Democratic National Committee Chairman, Howard Dean, recently called John McCain a “blatant opportunist,” in response to McCain’s new ad. The ad shows a young McCain in Vietnamese captivity, calmly giving his name, rank and serial number to a (presumably North Vietnamese) questioner. (The voiceover, by the way is Powers Booth).
I realize that there is a personal history between these two men. Dean’s brother was kidnapped in Laos during the 1970’s. John McCain was by his side when then candidate Howard Dean received the recovered remains of his late brother four years ago. This makes the “opportunist” charge all the more disgusting. How can anyone call John McCain an opportunist for bringing up his war record? This page has taken issue with McCain policies, in particular on free speech and global warming, but we have never even hinted at McCain’s character being less than heroic in the truest sense of the word.
In contrast, John Kerry, who repudiated the military and slandered the troops with whom he served, can fairly be called an opportunist. When the prevailing sentiment was anti-military, John Kerry was the leader of the Winter Soldier movement. When the winds changed, Kerry was suddenly “reporting for duty,” and trumpeting his military credentials.
John McCain, on the other hand, had multiple opportunities to either end his personal suffering or avoid Vietnam altogether. His father and grandfather both reached the rank of Admiral in the Navy, surely strings could have been pulled. When John McCain was involved in the horrific accident aboard the USS Forrestal, he was seriously injured while trying to rescue another pilot. Surely he could have been quietly reassigned stateside, or stayed with the Forestall and her crew in drydock. Instead, he volunteered for a transfer to the USS Oriskany so that he could remain in theatre, fighting the Vietnamese. It was three months later, from this carrier, that John McCain flew the mission that resulted in his six years of captivity. During that time, McCain was subjected to torture and repeated beatings (including knocking out of his teeth, which liberal bloggers are all too happy to mock). Because of his father’s rank, McCain could have ended his ordeal at any time by simply saying what the Vietnamese wanted him to say. By simply ‘confessing’ the sins of his comrades and yielding anti-American propaganda, he would have been released.
By saying, under duress, what John F. Kerry said to serve his personal ambition, John McCain could have been home asleep in his own bed. John McCain never did that. He never caved, he never sought the easy way out. He never allowed his principles to take second place to his ambitions. John Kerry did. He’s an opportunist, John McCain is a hero. And Howard Dean? Well, he’s not just and opportunist, he’s a douche bag.