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A QuizLaw Retrospective: John McCain

mccaincaptor.jpgIn our hard-hitting, continuing coverage of Election ‘08, we look back today to 1998 and unearth this bon mot from John McCain:

“Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.”

Funny? Or tasteless? And while we’re on the subject of McCain, how about this quote, from 2000?

“I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.”

As a prisoner of war for over five years, does McCain have the right to refer to his Vietnamese captors as “gooks”?


| Comments (11)


On the one hand, I can see how that type of hate could have evolved from his being captured and tortured for those many years.

On the other hand, that's a really terrible thing to say.

I'm not Vietnamese, so I'm not qualified to say exactly how bad being called a "gook" would would be, but I imagine it is something awful.

I can forgive the Chelsea joke, simply because its a tasteless Clinton joke, and all that it means is that McCain probably shouldn't...ever...tell jokes.

Still sucks, though, since by all accounts Chelsea is actually quite a nice young woman.

I'm Vietnamese and live near a fairly large Vietnamese community in SoCal. I can tell you that many people, while they loathe the communists, loathe that statement even more.

Ah, cool. Thanks for the context.

Its worth noting that McCain was instrumental in normalizing relations with Vietnam.

He has a tendancy to say some dumb things, however, when you look at his actions (at least in the context of Vietnamese) its clear that he did the right thing.

I'm not saying that he is the best presidential candidate that I've ever seen, but how many people can say that they would lead the charge for normalizing relations with a people who brutally tortured them for more than half a decade. Consequently, I can forgive the man for making an unfortunate reference to "gooks" -- a slur that has been thrown my way far too often despite the fact that I'm chinese.

The Chelsea statement is just ridiculous.

I'm with Andre; I understand why he would feel that way but I don't excuse it. However, his actions with regards to American-Vietnamese relations point to someone who can still be rational about the situation; perhaps - and I'm not saying this is a justification, merely an attempt at an explanation - it's sort of like Chris Rock's "black people and niggers" routine? The people who tortured McCain are "gooks" but he would never use that term in reference to the average Vietnamese citizen or someone of Vietnamese descent.

As for the Clinton joke...tasteless and funny. Chelsea's never done anything to deserve that sort of ire, but it's amusing in the abstract.

The clinton joke is bad mostly because he said it about a child, she was only 18. If he made the comment now (although it would hardly make sense given her now good looks) it wouldn't be so bad, she's an adult, and she can stand on her own two feet, she stumps for her mom and she can take a few knocks. Making a mean comment at an admittedly quite akward looking teenager isn't tasteless, its just unkind. Not only to her but to a million other gawky looking girls.

As for the gook comment. I can understand holding grudges. My grandfather was the same exact way until he met his half japanese grand-child and decided it wasn't worth it anymore to hold on to the hatred. Those types of things are difficult to get rid of and when you let go is very personal. I don't blame him but at the same time, if he gets to "leader of the free world" he better leave the racial slurs at home.

Y'know, the more and more I think about it, the less and less alright it seems that he made that joke about Chelsea. I think Adeline convinced me. It might have been funny if she was an adult, but to say it about a teenager is just shitty.

isn't it horrible that (GOD FORBID he win) he is still an improvement over our current pres? ugh, it makes me shudder!

While the Vietnamese sentiment is understandable, it is NOT desireable for a Leader of the Free World to make comments about any group of people, especially when there are people in that group that will be ruled by him. A politician should be polished.

As for the Chelsea comment, that's just in bad taste. She wasn't ugly, she was an awkward teenager as so many teenagers are.

I am sorry but I thought he has the right to say this under the First Amendment. Of course, his hatred is justified and understandable. I don't claim to know what you want in a leader, but I want a president who isn't fucking afraid to say how he feels, because the leader of the free world needs to have courage to do what is right...not what his advisors tell him is right, understand? It is because of our past leaders who weren't afraid to do what is right that you have the freedoms you have today, so electing a leader, who wants to give everybody a fucking hug and thinks that sitting down with people to talk about our problems will solve all of these differences is a nice fantasy...but grow up will you. There are people in the world who don't like us and want nothing more then to see us all burn in hell. They don't give a rat's fat rear end, that you are a Vietnamese-American, Black-American, or whatever you want to put in front of the hyphenated American. You are still an American and they want to kill us, ok. They don't like us. They don't like our way of life. They think we ALL are the great enemy of the world. So please recognize the danger of walking through life with blinders on, wearing your rose colored glasses. I have lived in many countries through-out the world: India, Philippine Islands, Japan, Germany, and Ukraine. I am a Historian and Political Scientist. In many of these places, I see it on their TV shows, read it in their newspapers, and hear it on the streets. And it isn't just because of GW Bush. Their hatred was there before GW and will still be there after he is gone. It is because of our attitudes and beliefs on many topics, it is the shoving of our way of life down their throats, our arrogant and egotistical self-worship about being an American, about our beliefs about how great America is…this is why they hate us. I am not trying to defend a warmongering leader, but we need a leader who isn't afraid to protect his/her fellow Americans. That is what being the President is all about, for crying out loud, that is why we have a President, to make OUR lives better. If you want a leader to be unbiased, non-confrontational go support the UN Secretary General that is his/her job but you do us a great disservice and help to lay the foundations for the eventual destruction of our way of life, by thinking we need a weak President. It isn't about being a Dem or Rep, lib or conserv...it is about doing what is best for America.

Someone needs to remind McCain about his "twitchy" personality.