A true American hero, rest in peace
Posted this on Facebook this morning: Here is how you unfriend Blaska. Slander the late John McCain as a traitor. Spread the provable lie that President Nixon pardoned him. Repeat the disproved urban myth that McCain caused the fatal fire aboard the U.S.S. Forrestal. I will unfriend you immediately or, if you feel compelled to libel the dead, pro-actively unfriend me now. Thank you.
You can disagree with his politics. This bloggeur was disappointed in Sen. McCain’s vote on ObamaCare. And the McCain-Feingold gag on free speech was deservedly gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2011 Citizens United v F.E.C. decision. But John McCain’s service to his country as a Navy aviator, as a tortured prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton (contemporaneously with the late Don Heiliger of Stoughton), his service in the U.S. Senate and as a candidate for the presidency mark the man as a true American hero (Donald Trump and his Trump bots notwithstanding).
Brian Schimming, currently COO at the WI Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), has served the Republican cause since his college days at Whitewater. Among those duties was staffing various governors and candidates. This is Brian’s remembrance of U.S. Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday 08-25-18.
By Brian Schimming
I didn’t know John McCain personally but I have a have a few McCain memories.
When he was running for president he did a town hall style rally at the EAA Museum, which at that time had a Navy plane in their collection. My recollection was that he had to land at Appleton and motorcade down because Oshkosh didn’t have plane de-icing equipment. He had secured the 2008 presidential nomination but have not accepted Secret Service protection yet. He arrived, we took him to the hold room.
While I certainly respect his service, I’d be less than candid if I didn’t say that in the three events I had some role, a little of John McCain could go a long, long way. He could be, let us say, fairly direct when he didn’t like something.
He was a little chippy when we pulled him out of the car and when we were in hold he was on the phone with whomever and he practiced just how direct he could be. I’m standing there thinking this might be the longest 1½ hours of my life.
Then, just as we were getting to take him out to the stage his 4-foot-nothing communications director turns to him and combs his hair. I remembered that it was a task he could no longer do himself thanks to being tied up and repeatedly beaten 40 years earlier at the Hanoi Hilton. I have to admit, whatever aggravation I felt with him the previous few minutes melted at that moment.
Several, about 10 as I recall, yellow tee-shirted AFSCME employees had come to the event to make themselves seen and were taking seats about 50 feet from the stage. An off-duty Winnebago County sheriff’s deputy came and checked with me whether that was okay, I said fine.
Town Hall event, about 600 people as I recall, went as expected. We brought him down off the stage and started working the rope line that went down the left side of the hall, again, with us doing crowd control and moving him towards the media staging in back to do a post-presser [ press conference ].
Right on the rope line were two of the yellow-jacketed AFSCME people, and I’m thinking, “This could be interesting.” As we get get to them working our way down, McCain says, “Where’s the rest of you? I saw you out there!” They point to the rest of the group about 20 feet behind them in the throng of people, McCain then turns and dives toward them in the crowd, with them suddenly looking a little nervous at the approaching war hero.
He says, “Let’s take a picture with the whole group!” with them clearly looking a little unnerved. He then makes his way back, I lifted up the rope for him to come under, and he turns and gives me a little “I-just-showed-those @!*!” wink. McCain 1, Protestors 0. I laughed out loud then and have since thinking about it.
We finally get back to the media platform for the then-ritual after-event press availability and he apologizes for being a little late to the event. He promptly blamed the delay on his 4-foot-nothing communications person because she didn’t get back to campaign hotel until early that morning, suggesting her walk-of-shame, lack of morals had something to do with the late arrival. That had the whole place roaring in laughter.
There’s a few other stories, nothing dramatic or earthshaking, but that’s one that I think about today.
Speaking of slandering the dead: Kudos to The Capital Times for printing “Porter Butts and the persecution of a dead man.”