Andrew Sullivan has been questioning McCain’s cross-in-the-sand story. You know – that heart-tugging tale that McCain tells at every event he goes to – in order to demonstrate his Christian faith (and mention his bravery as a POW). And if you have a story like that in your life, you have every right to tell it.
But as Sullivan has been pointing out, McCain’s story is a bit suspicious. He once told the story as if it had happened to someone else. He had never told the story before 1999 despite his numerous public statements, descriptions, and essays about his time in captivity. And the story has gradually changed since it’s first telling in 1999, resembling more and more the story Chuck Colson told about Alexander Solzhenitzen.
Andrew Sullivan – who has been very supportive of McCain over the years – and supported him in the Republican primary – has been making the case in respectful terms, always trying to give McCain the benefit of the doubt.
The McCain campaign, with it as ever, responds in a blog post:
It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from the comfort of mom’s basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others. John McCain has often said he witnessed a thousand acts of bravery while he was imprisoned, and though not every one has been submitted into the public record, they are remembered by the men who were there (one such only recently reported by Karl Rove though it escaped mention in any of Senator McCain’s books). But as Swindle said, this is a “desperate group of people trying to make something out of nothing.”
Of course, the article the McCain blog links to explains how reticent McCain is, always refraining from telling stories about himself – which is why he answered every question he was asked by Pastor Rick Warren Sunday night with an anecdote that made him seem like a G. I. Joe. Telling such anecdotes is what McCain does – and what Karl Rove claims in his op-ed piece that McCain does not do enough (because he is so modest!).
Of course, what is most telling about this McCain post is that he references a role-playing game from the 1970s.