Here's his latest tack. McCain is telling voters that we don't really know Obama. He's a mystery man, raised on a distant Pacific Island, sired by a shadow, and schooled in a foreign classroom. He's a Chicago politician who plots against America with Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright. He's the favorite candidate of Hamas terrorists and Hollywood liberals. Look out! You don't know him! He's risky!
Well, McCain's right. I don't know Obama. Hell, there are things I don't know about my co-workers and I see them every day.
If anyone says they know a candidate by what they've seen on TV, that person is delusional. A few years ago, a knuckleheaded blogger said there was no love in the Clinton marriage. "How can you know?" I asked. "How can anyone know what goes on inside a marriage?"
She said she knows them. She never met them. She never had a person-to-person chat with either of them. But she knew enough about them to know there was no love there.
This woman obviously has no respect for the mystery of a successful marriage. I've been Jenny's husband for 28 years and I still don't know why we work so well together.
But back to McCain and his attempt at frightening me into voting for him. He's right, I don't know Obama. But how much do we really know about McCain? I thought I knew his POW story, the one where he was offered early release and he bravely said he wouldn't leave until all the POWs could go home. I've always believed that story and gave McCain a lot of slack because of this example of almost unbelievable heroism.
But there were things about this story I didn't know. According to a new article in Rolling Stone, two of McCain's fellow POWs say there's more to this story than McCain tells.
"What McCain glosses over is that accepting early release would have required him to make disloyal statements that would have violated the military's Code of Conduct. If he had done so, he could have risked court-martial and an ignominious end to his military career.
'Many of us were given this offer, according to [Phil] Butler, McCain's classmate who was also taken prisoner. 'It meant speaking out against your country and lying about your treatment to the press. You had to 'admit' that the U.S. was criminal and that our treatment was 'lenient and humane.' So I, like numerous others, refused the offer.'
'He makes it sound like it was a great thing to have accomplished,' says [John] Dramesi. 'A great act of discipline or strength. That simply was not the case.'"
This isn't meant to diminish McCain's experience. It's just to say that I thought I knew his most famous story and as it turns out, I didn't.
There is a lot about John McCain that I don't know, particularly since he seems to be a different man today than he was in 2000. Hell, he's a different man today than he was last week.
So, if you want to know more about this guy you thought you knew, read this article in the current Rolling Stone.
The writer, Tim Dickinson, says:
"In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. ... Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity ... At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward.
In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot."
You still won't know John McCain, but you'll learn things about him he probably wishes you didn't know. Like this assessment by former POW John Dramesi:
"McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."