Faith of our Fathers

H92607

By BRAD WARTHEN
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
One day in late summer 1970, I was playing tennis on the courts next to the Officer’s Club at Pearl Harbor. I was 16. My opponent, a long-haired boy whose name I now forget, was younger. He was a visitor from the mainland, the little brother of the wife of a junior officer on my Dad’s ship.
    Suddenly, a gnarly bantam rooster of a man rushed onto our court through one of the gates, followed by an entourage of followers who could only be senior naval officers, despite the fact that all were in white shorts, conspicuously devoid of insignia.
    Without pausing in his stride, the first man commanded, “You boys get out of here! I’ve got this court.” Taken aback, we nevertheless immediately moved to obey. I knew active-duty officers had precedence over dependents on Navy courts, and although this man looked old for active duty — at 59, he seemed ancient — we could not doubt his authority. As we moved to collect our gear, he noticed my father — at that time the executive officer of the USS Kawishiwi — sitting on the bench where he had been watching us play. The man went immediately to Dad and spoke to him briefly, then came quickly over to us boys. I was unprepared for what came next — an apology.
    Introducing himself, he explained that he was extremely busy, that he reserved the court for this time and that it was the only recreation he had, so he had been in a hurry to get to it, which explained but did not excuse his brusqueness, and he hoped we would understand.
    No problem, admiral, I said. Don’t mind us. We’re moving. Enjoy your game.
    The man was John S. McCain Jr. Had he been in uniform, he would have worn four stars — the same rank his father had attained in World War II. He was CINCPAC — the Commander In Chief Pacific Command — a title that to a Navy brat had the same ring as the words “the king” would have had to someone in Medieval Europe. Except that no king of old ever had authority over as much military power. He commanded all U.S. forces in and around the Pacific and Indian Oceans, from the U.S. west coast to the Persian Gulf. The American forces fighting the war in Vietnam were only a portion of his responsibility.
    Among the hundreds of thousands of men under his command was a lieutenant commander being held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi. The naval aviator was nearing his third anniversary in captivity, most of that time in solitary confinement in a tiny, stifling cell, his monotony relieved only by brutal interrogations. His body, and at one point even his spirit, broken, he would be there for another two-and-a-half years.
    I didn’t know any of that at the time. Only years after Sen. John McCain had risen to national prominence did I connect him to the admiral I’d met that day. But even among the many who knew about the connection, few ever heard CINCPAC speak of it. Only those closest to him knew about the ritual with which he would mark each Christmas: Every year, he would go to Vietnam and visit troops stationed closest to the DMZ. At some point he would go off by himself to the edge of the base and stare silently northward, in the direction of his son.
    Last week, you read (I hope) a column headlined “Barack Like Me,” in which I explained my sense of identification with elements of Barack Obama’s personal journey of self-definition. If you missed it, I urge you to go to my blog (the address is at the end of this piece) and read it. This column is a companion to it. I wrote the earlier piece after reading Sen. Obama’s autobiography about his youth.
    This past week, I read Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir, by John McCain and Mark Salter. It’s the very different story of a young man who was far less confused about who he was or where he came from. And as much as I felt I understood “Barry” Obama, my commonality with Navy brat McCain is much more direct, and certainly simpler.
    A few months ago, I wrote another column headlined, “Give me that old-time conservatism,” in which I wrote of the values I had learned growing up in a Navy family, “the old-fashioned ones: Traditional moral values. Respect for others. Good stewardship. Plain speaking. And finally, the concept that no passing fancy, no merely political idea, is worth as much as Duty, Honor and Country.” It was written shortly after Sen. McCain won the S.C. primary, at a time when “conservatives” in his party were doing all they could to stop him.
    His autobiography is a 349-page exploration of those values.
    His grandfather was a hard-driving, smoking, drinking, gambling old salt who cried when he read casualty reports. He had less regard for his own welfare, once telling his wife he would not spend a penny on doctors, preferring to lavish all his money “on riotous living.” He commanded the fast carriers of Task Force 38 through one epic battle after another across the Pacific, stood in the front row at the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri, then flew home that day. He dropped dead during the party his wife threw to welcome him home.
    His father was a cigar-chomping submarine commander in the same war, who over the next 25 years worked ceaselessly to live up to his father’s example. As CINCPAC, he unsuccessfully pressed his civilian superiors to let him pursue victory in Vietnam. The B-52 attacks on Hanoi (wildly cheered by his son and fellow prisoners as the bombs fell around them) and mining of Haiphong harbor helped focus the North Vietnamese on an eventual peace agreement in Paris. But Admiral McCain didn’t even get to see the war to that unsatisfactory conclusion before being relieved as CINCPAC. He retired, and lived another nine years, but was never a well man after that. His son believes that he, “like his father before him, sacrificed his life” to the strains of wartime command.
    On the fringes of this presidential campaign, one reads silly e-mails and blogs accusing Barack Obama of being less than American because of the African, Muslim part of his ancestry. Some Democrats weakly respond that John McCain isn’t an American, either, having been born in the Canal Zone in Panama. I have to smile at that, because in my life’s experience, the Zone looms as the very essence of America. During the two-and-a-half years I lived in South America in the 1960s, Panama was the place we occasionally visited to get our booster shot of home, the Land of the Big PX, a place to revel in the miracles of television and drinking water straight from the tap without fear.
    Ironically, Panama means far less to John McCain, since his family left there when he was three months old. It was the start of a routine that I know very well:

