DADT Hearings and Life Story Reveal John McCain is Bad for Unit Cohesion

As you may know if you’ve been following the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hearings (read our recap of Thursday’s hearings here), John McCain has gone insane like he needs an Intervention insane. I don’t even know what kind of Intervention but just to be safe I want the gay guy AND Candy Finnigan. I imagine his situation is similar to the feeding-tube girl.

But first — today, a story from Former U.S Marine Corps Sergeant Justin Elzie, the first-ever Marine to be investigated and discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. See when Elzie got discharged in 1993, he fought it and he won temporarily — he was able to serve openly for four years before getting discharged.

So basically what we have here is someone who has had the unique experience of serving as an openly gay man and he says he knows from personal experience that a repeal “will work.”

Elzie says he encountered a few problems at first, but once the press died down, “It became business as usual. I had a platoon of marines. I was a platoon sergeant. We went out in the field and fox holes, and really, after a while it just because sort of a non-issue.”

However, because Ezlie’s story is a Fox News article, they’d like to remind you of John McCain’s favorite statistic — “almost 60% of the combat Marine soldiers surveyed say: if there was an openly gay soldier in their immediate unit, it would affect them negatively to very negatively.” — and then introduces Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, who testifies from absolutely no personal experience whatsoever that repealing DADT would be a giant disaster.

In closing, Elzie says: “I came out to make a difference and show folks that there are gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. I really wanted to get that message out and to change the conversation and improve the Marine Corps.”

John McCain is probs hunting for his very own Justin Elzie on the other side — a Joe the Plumber, if you will, of the DADT trial.

On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid compared John McCain to Lucy from Peanuts — as you may or may not know, Lucy always snags the football away from Charlie Brown just when he’s about to kick it. See, Exhibit A:


So basically the football is equality, Charlie Brown is the government, and Lucy hates gay people. Here, Jon Stewart illustrates how precisely ridiculous John McCain has become:


The video from Friday’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hearing (in 9 minutes) is below — basically what happens is a number of high-ranking military officials/advisors make a series of reasonable points regarding the impact of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on the troops and John McCain pulls everything that’s ever been stored in his ass out of his ass and lays it on the table in front of him for everyone to look at. Then he looks up and a tiny robotmonkey inside him asks questions culled at random from a prehistoric version of Cranium.

Notice that every time John McCain speaks, you feel like throwing up in your mouth:

In response to why the survey didn’t ask takers to say if the US “should” repeal DADT, Jeh Johnson, co-author of the report, says… because that’s not what they were asked to survey! And also, that’s the part for congress to decide.

Comparing McCain to Lucy from Peanuts was not all the smack Harry Reid talked on Saturday:

“First, Sen. McCain said he would seriously consider repealing it if the military leadership thought we should, and [when] the military leadership said it should be repealed, he pulled away the football. Then Sen. McCain said he would need to see a study from the Pentagon. When the Pentagon produced the study saying repeal would have no negative effect at all, he pulled away the football again.

And his latest trick, he said yesterday that he opposed repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ a proposal that would be a great stride forward for both equality and military readiness … because of the economy. I repeat, the senior senator from Arizona said he couldn’t support repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ because of the economy. I have no idea what he’s talking about and no one else does either.”

This is getting officially out of control, right? And once upon a time, as you may have heard, John McCain didn’t suck. But actually — he kinda did.

Did you read the 2008 Rolling Stone article Make-Believe Maverick? It offers the best insight to McCain’s deal than anything I’ve seen before or since:

“[The Real McCain] has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather…”

“…few politicians have so actively, or successfully, crafted their own myth of greatness.”

When precisely did McCain lose his way? According to Rolling Stone — he never really had it:

…many leading Republicans who once admired McCain see his recent contortions to appease the GOP base as the undoing of a maverick. “John McCain’s ambition overrode his basic character,” says Rita Hauser, who served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 2001 to 2004. But the truth of the matter is that ambition is John McCain’s basic character. Seen in the sweep of his seven-decade personal history, his pandering to the right is consistent with the only constant in his life: doing what’s best for himself. To put the matter squarely: John McCain is his own special interest.

Described as a hot-tempered, hard-drinking “lousy student” with a “darkly misogynistic streak,” McCain lived a “charmed existence” at boarding school due to “his grandfather’s name and his father’s forbearance.” He later graduated from Annapolis 894th in a class of 899. McCain’s pedigree enabled him to advance in the world without ever having to earn it. And he knew how to charm the grown-ups, given a chance.

