Many hard core conservatives criticize John McCain, not only for his political stances which are more moderate in certain areas than those on the far right would like, but because he has consistently tried to take a higher moral ground than what we are used to from politicians from either side of the aisle.
The title almost seems like an oxymoron, a contradiction within itself. American politicians are known for using every weapon in their arsenal against their opponents and yet John McCain draws a clear line in the sand. His sons.
One clear recent examples of this are when a radio talk show host, Bill Cunningham, who was warming up a campaign crowd before McCain was to appear, kept calling Barack Obama, Barack Hussein Obama as well as calling Obama a a "hack, Chicago-style" politician.
McCain immediately apologized for those statements, although he himself hadn't made them, saying, "I apologize for it. I did not know about these remarks, but I take responsibility for them. I repudiate them. My entire campaign I have treated Senator Obama and Senator (Hillary Rodham) Clinton with respect. I will continue to do that throughout this campaign."
McCain was raked over the coals by the far right, for doing nothing more than trying to set a higher standard for himself and his campaign by dealing with issues instead of name calling, dealing with policy instead of what Obama's middle name was and by making comparisons between his experience vs the experience or lack thereof of the Democratic candidates instead of the never ending personal attacks.
A second example of John McCain trying to keep to the standards he has tried to set for his campaign was when one of his junior staffers, Soren Dayton, distributed, via Twitter, a Youtube video that mixed together the words of Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright, (his pastor of almost 20 years) a photograph of the 1968 Olympics black power salute and a Public Enemy song, to suggest that Wright's racial and anti-America comments were a look into Obama's true beliefs.
Many believe it is because Obama did not distance himself from the pastor, he simple tried to distance himself from the more public inflammatory remarks that were blasted across the Internet.
Still, John McCain suspended his junior staffer, his campaign saying, via his Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker, "We have been very clear on the type of campaign we intend to run and this staffer acted in violation of our policy."
There are just certain things that John McCain does not use as political fodder or for political gain.
Which brings me to the reason for todays opinion piece.
His sons are yet another issue that John McCain will not use in his campaign.
In a campaign season during an election year where the issue of Iraq is bound to be a major policy issue which will be used against McCain because of his stance on Iraq, the fact that one of his son's, Jimmy McCain, just returned from Iraq in mid-February and his other son, Jack, will be graduating from the Naval Academy to probably join the Marines as a second lieutenant and which will almost guarantee that he will be sent to either Iraq or Afghanistan, is not being used. John McCain refuses to discuss them, nor use them for his own political gain.
McCain has no problem speaking of his own service, his own experiences as a prisoner of war, yet he draws a clear line in the sand and will not use his children as political fodder to help him with an issue that will be and already is being used against him in this election year.
In fact, when Sean Hannity asked McCain about Jimmy’s deployment to Iraq, he replied, "We really never talk about our sons. We have two sons in the military but we never talk about it, if that’s all right", all he would say about them was, "I am so proud of both of them."
Many on the far right will disagree with me and some will perhaps agree, but I think that using policy and making comparisons between where McCain stands on issues and where the Democratic candidates stand on issues, is fair game, and while considered "negative campaigning" when one criticizes another politician's policy stances, drawing the line between issues and personal attacks, policy and name calling and using every available weapon in the arsenal vs clearly and publicly refusing to use his children for his own political gain, is a classy move for John McCain.
I respect him all the more for it.