If you say because it was irrelevant or embarrassing, fine. But if you’re going to buy his story that his POW experience turned him into a new man, bursting with a love of country and a desire to live for a cause greater than himself, you’ve got to do something with facts that suggest otherwise. My personal opinion is that what really changed McCain was marrying a woman worth $100 million. That (and the POW story) is what got him going in Arizona politics. He’s only a man.

  • E. Malley

    Richard, I think you missed my point. But you are right in that I overstated the case by saying that no one argues that Vietnam was a just war. There are indeed those who do. I should have said that I don’t think that a lot of people so argue, but I suppose that’s strictly not verifiable.
    I did not say that McCain’s reaction to his imprisonment was wrong. Many people, I suspect, coming out of such an experience might be changed in many ways. What I said is, where does his divorce figure into this life changing experience? Why was that left out of last night’s biography? If you say because it was irrelevant or embarrassing, fine. But if you’re going to buy his story that his POW experience turned him into a new man, bursting with a love of country and a desire to live for a cause greater than himself, you’ve got to do something with facts that suggest otherwise. My personal opinion is that what really changed McCain was marrying a woman worth $100 million. That (and the POW story) is what got him going in Arizona politics. He’s only a man.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    E. Malley:
    It’s hard to back up an opinion with a fact. We believe the way in which we believe sometimes regardless of the facts, that being the nature of political opinions, or opinions in general.
    It’s pretty harsh, though, to insist that all facts have to matter in making a conclusion, or that they have to matter equally. (Except, of course, when you offer your ‘personal opinion,’ based, I presume, on facts.)
    It’s also helpful to realize one’s own cynicism, before pointing out the cynicism of others.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    E. Malley:
    It’s hard to back up an opinion with a fact. We believe the way in which we believe sometimes regardless of the facts, that being the nature of political opinions, or opinions in general.
    It’s pretty harsh, though, to insist that all facts have to matter in making a conclusion, or that they have to matter equally. (Except, of course, when you offer your ‘personal opinion,’ based, I presume, on facts.)
    It’s also helpful to realize one’s own cynicism, before pointing out the cynicism of others.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Carl, McCain himself giving you the documentation you want wouldn’t satisfy you, so I won’t bother to list the sources.

    That’s a weasally statement, Malley. I have found a source for McCain saying he was bombing a power plant when he got hit by a surface-to-air-missile. A power plant can be a legitimate military target.

    But you still need to substantiate your accusations about McCain’s previous missions over North Vietnam and dropping bombs on innocent people.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Carl, McCain himself giving you the documentation you want wouldn’t satisfy you, so I won’t bother to list the sources.

    That’s a weasally statement, Malley. I have found a source for McCain saying he was bombing a power plant when he got hit by a surface-to-air-missile. A power plant can be a legitimate military target.

    But you still need to substantiate your accusations about McCain’s previous missions over North Vietnam and dropping bombs on innocent people.

  • Richard

    God knows how McCain’s divorce figured in his “life-changing experience,” whatever that may mean. I don’t know how Obama’s prior drug use figures in his life-changing experience, either. I don’t buy that either McCain or Obama is a saint; but I’m not going to buy that either of them is using his life experiences to cynically manipulate voters. I guess I don’t see myself as being God in judging people’s motives.

  • Richard

    God knows how McCain’s divorce figured in his “life-changing experience,” whatever that may mean. I don’t know how Obama’s prior drug use figures in his life-changing experience, either. I don’t buy that either McCain or Obama is a saint; but I’m not going to buy that either of them is using his life experiences to cynically manipulate voters. I guess I don’t see myself as being God in judging people’s motives.

  • Anon The First

    E. Malley,
    I certainly haven’t heard that -no one- argues that the vietnam was was not a just war for us to be in. I would argue that it was, we were trying to defend people from communist oppression. The Democrats in the House and Senate made sure that North Vietnam won. We won over and over on the battlefield. We lost in Washington D. C. To this day the North Vietnamese government persecutes the Christians in Vietnam quite heavily. The technology of the late 1960s was not as precise of that as today, but even then we tried our best to avoid harming civilians. The United States is fairly unique in that policy. Yet it is the US that people attack, not Russia for the conquest of Georgia, for example, or what Chavez is doing to his own people. Why is that? Are you suggesting that it was right for him to be tortured? To not be treated according to the Geneva Convention? Is it not legitimate for me to think that you are suggesting that in #10?

    Same here, Susan re: #14.

    I’m not crazy about McCain as the candidate. He wasn’t my first or even third preference. But I’m pretty put out with the lies and distortions that the left in this country, the so-called ‘netroots’ (look it up on Google) are saying over and over and over hoping it will stick from repetition.

  • Anon The First

    E. Malley,
    I certainly haven’t heard that -no one- argues that the vietnam was was not a just war for us to be in. I would argue that it was, we were trying to defend people from communist oppression. The Democrats in the House and Senate made sure that North Vietnam won. We won over and over on the battlefield. We lost in Washington D. C. To this day the North Vietnamese government persecutes the Christians in Vietnam quite heavily. The technology of the late 1960s was not as precise of that as today, but even then we tried our best to avoid harming civilians. The United States is fairly unique in that policy. Yet it is the US that people attack, not Russia for the conquest of Georgia, for example, or what Chavez is doing to his own people. Why is that? Are you suggesting that it was right for him to be tortured? To not be treated according to the Geneva Convention? Is it not legitimate for me to think that you are suggesting that in #10?

    Same here, Susan re: #14.

    I’m not crazy about McCain as the candidate. He wasn’t my first or even third preference. But I’m pretty put out with the lies and distortions that the left in this country, the so-called ‘netroots’ (look it up on Google) are saying over and over and over hoping it will stick from repetition.


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