Despite crashing two planes in training, McCain ended up in Vietnam after his Dad pulled strings to get him there — McCain wanted to be a war hero, see.

While abroad, McCain’s plane set off an explosion which set off a chain reaction of bombs which eventually created a “devastating inferno” that would kill 134 of the carrier’s 5,000-man crew and injure 161. He skipped out on dealing with the fire or its aftermath, preferring to hobnob with a visiting New York Times reporter who’d later become a part of his press “base.”

Later, McCain’s Mom had to pull strings to keep McCain in the Navy despite his excess demerits.

Also worth looking at is the truth about what happened in Hanoi. Eventually:

The reckless, womanizing hotshot who leaned on family connections for advancement before his capture in Vietnam emerged a reckless, womanizing celebrity who continued to pull strings..”

So where the fuck does he get off worrying about a few homogays?

Perhaps he lacks faith that the gay men would be able to keep it in their pants — after all, he used tours to cheat on his first wife Carol (he met Cindy while still married) and selected Rio for his sponsored trip abroad because he figured himself more likely to get “ass” there. Furthermore, McCain preferred the luxury of off-duty cross-country flights to seduce women — although adultery is a court-martial offense. There have also been rumors of McCain being romantically involved with subordinates.

So what we have here is a real stand-up guy, right?

From The Mystery of John McCain in The Atlantic:

I have been trying to think of a comparable senior public figure who, in the later stages of his or her career, narrowed rather than broadened his view of the world and his appeals to history’s judgment. I’m sure there are plenty (on two minutes’ reflection, I’ll start with Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh), but the examples that immediately come to mind go the other way.

So, currently the GOP is attempting to push DADT into next year by requiring two weeks of debate on a survey that was supposed to more or less end the conversation:

Since 1990, the Senate has never spent anywhere close to four or five weeks debating that bill. Four times its taken longer than seven days — thus approaching or exceeding the two week threshold.

This would typically be the part of the story where John McCain, in lieu of actually winning this fight, would call his father and get him to come get John what he wanted. But since that can’t happen, McCain will probably skip to his second line of defense — courting the press and misrepresenting his own life and beliefs in order to appear like a “rebel” unafraid to speak up. The only problem?

The press isn’t listening to his bullsh*t like they used to. From The Tuscon Sentinel:

Among Republicans, perhaps no member is more of a sissy than John McCain. (He may have shown some stones 40 years ago, but not for a good long time.) McCain definitively proved his cowardice when he recruited Sarah Palin – at risk to the nation – in a rapacious attempt to salvage his failed presidential campaign. Further evidence arrived during his recent senatorial campaign, when he threw Arizona Hispanics (and Arizona’s largest trading partner) squarely under the campaign bus. It turns out “The Maverick” is really The Panderer.

Senator McCain engages in senseless and spineless logic, first hiding behind the troops and claiming he’d support repeal of DADT if they did… Discrimination adds nothing and costs something. Ending discrimination costs nothing and adds something. What’s the conundrum here, John? A squirmy McCain is simply trying to prop up the illusion that he is a brave man while fleeing in panic from a drill-field phalanx of relentless, creeping gayness.

Recent headlines regarding John McCain include:

+ John McCain Stands with Discrimination
+ John McCain Slightly Less Obnoxious During Second ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Hearing
+ John McCain is the Biggest Sissy in the Senate
+ It’s scary to imagine President John McCain
+ John McCain Embarrasses America For A Second Day In a Row
+ The Shamelessness Of John McCain
+ Get Over It, John McCain
+ John McCain’s Sad, Permanent Crusade Against Gays in the Military
+ If You Want To Watch John McCain Be a Prick All Day, Here’s The Senate Armed Services Committee’s Live Feed
+ John McCain , it’s not your daddy’s Navy. Or yours
+ This week in crazy: John McCain

Not a maverick among them.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3228 articles for us.


  1. I am not a fan of McCain at all – at all. But the fire on the Ferrestal was not his fault, from any account I’ve read – it involved a rocket misfire of ordnance that wasn’t even on his airplane, FFS. Also, he was in the Navy, not the Army. And finally – I think every pilot who ended up in Hanoi as a POW, and especially those who never broke and “confessed – was a hero.