As soon as I had begun to settle into a school, my father would be reassigned, and I would find myself again a stranger in new surroundings forced to establish myself quickly in another social order.

    If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not. It fostered in McCain and me and thousand
s like us an independence that’s hard to explain to those who never experienced it. I suspect it contributed greatly to the characteristics that his campaign inadequately, and monotonously, tries to describe with the word “maverick.”
    But there was a constant in our lives. Growing up, I most often heard the United States Navy referred to as “the Service.” It both described what my father did and why he did it. It was the same for the McCains.
    Barack Obama struggled for identity in his formative years largely because of the absence of his father. John McCain and I both experienced the absence of fathers: “We see much less of our fathers than do other children. Our fathers are often at sea, in peace and war.” But unlike Mr. Obama, we understood exactly who our fathers were and why they were gone:

    You are taught to consider their absence not as a deprivation, but as an honor. By your father’s calling, you are born into an exclusive, noble tradition. Its standards require your father to dutifully serve a cause greater than his self-interest, and everyone around you… drafts you to the cause as well. Your father’s life is marked by brave and uncomplaining sacrifice. You are asked only to bear the inconveniences caused by his absence with a little of the same stoic acceptance.

    But as much as our childhoods were alike, John McCain the man is very different. It’s one thing to know “the Service” as a dependent. It’s far different to serve. As I type that, it sounds terribly trite. Yes, we all know John McCain is a war hero, yadda-yadda, right? But I don’t care how much of a cliche it’s become, it’s true. And it sets him apart.
    I can’t write a “McCain Like Me” column because from an early age, he was different. He always knew he would follow his father and grandfather to the Naval Academy. I knew nothing of the kind, and not just because my father graduated from Presbyterian College. There was a brief time in my late 20s when I considered giving up journalism for the Navy; I even took a written test for prospective officer candidates, and did well on it. But my father pointed out to me what I had always known: My chronic asthma would keep me out. So I dropped the idea.
    John McCain, by contrast, rebelled against inevitability, raising hell and breaking rules all the way through his four years at Annapolis, repeatedly stepping to the brink of expulsion, and graduating fifth from the bottom of his class. Even reading about the hazing he experienced as a plebe, when upperclassmen did everything they could think of to break him and cause him to “bilge out” — nothing, compared to what he would suffer as a POW — I thought, Did I ever experience such treatment? Was I ever tested to that extent? And the answer was “no.” Nor, despite all his doubts about himself, his own period of rebellion or his sense of alienation, did Barack Obama have such a formative experience. If so, he doesn’t tell about it.
    The gulf between John McCain and me would exist if he had never been captured. His heroism during those five unimaginable years — a time when he finally learned the full importance of being part of something larger than himself — only turns the gulf into an ocean.
    I say that not to criticize Sen. Obama, or myself. But it’s a fact. We never knew anything like it. Men like John McCain and my friend Jack Van Loan — his fellow prisoner at the Hanoi Hilton — will forever be imbued with an aura that not even The One can claim. Some dismiss the McCain slogan “Country First” as worn-out rhetoric. But I know that for him, perhaps more than for any candidate I’ve ever known, it simply describes who he is and how he’s lived his life.
    That almost certainly is not enough to help him win the election. As I watch him on the verge of failure, that saddens me. He’s had three decades to come to terms with the fact that the war in which he gave so much caused so many of his fellow Americans to lose their faith in their country, and he’s dealt with it admirably.
    Now this. As I watch him drift further from his goal, I can say “Barack Like Me,” but McCain — he’s on a different plane, and always has been. And increasingly, he seems to be there alone.

