Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Profile in Courage: John McCain

In 1954-55 John Fitzgerald Kennedy a freshman US Senator from Massachusetts, wrote a book profiling eight of his historical Senatorial colleagues, such men as John Quincy Adams, Sam Houston, and Robert A. Taft. Instead of focusing on their storied careers, John F. Kennedy chose to illustrate their acts of integrity, when they stood alone against tremendous political and social pressure for what they felt was right.

The profiled senators crossed party lines and/or defied the public opinion of their constituents to do what they felt was right and suffered severe criticism and losses in popularity because of their actions.

The book, which was published in early 1956 and won a coveted Pulitzer Prize, was claimed to have been written when Kennedy was laid low by back trouble, but it has been suggested that it was largely written by Kennedy aide Theodore Sorenson.

More important than who was responsible for writing the book, is the claim that Kennedy used his back trouble to avoid voting in the 1954 censure motion in respect of fellow Irish-American Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was admired for his stand against "communists," by Kennedy's father Joseph. McCarthy was the godfather of the first child of JFK's brother, Robert Kennedy.

As Kennedy proved himself, brave senators who preceded him and succeeded him are scarce.

One of the latter is Senator John McCain.

List of senators profiled in Profiles in Courage from Wikipedia:
It is a rare politician who doesn't bend with the wind and the more common feature is the individual who erases what were accepted by the public as passionately held positions to achieve power. Irish Green Party leader John Gormley is an excellent illustration of this.

More often than not, the brave politician pays a big price for honesty and courage.
Senator John McCain's campaign for the US Presidency is imploding.

McCain has strongly criticised the Bush Administration's execution of the war in Iraq and as a past victim of torture, has also lambasted the tacit support of the Administration for torture of prisoners.

His son has joined the armed services as he did.

It would have been easier to join those who are calling for an early withdrawal from Iraq because of political expediency rather than principle.

As a recent Financial Times editorial noted: Sadly, the finest men do not always make the most successful politicians.

Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy: The Implosion of an Irish American Demagogue

The Rise and Fall of an Irish-American Bully