    I don’t doubt he is a self-aggrandizing misogynist – I dislike him for that as well as his homophobia, and can only imagine what his take on trans people is. But I think going after his war service is a mistake. Whatever his reasons he went in harm’s way, and suffered for it.

    just my .02.

    • yes, as you may have noticed i have no idea what i’m talking about and therefore am supremely bad for website cohesion. i’ve made the changes, thank you for pointing it out.

      i think you’re right that everyone who ended up in Hanoi as a POW is a hero — but that’s not the story John McCain sells. He doesn’t consider himself part of a hall of heroes but rather the leader of said hall. The story he sells is about John McCain being an exceptional hero, uniquely qualified and uniquely brave. But that’s not really the case at all, you know? And regardless, i’m not sure it has a place at policy hearings, as he’s made one for it. But I think the reason he gets away with it is that everyone is too scared to talk shit about someone who’s been through what he went through in Hanoi because it’s dishonorable. That makes sense. But it also protects McCain from scrutiny and he knows this, he mentions it and “uses” his story in a very manipulative way.

      I realize by saying this i’m now an asshole, but idk.

      • You’re not an asshole for noting, correctly and I agree 100%, that he has some kind of bogus messianic complex (and actually, is there any other kind of messianic complex?) and he erroneously thinks he should get a free pass for being a bigot because of his war service and time as a POW. He gets no such free passes from me – believe me, I take that kind of bigotry personally as a lesbian, as an attorney, and as a woman of trans history.

        I wouldn’t have posted were it not, mainly, for the seeming implication that he was at fault for the Forrestal fire, etc. My figurative hat is off to McCain and every vet, and especially every vet who was a POW – that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t call him a bigot, though, because I would, and he is, and you’re right, his service cannot excuse that.

    • nicely put rapid_butterfly :)

      i met john mccain in the service years ago and he was actually rather inspirational and surprisingly rational about politics. but then he started warping into this weird scary monster once he started running for president. now with DADT he just keeps getting worse and worse.

  2. I think his brain rotted a long, long time ago. He really doesn’t know when to give up does he? In the spirit of Monty Python, the only thing left to do is cut off his head. Then he HAS to stop talking unless he has magical powers of some sort.

    • Also in the spirit of Monty Python, I’d prefer it if he consumed one more wafer-thin slice of bigotry, which prompted him to explode. Exploded people definitely can’t talk.

      Also, if he exploded at some kind of Republican convention, then the audience would be sprayed with his detonated viscera; perhaps the taste of his concentrated bigot-juices would cause them all to repent their intolerant ways.

      Like when parents try and punish their kids for smoking by making them chain-smoke a load of cigarettes to realise how gross it tastes.

      I am satisfied that John McCain’s splattered remnants being used as a cannibalistic cautionary tale would be karmically appropriate.

      Also, apologies to anybody eating their dinner.

  3. So…what you’re saying is. He’s basically George W. Bush, except he actually took his fuckery overseas with the military instead of keeping it contained to the states?

  4. John McCain, you are old and have clearly outlived whatever humanity you had. Just retire already and leave us to our own future which you will not be a part of.

  5. I was astounded by McCain’s (and other senators) continued argument that the survey did not ask whether the policy SHOULD be repealed. Aside from the fact that the question of ‘should’ was not what they were asked to study, one of the generals on Friday rightly pointed out something to the effect of ‘it’s the military, it’s not a democracy’.

    I wish someone would point out to our senators that even in a democracy the rights of a minority are not meant to be put to a referendum. That’s not what democracy is supposed to be. Except for this one, the one we live in, where nearly every election year another heterosexual majority in yet another state gets to vote on whether or not I can get married. It’s ridiculous. All because the people we elect to make those decisions are too scared of losing their jobs to do the right thing.

  6. “as you may or may not know, Lucy always snags the football away from Charlie Brown just when he’s about to kick it.”
    How could you NOT know that? If you are not familiar with Peanuts, get thee to a library, STAT! You are missing out on extreme awesome. Plus, Marcie & Peppermint Patty? Come on, guys.

  7. Riese, this is really great. Thanks so much for breaking it down here for us. I remember reading that Rolling Stone article when it came out and feeling incredibly scared of who our future President could be. Obama might not be perfect, but at least he’s not McCain.

  8. When I was in the service, I used to have some respect for McCain. Now…Dayumn. This man is exceptionally insane.

    I read this article while watching Harry Potter, which made it a bit more bearable. Just a bit, though.

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