Go to thestate.com/bradsblog/

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54 thoughts on “Faith of our Fathers

  1. p.m.

    Nice ending, though depressing.
    I do wish, however, that you’d use “further” only as a verb.
    It would further your purposes and take you farther, too.

    Reply
  2. Randy E

    Brad, this piece provides insight for your deep appreciation for McCain but you leave out the most recent chapter of Faith of Our Fathers; McCain chooses to lose his integrity to win an election.
    I have been repeatedly disappointed in your complete unwillingness to address this. His bravery and hero status is not sufficient for him to be president or even commander in chief just as Michael Jordan’s prowess on the court does not necessarily translate into ability in the front office.
    In fact, McCain has shown that he is characterized by flaws that make him a terrible candidate. His erratic temperament as revealed in the impetuous selection of Palin and his nefarious use of gutter politics are hardly what we need in office.
    Already we’ve seen these traits in action. McCain first suggests “the fundamentals of the economy are strong”; then he suspends his campaign to fix the economy by sitting in his office to make phone calls while calling out Obama for “phoning it in”; then he suggests we spend billions to buy “bad mortgages while he calls Obama a socialist.
    I guess I live in an area of the country that is not “pro-America” so maybe my view is “un-American”.

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  3. Randy E

    Colin Powell just affirmed my perspective. In a press conference after MTP, he explicitly explained that he evaluated the two candidates on judgment, calm and thoughtful leadership, and the campaign tactics.
    Brad, this is certainly a man with the gravitas to judge McCain and he rendered a scathing evaluation of McCain’s campaign.

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  4. Susan

    What has happened in McCain’s campaign is the reason so many Americans have such disdain about and cynicism for politics and politicians. I liked McCain enough to vote for the man several years ago. But this is not the same man. Even his own brother said as much in an e-mail to the campaign urging a more positive look at his brother to focus on his biography.
    And the choice of Palin? I believe he was hornswoggled on that one.
    Nice article, though, Brad.

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  5. p.m.

    Randy, are you by any chance bud’s fraternal twin, or did the Democrat machine just stamp y’all’s noggins with one cookie cutter?
    That same day Palin called North Carolina “pro-America” (oh, how sinful, as though some place aren’t more pro-American than others), Obama said “a (not “an”) ill-fated mission” in a sentence.
    Where was the obligatory barrage of journalistic indignation? Who called Obama the new Dan Quayle? Where are the brain police when we need them?

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  6. john

    Well done, Brad. Your thoughtfulness and sincerity came through.
    As for Randy, well…Randy needs to do some homework on BHO’s rise to power. If he is concerned about integrity during elections, Obama’s past victories in Illinois will surely disturb him.

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  7. Dave

    A well written piece of condescending journalism. “As I watch him on the verge of failure”, “As I watch him drift further from his goal”. As I read it I could swear I heard a fireplace crackling in the background and could picture a hound dog at your feet….
    execellent subtleties,,,, you relate to the man and then you undercut him as if he has already lost. From my point of view your two paths diverged when McCain continued his service to his country and you began yours as a common tater in the field of liberal journalism.
    perhaps we just skip the election and let ACORN crown the messiah now????

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  8. Lee Muller

    Barack Obama is less of an American by his father’s abandonment, by his mother’s choice to raise him as a Muslim and a communist, and by his own choices to seek his identity among the radical communists and Afro-centrist hatred for whites and Jews.
    As an adult, Barack Obama could, at any time, have walked away from the creepy sorts of people who were like the sorry parents and other role models who forced their wicked ideology on him as a child.
    He could have chosen real role models of manhood and patriotism in the military, business, or clergy. Instead, he sought out depraved hucksters for his associates.

