Merriam-Webster defines hero as:
: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities
: a person who is greatly admired
It has no specific definition of “war hero,” which is unfortunate for the Republican Party. Because the GOP really needs it.
Currently, the GOP is hailing Sen. John McCain as a war hero. As most people are familiar, in 1967, McCain became a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. To most people, surviving years of alleged torture would qualify one as a war hero.
But it is funny how this honor is quickly removed when the GOP finds it necessary.
In 2000, candidate George W. Bush went in for the kill in South Carolina by slandering McCain every which way he could. As detailed in a Vanity Fair piece, Dubya’s campaign made the mud and played in it. They called into question McCain’s sanity to hold office due to his POW experience. But the GOP wanted Dubya to win. And let’s not forget that they pulled the same stunt with John Kerry just four years later, that McCain opposed.
Yet when McCain wanted the White House in 2000, who did he call? The same team that slandered him.
Up until that moment, I felt sympathy for McCain, a war hero who often is the loudest voice to support veterans after they are sent abroad to fight the wars that those in DC create. As the daughter and goddaughter of veterans, McCain was a hero to me, too. But apparently McCain wanted the White House so badly, he was ok with hiring the team who slandered not just him, but his whole family.
Fast forward through almost a decade of the GOP calling into question the citizenship of our current president, and we have Donald Trump using an old playbook. Except this time, he is not the chosen candidate, like Dubya was. This time, the GOP rises up in horror to defend the honor of a man they once trashed themselves.
So save me your outrage, Jeb… Your brother twice slandered the names of Vietnam veterans on his way to the White House. Ditto for every other GOP presidential candidate who did not stand up against the previous slander of John McCain and John Kerry.
Politics is a dirty game, and nowhere is it clearer than how the GOP treats John McCain.