Monday, November 07, 2005

Dialogue with a McCainite

Had an interesting email exchange with a devout McCainite -- JK from Arizona. We kinda got off on the wrong foot because the initial subject line for JK's email was "chickenhawk". Well, it succeeded in getting my attention, at any rate.

The discussion eventually did turn substantive, and I thought it might be instructive to show you parts of the exchange (and perhaps some new commentary). So, maybe we have a series. Who knows? And if we're lucky, maybe JK will emerge from the shadows and comment here and "get thrown to the sharks" ... you know, stop picking on the lightweight me.

So, here is our initial exchange:

JK: Who are you? I can't seem to find your name on here anywhere. Why do you hate McCain? I'm just curious. What is your military record?

Me: I don't hate McCain. He is just a horrible senator, in my view. Check out my post re: what Blogs for McCain's Opponent is about.

So, you assume I am a Chicken Hawk? Interesting. Why don't you read "Understanding DC", linked to the upper right and see what you can learn before you start launching broadsides. I mean, aim first. That's what they taught us when they showed us how to use a weapon.

Semper Fi,


JK: Sorry bout the chickenhawk thing....didn't see you were a marine. . Just got back from Vietnam with a bunch of ex marines. Still can't find on your website why you don't like McCain. Your business but I can't understand why a vet would support Bush v McCain. I personally last year retired from the Air Force after 22 years. Not the marines but what the hell.

DC: Check out: It's linked on the site at the end of the "Blogs for McCain's Opponent" blogroll.

Your point is an interesting one: So, former military should automatically support McCain? I don't think so. Why not Kerry, for that matter? I think a political judgment is far more complex than that. And, if you want to know the truth, it bothers me as a former Marine to see these politicians wearing their military service around like a billboard.

My problem with McCain is his ideas. They aren't conservative. I respect and admire his service, but this is no reason to vote for him.

And don't forget: Pres. Bush is not on the ballot any more. It's time to look ahead. McCain will be on the ballot, and he wants the Republican Party to look like the Senate's Gang of 14. Count me out.

Additional comments -- This exchange shows, I think, a large part of McCain's appeal. He is respected and considered "off limits" for hardball criticism in large part because of his service in Viet Nam. I do appreciate this about McCain, perhaps in a way that the McCain supporters don't understand. My support of political candidates does not hinge on their military service records; it ultimately hinges on their ideas. And I don't vote for a candidate who says, "Vote for me. I served." precisely because I value military service and sacrifice.

I came to believe long ago that that political office is not necessarily a step up from military service. Thus, I am skeptical of candidates who act like it is.