August 22, 2008

"As Cindy McCain faithfully shadows her husband... it's hard to imagine that she was once the senior member of their partnership."

Noam Scheiber has a long article in TNR on Cindy McCain:
Looking back, McCain's steady march from admiral's son to war hero to White House contender seems almost preordained--certainly unrelated to the brittle blond cipher at his side. Cindy brings to mind the political wives of yore--a perpetually demure and deferential presence. All the more so in an age of Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama.

But the reality behind this political creation myth is far more complex. McCain was a relative nobody when he married Cindy Hensley--a middle-aged divorcé working a mid-level job in a far-off bureaucracy. It was the Hensleys who would breathe life into his prospects and provide a springboard for his ascent. Their ambitions burned every bit as brightly as his did. Except that, unlike McCain, they'd long since hidden their motives from public view.

You'll have to read the whole thing to see if he proves his thesis.

And here's the 1982 campaign ad included at the link:

49 comments:

Blue Moon said...

I love the latest defense of the house issue from the McCain campaign -- "Those are her houses not his." Because nothing says a marriage is strong like millions of dollars of seperate property.

Having said that, Cindy McCain seems ok. Not every first lady needs to be Elenor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton, or Laura Bush.

Michael_H said...

Good heavens, what bullshit. Cindy McCain (I've met and conversed with her) is not a 'brittle blonde cipher'. She's an engaging, charming, witty and delightful woman who drives race cars, worked with Mother Teresa, donates millions of dollars to orphanages in remote parts of the world and manages a huge family business.

She was not a middle age divorcee when she met John McCain. She was single, never married and in her late 20's.

She 'shadows' McCain? Huh? She's comfortable in her role as a political spouse. If that's 'shadowing', then M. Obama must be tarred with the same brush. But not in TNR, of course.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Looking back on McCain in the early 80s, I can say he was hawt. I can see why Cindy went with him.

Michael H: I, too, misread that middle-aged divorce as referring to Cindy. Middle-aged unmarried men are not often called that and it threw me off.

Salamandyr said...

Michael, the description "middle-aged" etc. referred to John McCain not Cindy. But aside from that I agree with you. It seems to me, what is really the case is that Cindy McCain's interests are outside the political sphere, and she devotes merely enough attention to it as required to support her husband. She's got her own thing and he's got his.

To me, that sounds like a good description of the kind of modern marriage Democrat's say they are for.

Peter V. Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter V. Bella said...

Peter V. Bella said...
The only thesis proved is TNR hires snarky scribblers better suited to the bitchy society pages of gay comic books.

downtownlad said...

McCain wasn't a nobody before he met Cindy. He was friendly with the Reagans for christ's sake.

Chip Ahoy said...

I almost feel a little sorry for the writer, charged with producing a story where there is none. Wait for iiiit. Not!

Ha ha ha ha. Is that all you got? All them words and not a single zinger. Le boo le hoo, I mockingly cri pour vous.

Chip Ahoy said...

The related articles say it all, How Cindy Hensley Made John McCain
Mccains's plan for the next cold war.
Cold calculations of the Straight Talker and this one
Made Man

Going for a hit piece but starting a pillow fight. Noam would do better by not tacitly welcoming comparisons. I'd much prefer associations like the Hensleys and the Navy as described in the article than associations like Ayers, Wright, and Rezko. Some people should not be handed shovels.

John Stodder said...

Where's Eli Blake??? This is his moment! Finally, confirmation that McCain's whole ascendancy is in service of Big Beer!

former law student said...

when she met John McCain. She was single, never married and in her late 20's.

Jeez, don't age her. Cindy was 24 when they met, and they married a year later, when she was still 25.

Triangle Man said...

I am also puzzled by the description of "a middle-aged divorcé working a mid-level job in a far-off bureaucracy". It has to be detailing McCain's relative obscurity, because Cindy was not middle-aged (as pointed out above), and she was a teacher in Arizona. However, it also doesn't describe McCain well. He wasn't a divorcé when he started dating Cindy, he was still married to Carol.

Trevor Jackson said...

The word "divorcé" refers to a divorced man. "Divorcée" is used for a woman.

PatCA said...

I couldn't get past the first page--the sneering quasi-factual rendering of their marriage has begun.

They are empty, even evil, White Republicans!!

Michael_H said...

Let's do a check regarding Cindy McCain.

Well-educated. Check. BA and MA from USC.

Attractive. Check. USC cheerleader. Still good looking.

Published. Check. She published the work Movement Therapy: A Possible Approach for educating Downs syndrome children.

Independent. Check. Declining a role in the family business, she then began a special education teaching career working with children with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Successful move into business. Check. She is chair of Hensley & Co.,one of the largest Anheuser-Busch beer distributors in the United States.

Manages her own money. Check. She and J. McCain made a prenuptial agreement that kept most of her family's assets under her name; they have since kept their finances apart and file separate income tax returns.

