"When I left the academy, I was not even aware I had learned that lesson. In a later crisis, I would suffer a genuine attack on my dignity, an attack, unlike the affronts I had exaggerated as a boy, that left me desperate and uncertain," McCain said in an apparent reference to his time as a POW.
"It was then I would recall, awakened by the example of men who shared my circumstances, the lesson that the academy in its venerable and enduring way had labored to impress upon me. It changed my life forever. I had found my cause: citizenship in the greatest nation on Earth," he said.
Call me crazy, but I think this is John McCain's conversion narrative. A little bloodier than W's, but the patterns are the same.
The nominal subject of the CNN piece, by the way, was McCain's (secret!) list of prospective VPs. The McCain campaign trotted it out after James Dobson lit into McCain in the Wall Street Journal.
Dobson's broadside -- being of the nature of the affronts McCain exaggerated as a boy rather than a genuine attack on his dignity -- served as cause for dancing:
"I'm very pleased at the polling data that shows that our party is very unified," McCain said. "More Republicans say they'll vote for me than Democrats say that they will vote for either Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton.
"My job now is to try to energize our party so that we get the kind of energy associated with this campaign, which I think we can do in the coming months."
McCain said he has never spoken with Dobson but would be willing to do so.
(There is, of course, no reason to make mention of the fact that James Dobson, in addition to being a Christian, is white, old, and recognized by all the right sorts of people to be completely non-scary, especially in light of the fact that Dobson's religious views are completely reasonable and uncolored by hate, prejudice, or fear)
What I'd like to know is whether the fundamentalist Right will accept McCain's conversion narrative as is or whether they'll insist, with Dobson, that Jesus make an appearance in McCain's foxhole. Maybe McCain could thread the needle by emphasizing the known godlessness of Communism. Or by working passages of God is my Co-Pilot into his stump speech.
(There is, of course, no reason to make mention of the happy coincidence that racism, sexism, militarism, and religiosity tend to overlap in the American electorate)