Cheap Seats Online 2015 Part B
Heroically Speaking - 07/29/15
By Rich Trzupek:
They said it:
“I have tremendous respect for McCain but I don’t buy the war hero thing. Anybody can be captured. I thought the idea was to capture them. As far as I’m concerned he sat out the war.” Senator Al Franken commenting on the military record of Senator John McCain, 2000.
“He a war hero. He a war hero. He a war hero that got captured. There’s a lot of guys in jail that got captured. I don’t want to vote for nobody that got captured. I want to vote for the (expletive deleted) that got away.” Comedian Chris Rock explaining why he wouldn’t vote for Presidential candidate John McCain, 2008.
“The myth of John McCain as a hero is just that; a myth. He’s the (expletive deleted) up that no one ever wants to call him on.” Commenter (one of many) at liberal website The Daily Kos, 2013 expressing their frustration with Senator John McCain.
“He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured, let me tell you. He’s a war hero. Because he was captured, and I believe perhaps he is a war hero, but right now he’s said a lot of very bad things about a lot of people.” Donald Trump, as part of a longer answer during which he expressed frustration with McCain calling those who agree with Trump’s stance on immigration “crazies”.
Now you may argue that Franken is a fringe politician, Rock is just a comedian doing what comedians’ do and people who hit the Daily Kos expecting substance have likely lost the majority of their brain cells to cannabis (or worse) many moons ago. And, all of those arguments would be true.
Trump is a national candidate operating on a national stage and should presumably be held to a higher standard. I agree. But, again, read what the man actually said. He said that McCain is a war hero. He says it several times during the interview in fact. He also says – although not in these words – that McCain has done a crappy job as a Senator in a number of ways, especially when it comes to veteran’s affairs.
Of the four quotes I’ve listed, Trump’s is undeniably the least offensive. And it’s an order of magnitude less offensive than the liberal websites mocking McCain in 2008 because he could not lift his arms much past his shoulders (the result of torture endured in Vietnamese captivity), because they found his speaking style awkward, or because they disapproved of his choice of a running mate.
Today much of the left is appalled and outraged that a potential GOP candidate could chide McCain in any way. Moreover, they are joined by some on the right, like Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal, whom I otherwise respect, but who choose to pander the gods of political correctness.
I must confess that I don’t’ get it. Or rather, I do get it, in a way. The left and some of Trump’s opponents in the Republican primary are anxious to demonize the billionaire candidate and they’re finding no shortage of allies in the media – mainstream and new media alike – to help them with the project.
The part I don’t get is how they expect everyone to actually be as hyper-sensitive as they apparently expect us to be. I’ve said far worse about people I admire – hell, I’ve said far worse about people related to me – than anything Trump said about McCain.
Most all of us complain (me definitely included) about the way politicians continually parse their words, figuring out new ways to say nothing until the latest polling data and focus group responses tell them what they should be thinking. It’s a farce.
We want our politicians to be plain speaking and the press supposedly longs for the same thing. But, when somebody comes along who actually says what’s on his mind, the media can’t wait to crucify him.
I think Trump is striking a chord with many an everyday American and the old-school power structures – left and right – have no idea how to respond. I still don’t know whether or not I’ll vote for the Donald, but poking at John McCain sure ain’t gonna discourage me from doing so.