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 Post subject: John McCain question
PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:21 pm 
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I have a question for those who know a good deal more about John McCain that I do.

How did he get into the US Naval Academy?

Obviously, he went through the same process as the others did.... but ... what I really want to know is what his high school record said about him that allowed him to get into one of the most difficult institutions in the land. I have always been led to believe that admission to the Naval Academy was reserved for our best and brightest and it was quite difficult to get in.

However, McCains own high school site has very uncomplimentary things to say about him including that he got into many fights there and his nicknames were "Punk" and "McNasty". By his own admission, McCain was not a very good student and certainly no scholar.

It seems to me that a good deal of his political career is based on his military service - which started with the Naval Academy.

Just how did he get in and did he have a high school record which supports an admission like that?

In researching this, I found nothing about his HS academic record. The fact that he graduated #894 out of a graduating class of 899 in 1958 at the Naval Academy is a matter of public record. The fact that he was many times disciplined for infractions is a matter of public record. But his High School - Episcopal - was a private one.

Does anyone have this information?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:31 pm 
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Long time, no see, sf! It's good to see you here.

My guess is that McCain got in because his father and grandfather were high-level officers. But I don't have any information beyond what you have already posted.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:41 pm 
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Thank you for the welcome Voronwë. I have enjoyed reading your take on the lawsuit on this and other sites over the past few months.

Regarding the McCain admission - yes, I suspect the same reason you gave is what got him in. However, is it not true that his cost there is paid by the US taxpayers? I would think that since we are paying for his education -- or did pay for it -- we are entitled to some information about it and that would include his HS record which was judged worthy of his admission.

The more I dig into McCain, he comes off as a borderline fraud based on an overhyped military record which was really rather pitiful when you judge it in its totality.

Bernstien and Woodward said "follow the money". In this case I think its "follow his career". And that begins with his HS record which was judged good enough to get him into the Naval Academy.

I also wonder why he was not thrown out of the Academy based on his terrible record of both scholarship and disciplinary matters?

The more I look into this, he was a guy who happened to be born on third base and had a very friendly umpire who allowed him to steal home. He then wants a ticker tape parade for hitting a home run even though his team lost the game.

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:11 pm 
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I don't think I would be so hard on him, sauronsfinger.

I have a great deal of sympathy for and understanding of the kind of man who begins his life as a "problem" but who grows up to do well. It's a painful process, believe me. Maybe that was Mr. McCain's case - he came from a family with high expectations and standards, and he may have fought against those expectations and standards in his youth.

But from what I know of him, when it was time to pay up, he did. The character was there at bottom.

Then again, I don't know. I'm just speculating.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:31 pm 
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Vision - that is just the thing - what do you know about McCain to suggest he out performed his wasted and misspent youth? I see very little. We have him destroying several million dollar airplanes because he was a mediocre student (and that is being charitable.) We have his terrible dumping of his first wife after her accident which left her scarred and damaged. We have his being elected to office on his "good fortune" to have been a prisoner of war. And remember, he cracked under torture as a prisoner. We have his membership in the Keating five scandal.... just what did he do to show he is presidential caliber material?

I see precious little.

I do not want another idiot as president.

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 2:59 am 
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It's hard to say what the requirements were to get in, back then. Both my dad and my brother went to the Merchant Marine Academy during that era, and I think the requirements for all military academies were similar then: each state senator got to nominate one candidate for the school, so there were two coming from each state. They weren't necessarily the best or brightest, just the ones who wanted to go and convinced their senator that they were the right one to pick. Even for the universities in the general population, there were far fewer people around, far fewer wanting to get into college, and the bar was set much lower. Now my brother is a great guy, but he wasn't valedictorian, and certainly not the top student in the entire state of California, but he was one of the two selected to go that year.

Things have certainly changed for the highest demand public universities these days, where the AVERAGE highschool GPA for entering freshmen is 3.9.

On the other hand, they say that if a president is more than 10 points above or below the IQ of his constituents, he's likely to be out of touch. Nixon was too bright, and, well, don't get me started about Bush.

It's good to see you back, SF, and I hope that your life circumstances have improved.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:44 am 
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Despite the irony of me being the one to defend McCain, I think that his qualifications to be president should be judged mainly based on his record as a Senator, rather than he high school grades, or his scores at the Naval Acadady, or even his military record. And there is much to admire in that senatorial record; he has been an effective legislator and one not afraid to put principles above politics. I would be much more comfortable with the idea of the McCain up until 2006 or so becoming president that I would the candidate that has been campaigning since then, however.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:46 am 
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Quote:
Nixon was too bright, and, well, don't get me started about Bush.


Bush isn't stupid. He's incurious. There's a difference.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:49 am 
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sauronsfinger wrote:
he cracked under torture as a prisoner.