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  9. bud

    The gulf between John McCain and me would exist if he had never been captured. His heroism during those five unimaginable years — a time when he finally learned the full importance of being part of something larger than himself — only turns the gulf into an ocean.
    -Brad
    Sadly McCain’s experience really didn’t teach him the valuable lessons he and his campaign claim that it did. It’s unfortunate that Brad’s life experience as a military brat seems to have clouded his ability to see the whole picture. McCain has repeatedly brought up his POW experience to illustrate how this changed him. Did it really? I’m sure his first wife didn’t find him such a selfless man for his womanizing, childish behavior as a 38 year old man. This POW stuff wore thin a long, long time ago and it’s way past time to set it aside. It’s really not a qualification for president.
    It’s about as clear as it gets that McCain has cast aside any pretense of integrity during this campaign. He’s running this robo-call assault on Obama’s link to Bill Ayers and even defended it today on Fox News. When Chris Wallace pointed out that this was the same scurilous campaign tactic used against him in 2000 McCain claimed that this was different. Shame, shame, shame. McCain just makes me sick now with his rabid attack mode brand of politics. Sure politics is tough business but McCain’s credibility is shot with this continued slander campaign.
    Colin Powell sees it. Powell understands the qualities we need in our president for the next 4-8 years. He sees the positive, energetic, charismatic and highly intelligent brand of leadership that Barack Obama would bring to the office. And although Powell tried to be charitable with McCain he understands just how bad McCain’s judgement has been during the campaign. That poor judgement was illustrated by McCain’s choice of running mate. God help us all if that woman ever becomes president. Thank you General Powell for supporting the right man for the job.

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  10. bud

    Dave and others show their true colors by continuing to attack an organization that is trying to get folks to participate in the American political system. The rabid neocon machine in this country will stop at nothing to try and disenfranchise millions of voters in the country. They understand that their only chance of winning is to make sure they keep the vote turnout as small as possible. They know that a majority of Americans yearn for the change Barack Obama calls for. But they want to keep things the same so that their rich minions can continue with the reverse Robin Hood philosophy that has enriched the thieves at places like Enron, AIG and Bear-Stearns.
    Well it ain’t gonna happen this time. We’re on to your scurilous tactics. ACORN is a fine organization that has been unjustly slandered by the GOP and it’s right-wing press cohorts on FOX News and the ultra right-wing talk radio shows.
    ACORN is no threat to democracy. The real threat comes from the blathering assault tactics of the GOP. It’s time to call them on their seedy tactics and take back American democracy from the right-wing thieves. It’s time to elect Barack Obama to the presidency.

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  11. Lee Muller

    If you like the fraud and extortion of ACORN, the anti-Americanism of Bill Ayers, and the racism of Jeremiah Wright, vote Obama.

    Reply
  12. Dave

    BUD!
    You keep saying ACORN is trying to get people involved to vote, I put forth if you do not have enough concern to get off your behind on your own, you don’t deserve to vote!
    You just can’t stand it that the facts are out and the truth is in the light for everyone to see, ACORN IS A CORRUPT organization staffed by lying, deceiving theives committing treason, at this point only a fool or a committed socialist would be affiliated with them.
    You say we try to keep the voter turnout as low as possible, I say that is just another lame excuse for someone like you to push…
    Rich, rich, rich, I assure you I am not monetarily rich. But I am no fool and I know when I’m being lied to. ACORN IS A CORRUPT RACIST ORGANIZATION IF THIEFS, LIARS AND SOCIALIST WHO EXTORT, LIE, CHEAT, AND ARE ATTEMPTING TO STEAL AN AMERICAN ELECTION!

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  13. Randy E

    Randy needs to do some homework on BHO’s rise to power – John
    Your petty invocation of Obama’s middle name undermines any seriousness you may be attempting with your post. One Lee is enough.
    how sinful, as though some place aren’t more pro-American than others – pm
    Some places (plural) are more pro-American? Do share PM. Rank some “areas of the country” based on the level of pro-Americanism. (I bet you side step this question which will indicate you can’t support Palin’s divisive and disturbing rhetoric.)
    BTW, your retort about bud and I reflectics simplistic provincialism. He and I actually disagree on a variety of social issues. Regardless, I respect his willingness to reflect on a level beyond simply parrotting what hears like some Ditto Head.

