As we approach the end of an astonishing campaign season, one thing grows clear: John McCain’s campaign has suffered a string of disastrous decisions. These mistakes have overwhelmed even the campaign’s trump card—its image of John McCain as war hero. And not just an ordinary war hero but one who was captured by enemies, imprisoned near death, and “resurrected” to return home with visible wounds that marked his sacrifice.
Aside from the patriotic fervor and powerful religious themes this tale evokes in American Christians who believe that redemptive violence lies at the core of their faith, McCain’s campaign correctly counted on the media treating the image of war hero as if it stood outside history, beyond journalistic scrutiny. The “swift boating” of John Kerry four years ago left the media reluctant to engage in legitimate examination of John McCain’s claims.