How long would you last?

There are plenty of things to criticise about McCain as a Presidential candidate. But the way he handled himself in VC captivity is nothing short of exemplary in my view.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:43 am 
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Lord_Morningstar wrote:
sauronsfinger wrote:
he cracked under torture as a prisoner.


How long would you last?

There are plenty of things to criticise about McCain as a Presidential candidate. But the way he handled himself in VC captivity is nothing short of exemplary in my view.


:agree:

For me, the fact that he SURVIVED being a prisoner of war for 5 years says a great deal.

I don't like McCain as a presidential candidate and I certainly don't intend to vote for him. And, for the record, I think his treatment of his first wife was horrible. But "cracking under torture" is not something I would hold up as a character flaw.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 10:56 am 
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I have no idea how long I would survive as a prisoner of war. I am not running for president of the USA as a war hero with an outstanding war record. John McCain is.

I asked the questions because I am trying to get a complete picture of John McCain from the public record.

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:41 pm 
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I can't get riled up about specific things McCain did 35-40 years ago. People change, or at least most people. I have larger issues with the notion of war veteran or even POW = qualification for president, though. Clearly there are a lot of vets and a lot of POWs who would NOT make good presidents. Thus, what SF is doing--building a context, a narrative, to determine whether that service and experience is relevant and positive--has some merit. It's certainly as relevant as where Obama went to grade school.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:22 am 
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The POW experience is significant because it revealed much about McCain's strength of character- his exemplary leadership and example have been praised by his fellow-prisoners. He was singled out for extra beatings because of his father, and yet invited (and got) even more because that same rebellious streak which made him a 'discipline problem' enabled him to maintain a 'f**k you' attitude toward the guards. He refused to be a good cooperative little prisoner.

Quote:
Moe used a tiny wire to poke a pinhole into his cell door so he could watch guards and prisoners in the hallway. When McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn toward Moe's door and flash a grin and thumbs up.

"I look back and that vision of him looking over at me and going 'we're going to pull through this' under terrible, terrible conditions is a great memory for me," Moe said


Most significant of all was McCain's *refusal* to be released early as part of a NV 'goodwill gesture'- he insisted that he go home with his comrades and not a day earlier.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:17 pm 
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How much do we actually know about all this? Why do I get the funny feeling that the McCain POW experience has never been objectively examined or explored upon in an objective manner? Why is the McCain camp so loathe for anyone to take a critical look at this aspect of his life? They use terms such as "beyond debate" when anything approaching this chapter in his life comes up as it did last week when several Dems commented on it.

Is the McCain POW experience some sort of modern political New Testament tale that is beyond objective examination?

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:32 pm 
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What on earth do you mean by "never been objectively examined or explored upon in an objective manner?"?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:33 pm 
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NB: The Academy wasn't nearly as selective back when as it is today. My father (Class of '54) was a decent but by no means straight-A student.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:47 pm 
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What I mean is that I have never read of , heard of , or know of any information about the McCain POW experience other than that which is boilerplate for and from his own campaign.

Last week when General Clark made his rather low key comments saying that being shot down and being a POW did not make you qualified for president, the McCain campaign got really ruffled and issued comments how McCains record was beyond any reproach and beyond debate and comments of that sort. It reminds me of Shakespeare in HAMLET - "the lady doth protest too much".

by the way - my own father spent parts of two years in a few Nazi prison camps and was decorated for saving the life of several fellow prisoners. That hardly qualifies him - or anyone in that position - to be President of the United States - or even as a career as a many term Senator running on that war record.

and ... John McCain himself said the following two years ago while campainging at a fundraiser in Dyersville, Iowa


"I would remind you, it doesn't take a lot of talent to get shot down."

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:08 pm 
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I wouldn't say that being a POW, alone, is a qualification, but it does say something about the background and character of a long-time US Senator which contrasts sharply with that of, say, G W Bush during the same period.

BTW, accounts of McCain's conduct in Hanoi have come from innumerable fellow-POWs in books and interviews- and even a couple of former NV guards.

(EDIT: the ruffling may also reflect an undercurrent in the military community, active and retired, which does not like Wesley Clark, the "Perfumed Prince", regarding him as the ultimate Pentagon politician, a type despised by fighting soldiers. There was I suspect an element of "who the hell are you to comment, pretty boy?"


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:24 pm 
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One of McCain's fellow POW's has written in a military publication that he will not vote for him, based in part on his conduct while they were prisoners:
http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,164859,00.html


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:34 pm 
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Thank you Dave LF for that article by Phillip Butler who spent even longer as a POW than McCain did. I found his memories of his time at West Point with McCain rather illuminating. I wonder how someone with that record - near bottom of his class academics and many repeated disciplinary infractions could have avoided being expelled?

All should read the article.

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers


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