Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Return of the Mac

Ah, Top Gun with Tom Cruise as LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.  Those were the days…

But after reading the latest Rolling Stone article on John McCain, I’ve discovered a newfound appreciation for why the appeal of the Top Gun Maverick should remain a Hollywood storyline.

Rolling Stone is out with a terrific (and very LONG) article about Johnny Mac, Make-Believe Maverick, covering his entire life, from his childhood years where he would hold his breath until he passed out when he didn’t get his way, through his flyboy years and POW experience, his entry into politics, including the Keating Five, and ending with his current campaign as Maverick, President and Commander in Chief.  Here are some highlights.

Baby Mac

Mac is the progeny of two four stars: grandfather Adm. John Sidney “Slew” McCain earned his four stars commanding a U.S. carrier force in World War II, and father Adm. John “Junior” McCain, earned his four stars commanding America’s forces in the Pacific during Vietnam.

“At the smallest provocation,” he would hold his breath until he passed out: “I would go off in a mad frenzy, and then, suddenly, crash to the floor unconscious.” His parents cured him of this habit in a way only a CIA interrogator could appreciate: by dropping their blue-faced boy in a bathtub of ice-cold water.

Flyboy Mac

Born of military gold stars, Flyboy Mac got a free ride into Annapolis, where he spent his time drinking and sleazing around because he was untouchable.

When McCain was not shown the pampering to which he was accustomed, he grew petulant – even abusive. He repeatedly blew up in the face of his commanding officer. It was the kind of insubordination that would have gotten any other midshipman kicked out of Annapolis. But his classmates soon realized that McCain was untouchable.

The first time he crashed was in Corpus Christi, TX, my current place of residence, where flight school still exists.

He was still in training, in Texas, when he crashed his first plane into Corpus Christi Bay during a routine practice landing. The plane stalled, and McCain was knocked cold on impact. When he came to, the plane was underwater, and he had to swim to the surface to be rescued. Some might take such a near-death experience as a wake-up call: McCain took some painkillers and a nap, and then went out carousing that night.

Pardon a small personal diversion here.  My family “earned” its Gold Star status because my brother-in-law Josh died in a Navy helicopter crash in Corpus Christi this past January.  Unlike McCain, Josh was all business when he flew because that’s how the Navy trained him.  He was co-piloting the helicopter when it went down in unfavorable weather after clipping an unseen antenna tower.  Two other sailors died in this crash, but the pilot survived.  I can swear on my father’s grave that the surviving pilot is overcome with grief, and the rest of the pilots in Josh’s squadron are struggling with this loss.  

Even Tom Cruise’s Maverick had a wake-up call when he lost his co-pilot during one of his reckless adventures.  Mac?  Wake-up calls must be for sissies.

The latest word is that Mac has stretched the truth of his Corpus Christi crash.

I crashed a plane in Corpus Christi Bay one Saturday morning. The engine quit while I was practicing landings…I took a few painkillers and hit the sack to rest my aching back for a few hours….I was out carousing, injured back and all, later that evening.

–John McCain, “Faith of My Fathers.”

The official Navy report into the Corpus Christi accident on March 12, 1960, concludes that the AD-6 Skyraider trainer crashed because McCain failed to “maintain an airspeed above the stall speed.” It attributed the accident to “the preoccupation of the pilot coupled with a power setting too low to maintain level flight.” The single-engine prop plane sank to the bottom of Corpus Christi Bay. McCain was rescued by a helicopter after swimming to the surface.

The accident report excluded a series of other possible factors, including engine failure and disorientation of the pilot due to vertigo. It recorded pilot error as “the sole contributing factor” to the accident.


I am firm believer in respecting and honoring the sacrifice of all military members, regardless of political affiliation, and I respect Mac’s service.  However, what I cannot respect nor tolerate is his conflated use of his POW experience and his encouragement of others in developing his own Hollywood storyline.

In fact, his wounds were attended to only after the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a Navy admiral. What has never been disclosed is the manner in which they found out: McCain told them.

