I was going to blog (I shouldn't even call it blogging really, since I can barely post once a month!) about the "that one" heard around the world from last night's debate. But the more I think about John McCain, the more I understand his plight. Before I continue, I should state that I subscribe to a particular notion (I borrowed it from somewhere to be sure, but the person or place escapes my memory so just forgive me in advance here) that 'there is some good in the worst of us and some bad in the best of us'; and I don't think John is on either of the far sides of this particular spectrum.
All things considered, I think he is a relatively decent man. And he is being faced with a serious dilemma: John McCain really wants to be POTUS; he truly thinks that he knows what is best for the country that he loves, the country that he suffered for. And he is not winning this race right now. He is looking at a very real possibility that he might loose this election come November. It is not then surprising why his campaign is resorting to the personal attacks and hate-baiting antics of late. It is because he knows that he will have to appeal to the worst in the electorate in order to have a shot at the presidency.
But John is also facing the very real possibility that even this might not be enough to win. And if that is the case, not only would he have lost the election, John would have lost his own identity. His sense of pride and dignity; he would have permanently damaged his personal and professional reputation, and lost the respect and admiration of so many, regardless of what they thought of his party or positions. And this 'hurts like brand new shoes' for John. This is a man who has always put himself out there as a stand up kind of guy and a decent politician. This is the man who wrote that he "would be held to a higher standard…. I was especially obligated not to disguise my own selfishness as counterfeit patriotism….; for the politician who promises to put patriotism before selfishness, who promises not to lie, and then reneges, does more harm to the public trust than does the politician who makes no issue of his virtue. (– John McCain, Worth the Fighting For, Chapter 12, “Straight Talk,” page 379, hat tip to News One).
John as you look up at the bar of the higher standard and wonder "how have I sunk so low" just know that I feel your pain. Truth be told, we've all worn a pair of new shoes in our lifetime.