Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain in Rolling Stone

For a number of reasons, I haven't had the chance this week to read this much talked-about Rolling Stone piece on McCain.

But, without having so much at glanced at anything beyond the headline, I found this review from Andrew Sullivan pretty significant:

The character Dickinson describes makes sense of both McCains - the contrite rogue committed to country and the preening, reckless narcissist who gave us Britney Spears ads and the farce of Sarah Palin. Some of his fellow Vietnam vets are the toughest on him. John Dramesi was an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam and a peer of McCain's.

Dramesi attempted daring escapes twice and was brutally tortured and never cracked under the pressure. McCain himself called Dramesi "one of the toughest guys I've ever met." Dramesi also went on to become chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command. I'm not sure how you get to be a bigger hero than that but like most real heroes and unlike McCain, Dramesi didn't spend his life writing five memoirs commemorating his own heroism or running every single political campaign partly on the basis of being a POW. And here's what Dramesi now says about McCain:

"McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man. But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

I would have dismissed that as bitterness six weeks ago. No longer. Go read the whole essay. Trust me. It's eye-opening.

I'll be having some reading time on the plane tomorrow. I'm sure I'll have some thoughts to share.

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