Dramesi says he has no desire to dishonor McCain’s service, but he believes that celebrating the downed pilot’s behavior as heroic – “he wasn’t exceptional one way or the other” – has a corrosive effect on military discipline. “This business of my country before my life?” Dramesi says. “Well, he had that opportunity and failed miserably. If it really were country first, John McCain would probably be walking around without one or two arms or legs – or he’d be dead.”

You would think, after watching speaker after speaker at the RNC talk about Mac’s POW experience that Mac is the greatest war hero to have ever lived.  During that entire Mac love fest that was the RNC, many vets were insulted by all those superficial efforts.

Mac Daddy

The accounts of numerous affairs and trysts by Mac Daddy would provide enough for several Lifetime movies.

Although McCain stresses in his memoir that he married Cindy three months after divorcing Carol, he was still legally married to his first wife when he and Cindy were issued a marriage license from the state of Arizona. The divorce was finalized on April 2nd, 1980. McCain’s second marriage – rung in at the Arizona Biltmore with Gary Hart as a groomsman – was consummated only six weeks later, on May 17th.

But before you think his Lifetime movies would portray a Maverick Romeo or Cassanova…

During his 1992 campaign, at the end of a long day, McCain’s wife, Cindy, mussed his receding hair and needled him playfully that he was “getting a little thin up there.” McCain reportedly blew his top, cutting his wife down with the kind of language that had gotten him hauled into court as a high schooler: “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.” Even though the incident was witnessed by three reporters, the McCain campaign denies it took place.

Mac Keating

Mac continued to help those who help Mac’s self by joining forces with Charles Keating, who apparently had “great respect for military people.”  Keating’s respect must mean the same kind that Mac has for the troops and veterans.

McCain was ultimately given a slap on the wrist by the Senate Ethics Committee, which concluded only that he had exercised “poor judgment.” The committee never investigated Cindy’s investment with Keating.

Spartan Mac

Mac, like W, loves to play Army game-for-real, so we can look to his past comments to find up who is on his war-mongering hit list.

Privately, McCain brags that he was the “original neocon.” And after 9/11, he took the lead in agitating for war with Iraq, outpacing even Dick Cheney in the dissemination of bogus intelligence about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. “There’s other organizations besides Mr. bin Laden who are bent on the destruction of the United States,” he warned in an appearance on Hardball on September 12th. “It isn’t just Afghanistan. We’re talking about Syria, Iraq, Iran, perhaps North Korea, Libya and others.” A few days later, he told Jay Leno’s audience that “some other countries” – possibly Iraq, Iran and Syria – had aided bin Laden.

A month after 9/11, with the U.S. bombing Kabul and reeling from the anthrax scare, McCain assured David Letterman that “we’ll do fine” in Afghanistan. He then added, unbidden, “The second phase is Iraq. Some of this anthrax may – and I emphasize may – have come from Iraq.”

As for torture, what was good for the Mac is good for his enemies.

In 2005, in a highly public fight, McCain battled the president to stop the torture of enemy combatants, winning a victory to require military personnel to abide by the Army Field Manual when interrogating prisoners. But barely a year later, as he prepared to launch his presidential campaign, McCain cut a deal with the White House that allows the Bush administration to imprison detainees indefinitely and to flout the Geneva Conventions’ prohibitions against torture.

McCain 2008

Reading this article before bed was a bad idea because it reminded me of an original Grimm’s fairy tale.  A grim tale indeed, but unfortunately for all of us, a chance to become reality.

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  1. spacemanspiff

    This is the funniest diary I haver read in a looooooong time.

    When I opened up and saw “Maverick” staring back at me I knew I’d be laughing my ass off.

    Mac Daddy

    The accounts of numerous affairs and trysts by Mac Daddy would provide enough for several Lifetime movies.

    This is hysterical!

  2. Jjc2008

    and thanks for the link to RS. I sent the link to many of my friends who live in Central PA……to arm them with info with they are confronted with those who are being bombarded with Ayers stuff….and McCain is a war hero stuff.

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