Republican John McCain is pointing to his days as a Navy fighter pilot as part of a renewed effort to argue that Democratic rival Barack Obama lacks the experience needed to be president.
McCain told a rally in Harrisburg, Pa., on Tuesday that he was already tested during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1963. McCain was serving on an aircraft carrier near Cuba during that confrontation with the Soviet Union. AP
When discussing the man who now tries to distance from George W. Bush, Rolling Stone summarized the comparison between the two men as such:
Much hay has been made about McCain's skill as a pilot or lack thereof in the Navy. There are reports of him crashing up to 5 times due to his own carelessness as a pilot. Factcheck.org disputes the claim and indicates only one crash that was definitively McCain's fault. But, despite having endured the horrors of being a POW, there are quite a few stories of McCain's time in the Navy that are not exactly complimentary nor do they show any sort of actual leadership.
In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.
In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.
I don't recall McCain playing some sort of leadership role helping us get out of the Bay of Pigs debacle. Frankly, when I hear McCain's name and any reference to pigs together in the same sentence, all that comes to mind is the porcine nature of his base (sorry, Porky).
So, can someone please tell me how being on an aircraft carrier near Cuba provides one with all the skills necessary to ascend to the presidency?
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