Path to Power
"My grandfather was a naval aviator, my father a
submariner," McCain wrote (with his speechwriter Mark Salter)
in his best-selling memoir "Faith of My Fathers."
"They were my first heroes, and earning their respect has been
the most lasting ambition of my life." Three years later, he
would write this about his presidential longings: "In truth, I
had had the ambition for a long time[I]t
had been there, in the back of my mind, for years, as if it were
simply a symptom of my natural restlessness."Those two
ambitions bracket the career and animate the psychic journey of John
Sidney McCain III.
Born in 1936 on a submarine base in the Panama Canal Zone, the
admiral's son gave full meaning to the term "Navy brat."
He graduated fifth from the bottom of his Naval Academy class, and
of his days as a naval pilot he would write, "I liked to fly,
but not much more than I liked to have a good time."
As the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee,
McCain is sure to remain a leading voice on a wide range of foreign
policy issues. With so much of his political capital invested in
Iraq - McCain's arm-twisting throughout the summer of 2007 persuaded
Republican colleagues to maintain support of the troop surge -
McCain will likely fight any attempt by President Obama to withdraw
significant numbers of troops from that country.
After incurring scorn from the Republican base for supporting a
temporary guest-worker program for illegal immigrants, candidate
McCain began to repudiate his own bill, emphasizing a "secure
the borders first" approach - which surely cost him Hispanic
votes in Colorado and New Mexico.