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  14. Randy E

    Dave, breath into a paper bag for a couple minutes while I explain to you the process that you apparently do not understand.
    People register to vote. Then they must actually cast their vote through some protocol once they are approved to vote. Mickey Mouse can register to vote by filling out a registration card. To actually cast a vote, Mickey must actually exist and actually take the steps to vote. Mickey registering is voter registration fraud. Mickey voting is voter fraud.
    ACORN is only involved in the registration process. BY LAW, when a fake registration card is submitted, they must process it but they flag it to alert the authorities.
    I know it’s easier to simply read from Rush’s script…

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  15. Dave

    Randy E, I do not need you or anyone else to waste my time trying to legitamize ACORN.
    ACORN IS A CORRUPT RACIST ORGANIZATION OF THIEFS, LIARS AND SOCIALIST WHO EXTORT, LIE, CHEAT, AND ARE ATTEMPTING TO STEAL AN AMERICAN ELECTION!
    we agree to disagree.

    Reply
  16. Mike Cakora

    With the financial meltdown still underway, confidence in the economy pretty much shot, and hope for a strong recover still over some distant horizon, it strikes me that John McCain is the right guy at the right time. Who else but an irascible old coot like McCain could take on the powers on Wall Street and in our nation’s capitol that are responsible for this mess? But it’s not just personality, it’s track record too, since McCain has tried to take on the miscreants in the past.
    The National Journal’s Stuart Taylor names some names in his report ”When Fannie And Freddie Opened The Floodgates”. Senators Chris Todd and Charles Schumer appear, as does Representative Barney Frank. They’re all Democrats, as are Fannie Mae’s former CEOs Franklin Raines and James Johnson, guy who happen to advise the Obama campaign. (Schumer should get special mention with his involvement in the IndyMa bank run at a time when contributors to his campaign were looking at investing in it.)
    Obama can’t touch these guys, so even the guilty Republicans will be able to sleep peacefully at night. But does anyone here think that McCain will let a little thing like party affiliation get in the way of his efforts to put heads on pikes? McCain’s up to the task, and if we’re gonna have heads on pikes, he’ll make sure they are the right heads.

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  17. haskell

    Much is made of McCain’s attack on Obama personally. Shame on McCain. He should attack the record …. er, uh, what record?
    “Present” votes Barack. The rest is empty promises. All that is left to attack is character. Thank you Mike Cakora for the Fannie/Freddie note above. One more time: the emperor has no clothes. His tailors are Raines, Frank, Dodd, Pelosi, etc. You may wish to check the definition of “True Believer”.

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  18. Robert mcwatty

    Thanks for you very fine article on John McCain and his family. I was also a U. S. Navy brat at Pearl in the mid 1950’s. My father was a hero to me and I feel that this man is also a true American hero (which Obama is not). I believe John McCain will make us a great President.

    Reply
  19. john

    Randy,
    I am sorry to offend you by referring to Obama by his initials, BHO. From now on I’ll use the more efficient B.O. How’s that?

    Reply
  20. p.m.

    Pardon the typo, Randy. I guess I lost my places.
    To answer your question, Palin’s rhetoric is only as “divisive and disturbing” as you make it. Her comment seemed innocent enough to me, meaning whatever audience she merely wanted to imply that whatever audience she had was more pro-American than the folks on the other side of the hill. In other words, what she said meant just about nothing, like most things politicians say.
    But, since cutting Sarah Palin to the quick is the liberal fashion, meaning we have to parse her statement, ranking pro-American places depends on how you define “American.”
    Yeah, it all depends on what the meaning of “is” is.
    Since I’m sure you found that statement OK for Clinton, but you’d consider it a sidestep for me, I’ll try to meet your challenge in a way you’ll find relevant.
    If “pro-American” means revering our founding fathers, who thought they were laying the groundwork for an agrarian democracy, then the South is more American than the Left Coast, and Alaska may be even more American than the South. The Midwest ranks high, too, with New England, the place it all started, ironically, ranked close to dead last.
    If American means politically correct, damning the founding fathers because they lived in a world where African-Americans didn’t have much standing, well, then reverse my rather imprecise rankings. It’s just red states amd blue states. The South finishes last.
    The thing is, Randy, it’s a safe bet Fayetteville, N.C., is more pro-American than the block Bill Ayers lives on. Some sign up to fight for their country; some fight for the freedom to be irresponsible.
    The choice is yours. I know who I’d rather have on my side.