Philanthropist. Check. Cindy McCain founded the American Voluntary Medical Team (AVMT). It was a non-profit organization that organized trips for doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to provide MASH-like emergency medical care to disaster-struck or war-torn third-world areas such as Micronesia, Vietnam (before relations were normalized between them and the U.S.), Kuwait (arriving five days after the conclusion of the Gulf War), Iraq, Nicaragua, India, Bangladesh and El Salvador. She led 55 of these missions over the next seven years, with each being of at least two weeks' duration. AVMT also supplied treatment to poor sick children around the world. In 1993, Cindy McCain and the AVMT were honored with an award from Food for the Hungry.

Mother. Check. Mother to Meghan, Jack and Jimmy McCain. Adoptive mother to Bridget, whom she met While at Mother Teresa's orphanage in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1991 — as part of AVMT's assistance team following the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone.

Pretty impressive checklist, with a list of accomplishments to which any mother would want her own daughter to aspire.

Actually sounds like the feminist ideal, no? Well, except for the part where she isn't marching on the front lines demanding the right to infanticide.

If Cindy McCain were married to a democrat, Noam Scheiber would have shouted her accomplishments to the world.

As it is, all he could do was bitch. Wanker.

Doyle said...

Well, except for the part where she isn't marching on the front lines demanding the right to infanticide.

Jesus, just don't blow up any clinics, you freak.

vbspurs said...

Cindy's mother, Marguerite "Smitty" Hensley

LOL. Really? Smitty, eh?

I always think of 1930s screwball comedies situated in newsrooms when I think of that name. Smitty is always the hard-bitten, inkstained finger, cigar-smoking reporter with a hat askew, typing furiously on an old Smith Corona, as he issues insulting, cynical wisecracks to those around him, especially the lone woman reporter.

Said guy was usually played by William Demarest, better known as "My Three Son's" Uncle Charlie.

The Hudsucker Proxy did a wonderful send up of the genre.

Cheers,
Victoria

The Drill SGT said...

I imagine the author could have done the same story about Joe Kennedy's bootlegging and wanting to get his kids into society and politics.

Synova said...

She does seem like she ought to be the feminist ideal.

But to her failure to be on the front lines demanding the right to infanticide I'd add supporting her partner without the weird need to be "senior member."

Cindy McCain might actually be a nice role model (if the description Michael gave is at all accurate) for the first male "first lady".

madawaskan said...

Hey where did all the Liberals go-

The ones with the chorus-

Keep the wife out of it?

Meade said...

As a middle-aged divorcé myself, I'm thinking the McCains' makes an excellent model for my own potential second marriage. And, when they met, Cindy had many of the attributes I may be looking for in a mate:

Intelligent
Trustworthy
Responsible
Compassionate
Personable
Loves children and puppies
Hawt

24 is too young though. I'd be looking for someone at least twice that age.

Now if I can just become a hero in service to my country, become a little less materialistic, and be willing to start a second family, maybe I'll have a shot at the law profe.... I mean, the girl of my dreams.

bearbee said...

I found the picture of McCain with green background looking bilious as well as toothless an interesting portrayal.

When you click the McCain picture you get a paint-by-number broadly smiling Obama but only partially complete.

One old, the other inexperienced.

The Drill SGT said...

Meade,

May all Military spouses forgive me here:

There is a joke that certainly circulates in the Naval aviation community.

Perfect wife:
- Young
- Hot
- Nympho
- whose father owns a liquor store

John did pretty well (apologies to Cindy above)

Meade said...

SGT: Maybe I should join NavAir?

vbspurs said...

(apologies to Cindy above)

Nympho notwithstanding, since we can't know that's true, Cindy McCain is like the TURBO version of the perfect navy wife, given that criteria.

I mean, Crikey, her father had a brewery distributorship. That's like liquor store times 100.

veni vidi vici said...

"first ladies of yore"? The guy was practically describing Laura Bush in all but name! Funny how the Dems are so eager to pretend Bush has already left the building, particularly since Pelosi/Reid's ascendancy to congressional "leadership" only signaled the beginning of Bush's asskicking romp all over their sorry selves.

Cindy seems pretty sharp, and like others have said, were McCain a Democrat she'd be "all that Hillary was - and a personality too!" according to folks like the TNR drivel squad. How predictably banal of them to even bother with stuff like this.

On the other hand, now that everyone on that side appears eager to open that door, let's get back to talking about Michelle's "pride of country", such as it is/was, and so on. Not like she couldn't use a few more news cycles' worth of forced apologia to send her back into campaign-imposed hiding...

Gotta love the law of unintended consequences, particularly when mixed with hubristic arrogance; usually makes quite a potent cocktail!

Kirk Parker said...

"Cindy McCain might actually be a nice role model ... for the first male 'first lady'."

Indeed, but then so was Dennis Thatcher (if we can still look to our elder cousins across the water for stuff like this.)

veni vidi vici said...

As for that commercial from 1982, how about the music! Sounds like those old commercials for GI Joe, etc.; was everything back then so martial? I don't remember it that way, until something like this reminds me.

FWIW, the commercial does a great service to those that believe McCain over-relies on his POW experience as a basis/answer to all questions about him. They will find no shortage of reference to his experience there, most notably in his mention thereof in connection with observing AZ sunsets towards the close of the spot.

