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Aug 21, 2008

The Definitive Answer To: "How Many Houses Did John Own?"

Mccain Hanoi Hilton 1

The way McCain's people are now compulsively using his POW experience as an all-purpose shield, the question: "How many houses did John own?" must inevitably link back to his time as a prisoner.

So, either the question is an insult because he served his country in captivity and, thus, doesn't deserve to be subjected to such (gotcha) questions, or else his time spent as a prisoner in Hanoi must contribute to the confusion as to where he's lived otherwise, and for how long.

One thing today's McCain housing controversy also does is clarify an important element regarding McCain's domesticity and sense of place.  If you follow the accounts, you'll see that the real estate in his second marriage, including its acquisition and its disposition, has been uniquely controlled by Cindy.  As Politico quotes from a June article from Vogue (and pay special attention to the personal pronouns):

"When I bought the first one, my husband, who is not a beach person, said, 'Oh this is such a waste of money; the kids will never go....'" . Then it got to the point where they used it so much I couldn't get in the place. So I bought another one."

With McCain spending the bulk of his time in Washington with the homes primarily Cindy's, questions about where McCain lives, exactly, and how strong his emotional tie remains to his five-and-a-half year Hanoi "residence" really aren't that far-fetched.

It's not an exaggeration to say that John McCain has been "all over the place."  McCain was stationed in Meridian, Mississippi when he married Carol in July '65, who was then living in Philadelphia.  Going back-and-forth,  McCain then transferred to Jacksonville in September '66, the month his daughter Sidney was born.  He then deployed to Vietnam in mid-'67 and was captured in October.

In '73, after he was released, the itinerant, Canal Zone-born McCain lived with his first wife in Jacksonville.  That summer, he moved to Washington to attend the National War College at Fort McNair.  In the fall of '74, he returned to Jacksonville where his marriage fell apart.  In early '77, he moved to Washington to work in the Navy's Senate Liaison Office in a job involving constant travel (including trips to Arizona and South Florida to rendezvous with Cindy.)  Then, in 1980, he got divorced, married Cindy and, in March of '81, he moved to Phoenix where he initially worked for the Hensley family before getting elected to Congress in '82, commencing a life, to this day, lived in multiple place.

Given that story, this shot of McCain in 2000 showing the prison to his son, Jack, evokes just how much the Hanoi Hilton -- where McCain dwells so often in his speeches and his anecdotes -- actually does seems to resonate as a "primary residence" -- those cell walls representing the last, longest home that McCain could call his own.

(image: David Guttenfelder/AP.  Hoa Lo prison, Hanoi. April 26, 2000)


Wow, Bag. Great insight and observations.
Little nostalgic stockholm syndrome going on.
Sad and tragic for sure.

"....there is dust all over my shoes! DAMN IT!"

Interesting post. On another matter--a "missing" image I have had in my mind is that of McCain's adopted daughter who is definitely very, very dark skinned. He poses with the blonde kids but this girl, I think, is purposely left out. She's a teenager.

Interesting time line. For about a year in 1981-82 former POW McCain worked for the first and only time in private industry — for his father-in-law. These Modern Republicans sure do love their Get Out Of Jail Free cards. Mr Bush's Born Again status not only granted him absolution from the wild decades of squandering his substantial Bush birthright, it also conferred upon him competencies for which there is no discernible evidence — compassionate conservative, uniter-not-divider, etc.

Former POW McCain's well worn Special Handling talisman not only excuses a mediocre academic and early professional career where his lineage played a great role in his advancements, but continues to provide cover for behavior that we don't normally tolerate from public figures. The recent Edwards adultery scandal produced a very different reaction than McCain's openly adulterous actions leading to the breakup of his first family.

All he needs to do is click the heels of his Ferragamos together and repeat, "There's no place like home... there's no place like home... there's no place like home."

Yea, great observation. I'm an OIF vet myself. Was part of the invasion of Iraq and every day since then I think about it.. Im sure its the same for McCain in his experience as a POW. Unfortunate thing that happened to him but it's nothin I would want in a President.

I'm sure his experience will always be fresh on his mind for the rest of his life. With that, his decisions as Commander In Chief could easily be comprimised..

What I like is that the photo of JMcC echoes the photo in the ad for Dorthea Lange Photos on the same page. It is a lovely juxtaposition.

Super insight. There's a play by Brian Friel called "The Home Place." Set in Ireland in the late 19th century before independence, it's mainly about the Anglo-Irish--how they feel their "home place" is Ireland even though they aren't natives to the island. One of the subplots involves an Anglo-Irish phreonologist who goes around the countryside measuring the heads of the natives and reaching absurd conclusions about the head size and intelligence. . .

Rootless McCain.

ref : “this shot... showing the prison to his son, Mikhoyl, evokes just how much the [concentration camp] -- where [his father] dwells so often in his speeches and his anecdotes -- actually does seems to resonate as a "primary residence" -- those cell walls representing the last, longest home that [the holocaust survivor] could call his own.

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