John McCain — From Spoiled Brat to Grumpy Old Man

John McCain -- From Spoiled Brat to Grumpy Old Man

Senator John McCain is running for president on his biography. With a record as a champion of financial deregulation, trickle-down economics, and the Iraq War, the Republican contender has little choice.

Senator McCain would like you to accept his version of his biography (3 words: War Hero, Maverick) but read the full account by Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickenson, “Make-Believe Maverick.” In a hurry? Start with the video “Five Myths About John McCain.”

It is not surprising that Senator McCain considers millionaires middle-class and doesn’t think it is unusual that he can’t keep track of all his houses and cars.  According to NNDB, his mother, Roberta Wright McCain, once “went on an errand to buy a new dress, and came home with a new Mercedes instead.”

The son of an oil heiress and a second-generation Admiral, young John Sidney McCain III attended exclusive Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia (founded 1839; current annual tuition, $40,875). The family house in Washington later became the Capitol Hill Club, a Republican institution.

Following in the sea-booted footsteps of his grandfather and father, J.S. McCain III attended the Naval Academy, where he became the midshipmen’s guide to the wildest parties in nearby Washington, which he knew well. After four years of high-jinks, he graduated from the Naval Academy 895 out of 899 in his class, and would have washed out on demerits if not for the school’s reluctance to sully the reputation of his famous forebears.

Pilot training McCain-style consisted of driving models and strippers to bars, the dog track, and beach parties in his Corvette, and crashing a couple of planes. Mediterranean tours introduced him to dice games in Monte Carlo’s casinos, and presented the opportunity to crash a plane into a Spanish high-tension line.

Of the 600 U.S. POWs in Vietnam, only one was the son of the Admiral commanding operations in the Pacific: John Sidney McCain III. How did the North Vietnamese learned they had captured the U.S. Navy’s “Crown Prince?” McCain told them.

After five and a half truly horrible years in Hanoi, Commander McCain returned to his old stomping grounds, Washington, DC, as Navy liaison to the Senate, a post once held by his father. On a trip to Honolulu he met young blond beer heiress Cindy Lou Hensley. McCain courted Miss Hensley, obtaining a marriage license a month before actually divorcing his first wife, Carol.

McCain quit the Navy; CIndy’s millionaire dad gave him a do-nothing P.R. job for a few months before staking him to a Congressional race and, later, the Senate seat vacated by Barry Goldwater. Jim Hensley also introduced McCain to wealthy business associates and political donors, including Charles Keating.

Senator McCain’s son-of-an-Admiral credentials were trumped by the son-of-a-President card of George W. Bush in 2000. Hisw passion and even anger in this year’s Presidential campaign? Just the latest expression of his life-long sense of entitlement.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here.Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

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