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  21. p.m.

    Pardon me. That should have read, “Her comment seemed innocent enough to me, meaning she merely wanted to imply that whatever audience she had was more pro-American than the folks on the other side of the hill. In other words, what she said meant just about nothing, like most things politicians say.”

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  22. Vince Ward

    Brad,
    I usually don’t do blogs, because I find them mainly to be opportunties for narcissists to imagine that the entire www is reading their words with bated breath. Today is an exception, because I wanted you (I don’t care about the others, who undoubtedly will accuse me of be narcissistic myself if they read that) to know that today’s column was beautiful, eloquent, from-the-heart, possibly the best piece you’ve ever written.
    I happen to think McCain himself would be by far the worst of two disasters as president, while feeling the same immense compassion and respect for his history of and continued service to his country that moves you. Your piece is an enactment of a virture that, were the equally rabid anti-democrat republicans and anti-republican democrats able to feel it, go a long way to reducing the destructive polarization of politics: compassion/respect for the personal stories of people with different views. With its companion piece, “Barack Like Me’ from last week, it’s the kind of “editorializing” that can help reweave this unraveling world.
    Thank you for writing with such courage, integrity, and personal humanity.
    May The Force Be With You,
    Vince Ward

    Reply
  23. Randy E

    PM, who else lives on Bill Ayers’ block? So those who live near him are guilty by proximity? Perhaps I am parsing your words too?
    Feel free to continue with the justification for her statement (continuing to affirm my point). Vote for Palin. I hope she’s the star you make her out to be. I would love to see her run a full campaign in the 2012 GOP primary (for a chance to run against Obama). She won’t get to cherry pick her rally locations nor the media she’ll face (aside from SNL) and will wither like an Alaskan snowwoman in a pro-American North Carolina heat as she faces the scrutiny she’s hiding from now.

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  24. Mike Cakora

    These folks are not affiliated with ACORN or Obama — they say they tried but failed to affiliate – but you have to admire their ambition and perseverance. Perhaps they picked that up at Oxford.

    By late summer, the house at 2885 Brownlee Ave. had become headquarters for a group of 20- and 30-somethings who came to Ohio with a lofty goal: to register as many as 10,000 new voters in traditionally Democratic precincts on the East Side.
    About 200,000 newly registered Ohio voters have been flagged by the secretary of state because their names, addresses, driver’s-license numbers, and/or Social Security numbers don’t match other state or federal records.
    Likely among them are the 12 people who have registered to vote since August using the address of the 1,175-square-foot Brownlee Avenue house.
    Some of them already have voted. Others requested absentee ballots but have yet to return them to the Franklin County Board of Elections.
    None of them, however, seems to have ties to Ohio — no close relatives, no public-records trail, no obvious intention to stay in the state past the election.
    Most of them grew up on the East Coast, attended colleges there and registered to vote in their home counties. It is not illegal to be registered to vote in more than one state. But it is illegal to vote in more than one or to vote in a state that is not your permanent residence.
    The owner of the house also is coming under scrutiny. He has voted in Ohio even though he has lived and worked in New York since 2004.
    All 13 are under investigation by Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien. None has any apparent ties to ACORN, the Association of Community Activists for Reform Now, whose voter-registration activity has come under scrutiny in Ohio and other states.
    “My take is that they haven’t come here attempting to deceive anyone,” O’Brien said. “They were under the impression they were entitled to vote. That’s how they were reading the law.”

    You ought to read the whole thing. At least somebody in Oho is cracking down. And it’s about time: Since 1953, only six people have been sent to prison for voter fraud in Ohio.

