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Monday, June 09, 2008

A Note to Disgruntled Hillary Supporters

....specifically the women among you. I know this has been a divisive primary season and that many of you - for whatever reason - have been convinced that the Democratic party under Obama is somehow anti-women (though that is most certainly not the case), but before you commit to a protest vote for McCain, please do look into his record on women's rights....both public and, perhaps even more tellingly, private. To that end, might I direct your attention to the following story from the Daily Mail (UK), which looks at McCain's first marriage, and specifically why and how it ended (by his affair with the then Cindy Lou Hensley):
McCain likes to illustrate his moral fibre by referring to his five years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. And to demonstrate his commitment to family values, the 71-year-old former US Navy pilot pays warm tribute to his beautiful blonde wife, Cindy, with whom he has four children.

But there is another Mrs McCain who casts a ghostly shadow over the Senator’s presidential campaign. She is seldom seen and rarely written about, despite being mother to McCain’s three eldest children.

And yet, had events turned out differently, it would be she, rather than Cindy, who would be vying to be First Lady. She is McCain’s first wife, Carol, who was a famous beauty and a successful swimwear model when they married in 1965.

She was the woman McCain dreamed of during his long incarceration and torture in Vietnam’s infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison and the woman who faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and waiting anxiously for news.

But when McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve, 1969. Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries.

When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of life-saving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her legs, surgeons

had been forced to cut away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure. She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.

Through sheer hard work, Carol learned to walk again. But when John McCain came home from Vietnam, she had gained a lot of weight and bore little resemblance to her old self...

...H. Ross Perot, a billionaire Texas businessman, future presidential candidate and advocate of prisoners of war, paid for her medical care.

When McCain – his hair turned prematurely white and his body reduced to little more than a skeleton – was released in March 1973, he told reporters he was overjoyed to see Carol again.

But friends say privately he was ‘appalled’ by the change in her appearance. At first, though, he was kind, assuring her: ‘I don’t look so good myself. It’s fine.’ ...

...In 1979 – while still married to Carol – he met Cindy at a cocktail party in Hawaii. Over the next six months he pursued her, flying around the country to see her. Then he began to push to end his marriage.

Carol and her children were devastated. ‘It was a complete surprise,’ says Nancy Reynolds, a former Reagan aide.

‘They never displayed any difficulties between themselves. I know the Reagans were quite shocked because they loved and respected both Carol and John.’

Another friend added: ‘Carol didn’t fight him. She felt her infirmity made her an impediment to him. She justified his actions because of all he had gone through. She used to say, “He just wants to make up for lost time.”’...

...Meanwhile McCain moved to Arizona with his new bride immediately after their 1980 marriage. There, his new father-in-law gave him a job and introduced him to local businessmen and political powerbrokers who would smooth his passage to Washington via the House of Representatives and Senate.

And yet despite his popularity as a politician, there are those who won’t forget his treatment of his first wife.

Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam and is now a leading campaigner for veterans’ rights, said: ‘I have been following John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is – deceit.

‘When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody around him knew it.

‘Eventually he met Cindy and she was young and beautiful and very wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for something he thought was better.

‘This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. He has no character. He is a fake. If there was any character in that first marriage, it all belonged to Carol.’

One old friend of the McCains said: ‘Carol always insists she is not bitter, but I think that’s a defence mechanism. She also feels deeply in his debt because in return for her agreement to a divorce, he promised to pay for her medical care for the rest of her life.’ ...

...But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the standards of modern politics.

‘McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory,’ he said.

‘After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.’

3 comments: to “ A Note to Disgruntled Hillary Supporters

  • Anonymous
    August 26, 2008 1:53 AM  

    As far as I'm concerned, McCain is the least evil Republican politician I've ever known. I can still not bring myself to voting for him, however, Obama's arrogance in completely ignoring the 18 million votes that went for Hillary Clinton and not even sharing the ticket with her has convinced me that he's not my candidate. Obama has really only been around for 4 years in the national scene. He can't possibly be out to lunch on the fact that his numbers are consistently going down in the polls. Hillary's hypothetical numbers if she were still in the race, are still 6 pts. ahead of McCain . You've got to be a moron to look the other way and take half of your base for granted like Obama has.
    Maybe I'll forego voting for the first time since I was able to vote 16 years ago.

  • Mitch
    August 26, 2008 7:58 AM  

    In my opinion, anyone who declines to vote in this incredibly crucial and historic election is abdicating their responsibility to this country.

    I'd also say that any Hillary supporters who think John McCain would be better for this country than Obama are either willfully deluding themselves or are horribly misinformed as to McCain's true record and inclinations.

    How in the world anyone who purports to align themselves with Hillary Clinton politically could even consider voting for a pro-war (lots of them), anti-choice (to the tune of repealing Roe v. Wade) candidate whose economic policies are designed to further enrich the top 1% of this country at the expense of the other 99%?

    Seriously. How?

    Because they're bitter over a primary loss?

    I'd say listen to Hillary tonight and see how she feels about the situation, and then ask yourself if you're willing to support her now, when what she wants more than almost anything is to elect a democrat to the White House and change the dangerous course this country has been on for the last 7 and a half miserable years.

  • Mitch
    August 26, 2008 8:10 AM  

    To wit:

    We talked earlier about Wisconsin nurse Debra Bartoshevich, a former Clinton delegate who is now appearing in McCain campaign ads. It's hard not to wonder what on earth she's thinking.

    This afternoon, however, we actually got a better sense of the answer. At a Denver press conference this afternoon organized by Republicans, Bartoschevich, who claims to be a pro-choice Democrat, was asked about her concerns about reproductive rights under another pro-life Republican president.

    "Going back to 1999, John McCain did an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle saying that overturning Roe v. Wade would not make any sense, because then women would have to have illegal abortions," Bartoschevich said.

    This is surprisingly helpful. I've wondered why a pro-choice Democrat who cares about women's rights would even consider a conservative Republican with an abysmal record on women's rights. It turns out, the answer is pretty straightforward: she's terribly confused.

    McCain did, in fact, say in 1999, that he "would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade." It was a reversal from his previous position, and soon after, McCain reversed right back, denounced Roe, vowed to overturn it, and assured voters he would lead an exclusively pro-life administration, arguably slightly to the right of Bush/Cheney.

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