Politico actually managed to use the word “tortured” to describe the long history between Chuck Hagel and the ornery, failed presidential candidate. But class difference is the really telling point:
Among the more than 58,000 Americans killed in the war, 84 percent were enlisted men and all but a sliver of these were without a college degree. Hagel himself had just a few college semesters to his credit. His teenage brother Tom was fresh out of high school when they enlisted in 1967.
More than race or income, it was this education divide — promoted by draft deferments in the 1960s — that most explains those who were in combat in Vietnam and those who were not. That history, which McCain knows, was what made it so striking last week when Cruz, a sophisticated Princeton and Harvard Law graduate, seemed to question Hagel’s patriotism by his line of questioning before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
That was when McCain finally had enough of the newest Joe McCarthy in the Senate. But he was still capable of letting Hagel twist in the wind so his buddy Butters could gain some far right cred in South Carolina.