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  25. Phillip

    Enjoyable column, Brad.
    The reason I’ve found the McCain/Palin campaign especially appalling is that I still think somewhere in there McCain is still, to borrow Mike Cakora’s phrase, “a heckuva guy,” and so I am doubly disappointed because I expected more from him. It wouldn’t have surprised me from a W, or a vapid empty vessel like Romney, or a nasty operator like Rudy, but from McCain it surprised me.
    It will be fascinating to read, some months after the election, some post-mortems about the inner struggles not just within the McCain campaign, but within McCain himself over the direction he ended up taking in this election. In the end, I think he just had to make too much of a Faustian bargain in order to solidify the support of the “base”—the tragedy being that just when he finally won over that base, it turned out to be too small, too far right, too mean-spirited, and too much out-of-sync with mainstream American values to win this election.
    My hope is that he receives an electoral rebuke large enough to serve as its own “just desserts” for the direction he and his execrable running mate have chosen to take in recent weeks. (Perhaps Gov. Palin can then ponder whether America itself is not “pro-American” by her standards.) Having received that defeat (which would then represent, finally, a repudiation of the old-style cultural politics of division) we might be able to go back to the longer view of McCain the public servant, and appreciate the body of work rather than the dented reputation he’s garnering in the late stages of the campaign.

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  26. Harpo

    What a surprise that colin powell, aka affirmative action mulatto promoted well beyond his abilities, should high five knuckle bump with the obamaoid, like bros from the hood, youknowwhatimsaying!!
    Tomorrow, catch colin on oprah with his britches down by his a$$ cheeks letting the authentic bros knows he’s what you be saying, down with it!!
    Pathetic negros don’t get they are behind the curve; only self hating whites keep them in the race.

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  27. Bart

    Brad,
    Good article. Well written. Same comments apply to article about Obama. Equal time for both candidates. Thanks for your perspective on both men.
    It is a shame we have to chose between the two, the choices should be much better. America deserves better than this or is this what we have come to and as a result, we will get the government we deserve come election day?

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  28. Lee Muller

    Doug, since the media has pushed candidates into nomination who favor massive immigration, we have little choice for President on that issue. We can work to defeat double-crossers like Lindsay Graham, who bring no offsetting positions to the table.
    Obama favors immigration by poor, illiterate non-whites as part of his openly expressed hatred for whites and his desire to rot American culture, along with creating a new racial base.
    McCain and Graham favor immigration because they only listen to a few corrupt businessmen who are willing to sell out America for a quick buck off low wages today.
    Ron Paul and many libertarians have the wrong-headed notion that open borders are part of “free trade”. They are simply naive, and helping authoritarians like Obama, who will work to outlaw their political activities.

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  29. p.m.

    Randy, Ayers’ block was a figure of speech. So you live there, and bud does, too.
    Phillip, congratulations on finding a picture of some black and white children at an Obama rally in Fayetteville. Do you suppose they registered to vote while they were there?

    Reply
  30. Lee Muller

    Indianapolis has over 1,200,000 registered voters, and only 600,000 residents, including children. Most of the voters are new this year, registered Democrats, who won the primary for Obama.
    Obama stole the primaries, and now the election. He is unfit for office.

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  31. Brad Warthen

    This is just a silly aside, but did my lead anecdote make anybody think of the running gag about McCain being the crabby old guy who yells, “You kids get off my lawn?”
    Because of my experience with McCain’s actual old man, I’ve always had more reason than most to smile at that joke… Alla you kids, get offa my tennis court!

    Reply
  32. slugger

    When the average American goes into the booth to vote he/she would hopefully have done his homework and will cast his vote for the person for president that will continue the foundation set by our forefathers.
    Could we say that we have come to a crossroads in the future of our nation by electing an individual that has been groomed to be president by a socialist/communist organization? Obama is not a leader. He has followed the dictates of individuals that would bring down our country (no point in going into detail).
    We have a candidate in McCain that has proven to us that he will sacrifice and endure all manner of suffering to maintain this nation for our children as he has known liberty and justice for all in a republic form of government established by the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
    There is nothing in the background of Obama that makes him a leader. He has been a follower all his life and whoever is pushing his buttons will be the leader, not Obama.
    God Bless America. Vote for McCain.

    Reply
  33. Lee Muller

    Obama = WAR
    As Joe Biden said today, the election of Obama surely invites another attack by Al Qaeda to test his response.
    As Israel said, the election of Obama surely means another major war, when Israel has to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before Obama gets into office.

