John McCain puts his experience in the Navy and as a prisoner of war to work as a major selling point in his campaign for president. This focus on his early years takes attention away from his four terms in the Senate and his present political commitments. McCain's overall legislative record has hardly been exemplary. He acted as a political maverick for a while; now he follows the lead of George W. Bush so closely that a McCain presidency can reasonably be seen as a third term for Bush.
Based on his military experience and his willingness to publicize it, many people conclude that John McCain must be a bulldog supporter of veterans. Remarkably this is not true. McCain is far from loyal to them. Unlike numerous service members past and present, he is not there for his buddies.
Consider the difference between McCain's votes and the stands taken by major veterans organizations.
American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars: Both groups strongly supported the Webb-Hagel Twenty-First Century G.I. Bill that McCain tirelessly opposed.
Disabled Veterans of America: 20% rating for McCain. Only two other senators had ratings this low.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: Grade of D for McCain.
Vietnam Veterans of America: McCain voted against VVA in 15 key votes and voted with them for only 8.Many people who have never worn a uniform do what they can in ways large and small to help veterans. John McCain, who campaigns as a veteran and former prisoner of war, has had the rare privilege of sitting in the United States Senate for four terms, yet he demonstrates little concern for his fellow veterans. It looks as though right wing ideology has replaced loyalty to his buddies. If this is how McCain as senator responds to those with whom he claims a special relationship, then imagine how he will treat the rest of us should he become president.