All told, though, he still sounds pretty much the same to me today as he did then. If that's what they mean by "McSame" (and I know it's not), then I'll take it. Consistency without dogmatic ideology is anymore a rare virtue in politics.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Drill Sgt: Is that a corollary to the perfect woman being a certain short stature, mute and with a flat head [upon which to set one's beer whilst doing one's manly thing]?

veni vidi vici said...

Ruth: "Is that a corollary to the perfect woman being a certain short stature, mute and with a flat head [upon which to set one's beer whilst doing one's manly thing]?"

That's a new one to me, but I've always thought the "tramp stamp" lower back tattoos were intended as guideposts, in a "put ashtray here" kind of way...

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

Ruth Anne,

I had never heard that comment, but I'm sure as a veteran of the 82nd, you heard some variant of mine a number of times, for which I apologize on behalf of the male officer Corps.

Or perhaps not, considering we Armor Officers considered those Airborne Infantry types a bit loud, crude and not particularly smart. Sort of poorly dressed Marines :)

updated: I on the other hand treat female JAG Officers with the greatest respect. My Colonel wife has me flogged if I don't :)

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Female JAG officers do it in their briefs.

Drill Sgt: I fully appreciate the lengths to which you have gone to insulate yourself from criticism for your joke.

Revenant said...

Because nothing says a marriage is strong like millions of dollars of seperate property.

Considering that they met because Cindy was the "other woman" McCain was cheating on his wife with, a prenup probably made a lot of sense. :)

Ruth Anne Adams said...

You know the old adage: A man who marries his mistress simply creates a job opening.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

VVV: Are you talking about ass antlers?

veni vidi vici said...

LOL!

XWL said...

Above Peter V. Bella wrote,

The only thesis proved is TNR hires snarky scribblers better suited to the bitchy society pages of gay comic books.

Really, there's no reason to insult a fine genre by comparing them to such scurrilous scribblers as employed by TNR.

One should be more careful in their insults in a civil forum such as this.

(also, who knew comic books had society pages?)

SteveR said...

I may be wrong but I think if someone wants Obama to win, trying to do so at the expense of Cindy McCain is not a good idea.

blake said...

Well, yeah, is it too wonky to point out what McCain has actually done to persuade voters against him?

Or is the problem that Obama would do the same, only moreso?

Peter V. Bella said...

The Drill SGT said...
I imagine the author could have done the same story about Joe Kennedy's bootlegging and wanting to get his kids into society and politics.

Only a so called wingnut would do that.

madawaskan said...
Hey where did all the Liberals go-

The ones with the chorus-

Keep the wife out of it?



Christ, do we have to explain it to you? Liberals only want to keep their own wives out of it. They are saintly, you see. It takes a holy woman to marry a liberal politician. Of course there is a phrase for it. Let me see if I can look it up. Oh, yeah, I found it. It is called liberal hypocrisy.


After reading Michael H's list, I think I am voting for Cindy McCain.

blake said...

Ha! I've always felt that way! I'll take Cindy, Laura, Babs, Rosalyn over John, George W, George HW and Jimmy any day.

Peter V. Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter V. Bella said...

Of course I left out that Cindy McCain has an actual list of real documented accomplishments in the field of public service, unlike that other woman. What was her name again? Married some white trash kid who couldn’t keep his pants up? She wrote a fictional biography? She was a war hero for dodging bullets in the Balkans? Tried to run for president on her so called record? Ah, I'll think of it sooner or later.

ron st.amant said...

I'd like it if the media, should I maket that 'media' keep both spouses out of it. It isn't about them, it's about their husbands who are running for election.

Maggie45 said...

I like Cindy McCain. I've been reading Meghan McCain's blog

http://www.mccainblogette.com/index.shtml

for a while now. I've developed a fondness for the whole family, actually. And yes, I know, she's only going to post good stuff, but I think even so, their closeness comes through. There's no search feature on the blog, but click back to the July posts and you'll see Cindy and Meghan on a trip to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. It shows some of Cindy's charities. She doesn't do all of this with a lot of hoopla, and in fact was apologizing to the local organizations for all the press and chaos her visits were causing. The chaos was because her husband is now on everyone's radar, and so is she. I think she's a really good woman. And yes, she had a problem with addiction, and the dishonesty that comes with it (speaking from experience here). However, she's taking care of that now, one day at a time. I've not met her myself, but one of my fellow PGR members has, and he has nothing but the highest praise for her. She very graciously met with him at one of the funerals, in a room in the church that had been cleared by the Secret Service, and when she found out he was a former Marine, she just was at home with him. We buried a young Marine yesterday in Mesa. Tomorrow I'm going to a Welcome Home in Tucson.

http://www.azfamily.com/video/?z=y&nvid=275051

TitusStagLeap said...

My perception of her is that she hates all the campaign stuff. I could be wrong but she seems shy and would rather be hanging out in Sedona doing her own thing.

Minicapt said...

I think that Mr Scheiber read one of FrankJ's articles on "Smite the Hippy", and took it personal. This would be his revenge.

Cheers
JMH

Chus said...

This is what I think: Cindy McCain The View