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  34. Garp

    Slugger,
    Which flavor Kool-Aid have you been drinking? Limbaugh Lime or O’Reilly Orange?
    How about all you Obama haters come up with a list of the things you are absolutely sure Obama will do in his first four years in office? Then we’ll be able to judge your fear mongering and racist predictions.

    Reply
  35. p.m.

    You know, Vince, I think you have something there. Just as soon as you learn to spell “bigot,” you and McCallister should proclaim yourselves judge and jury.
    Will the black bigots get sponsors, too?

    Reply
  36. Phillip

    Slugger asks, “Could we say that we have come to a crossroads in the future of our nation by electing an individual that has been groomed to be president by a socialist/communist organization?”
    Would that be Columbia University or Harvard, slugger? Maybe the US Senate.
    “Obama is not a leader.” You know, you’re right…not many people noticed this but in this picture from the St. Louis rally the other day Obama is actually the LAST guy bringing up the rear in the crowd of 100,000…they’re actually all following some other guy way up at the far end of the picture. Obama is just following, cause, well, you know, he’s not a leader and all that.
    “He has followed the dictates of individuals that would bring down our country (no point in going into detail).” Oh, slugger, don’t hold out on us. We want the detail: let’s see, that would be Paul Volcker, Warren Buffett, Dick Lugar, Colin Powell, Joe Biden. among others. Yeah these guys are real anarchist bums.

    Reply
  37. Lee Muller

    The list of Obama’s socialist agenda can be found in the legislation he has voted for, and the radical legislation sponsored by Democrats but defeated by the GOP and a few moderate Democrats during the last 28 years since Reagan.
    Any of you Obama supporters want to bet real money that Obama and the Democrats won’t try to take away more guns, restrict their critics on the radio and television, raise taxes on more people, and run large deficits?
    I know you don’t like to spend your own money, so bet your next stimulus check; it is someone else’s money the government stole. You’ll never miss it. Isn’t that what socialists said about the guy who earned the money?

    Reply
  38. p.m.

    There’s something happening here
    What it is ain’t exactly clear
    A passel of posts have disappeared
    Like this election, everything’s going weird.
    We better stop, hey, what’s that sound?
    Everybody look what’s going down.
    P.S. What I done said once I ain’t gonna say again.

    Reply
  39. p.m.

    But now it appears I need not repeat myself. The posts have returned, or at least some of them.
    Computer hijinx. Hijinks. Hi, Jinx, where’s Maggie?
    Doug, I don’t know. Do you see Barack Obama as the heir apparent to George Washington? Would Ben Franklin have backed Ron Paul?

    Reply
  40. p.m.

    Should that have been “A passel of post HAS disappeared”?
    Whatever, they’re all back.
    My bad. My computer, I guess.
    No cybernaut am I.

    Reply
  41. Lee Muller

    Come on, Obama followers – bet me you next stimulus handout.
    What’s the matter? Don’t you trust the messiah to deliver the goodies?

    Reply
  42. slugger

    To Phillip Bush,
    Maybe you should take your head out of the clouds that surround all that art, culture and blogging that consumes you and catch up with the real world.
    I do not mean this in a ugly nasty way that you attacked me. You just need to get a real life.

    Reply
  43. Phillip

    …and pray tell, slugger, why does my posting comments on this blog make me less in touch with the real world than you, who also posts comments on this site?
    Folks go back and forth with sharp political disagreements on this site, but rarely have I seen anyone make any reference to someone’s profession, especially as not being a “real life,” until you. Congratulations. Since I make no effort to hide my identity, I’m sure you have found that my life is indeed quite “real.” Although if by “real” you mean “boring and uneventful and never meeting new people and seeing very little of the world,” well then, yes, I suppose in that sense my life has been very unreal.
    Now, do you want to refute whatever political point I was making or do you just want to take personal swipes at someone whenever they disagree with you?

    Reply
  44. Lee Muller

    Obama refuses to release names of donors.
    Some names reported to the FEC have over 1,000 contributions, totally amounts which are far illegal.
    The FEC is investigating $32,500,000 in online donations from Arab countries.

    Reply

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