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March 2004   alan stang
Kerry-McCain, The Ticket From H-E-C-K By Alan Stang


By: Alan Stang

One of the most terrifying reports ever to come out of Washington recently arrived, to the effect that John McCain would eagerly accept the nomination as Vice President from fellow Senator Hanoi John Kerry. The possibility is so terrifying because the two men are so alike.

For instance, both men have embraced their Communist soul mates in Hanoi. Both are heroes to the Prostitute National Press. McCain is alleged to have been a Republican, but I don’t think I could prove it. That is why he would run with the only Democrat who makes Ted Kennedy look like Strom Thurmond.

But the likeness goes much farther than the fact that they share a common politics. John LeBoutillier is always helpful. He was a Member of Congress himself and knows both men personally. Here is John LeBoutillier on John McCain:

"Those who know McCain can’t stand him. He’s particularly nasty and cold. He is an arrogant, cocky little man with a gigantic chip on his shoulder and an inflated sense of himself. . . . If you have ever been on the receiving end of a McCain stare or tirade, you would never forget it." "John McCain – perhaps the meanest, rudest, most utterly horrible person I have ever personally known in politics. . . . He is a nasty, little man."

On another occasion, LeBoutillier said that McCain "is the consummate phony, pseudo-intellectual leftist who has scrambled all his career to hide his real liberalism as the country has moved steadily toward the right. . . . McCain is a total hypocrite. . . . Yes, he is a weasel trying to hide his extremely liberal record. He is clever, dangerous and will do anything to win this election. But most of all he is a total phony to all who know him. He is rude, arrogant and condescending."

Oh, pardon me; did I say that last paragraph was about McCain? No, pilgrim, I made a mistake. In the last paragraph, John LeBoutillier was talking about Hanoi John Kerry. I accidentally typed McCain’s name instead of Kerry’s. But, as long as I did so, I may as well ask, did you believe we were talking about McCain? Does this prove they were spawned from the same egg?

Now, here is Boston talk show host Howie Carr, talking about John Kerry in the New York Post: "Many of his constituents see him in person only when he is cutting them in line – at an airport, a clam shack or the Registry of Motor Vehicles. One talk-show caller a few weeks back recalled standing behind a police barricade in 2002 as the Rolling Stones played the Orpheum Theater, a short limousine ride from Kerry's Louisburg Square mansion.

"The caller, Jay, said he began heckling Kerry and his wife as they attempted to enter the theater. Finally, he said, the senator turned to him and asked him the eternal question. ‘Do you know who I am?’"

Imagine these men as the ticket in November of the Continuing Criminal Enterprise known as the Democrat Party. McCain is known to all as "The Manchurian Candidate," from the novel of the same name. Many commentators have wondered whether the Communists in Hanoi made him one of their own with brainwashing during his long captivity.

Indeed, fiction can capture and immortalize a character far better than journalism. Perestroika Sunset, my novel about the men we abandoned in Vietnam, and the Soviet scheme to use them to seize power in this country, was published in 1999, long before I had any notion of the possible nightmare Democrat ticket we are now losing sleep about.

Hat Halstead is a total opportunist, who expects to spend a brief time in the Nam accumulating a war record he can use to run for office. He is sent on a secret mission he is told will be a walk in the sun, but which will validate a claim that he has been in combat. Instead, he becomes a Prisoner Of War.

Tell me whether any of this sounds familiar. "He had arrived at the staging area, just before they shoved off, ensemble impeccably cleaned and pressed, boots shined lovingly back in Saigon by someone he had never met, while Halstead slept in air-conditioned splendor. He wore an oppressive cologne, and the eagles of a U.S. Army Colonel, but Fawkes knew that in this most political of all wars in the nation’s history, his insignia didn’t mean a thing. . . . At their first meeting in Saigon, Fawkes had decided he was a spook, like the others. But a spook would be reticent, if not grim. A spook would not call attention to himself; would not complain so much. Halstead was prissy, supercilious and mean. He suffered mini-bouts of pique when things didn’t go his way."

". . . Except for the heat, the humidity, the mosquitoes, and the fact that his jungle boots had already lost the sheen so lovingly applied at his hotel in Saigon, Halstead for once was in perfectly good humor. . . . In twenty-four hours, he would be back in Saigon, the hero of a top-level intelligence operation, a decorated combat veteran, all of which would look good on a campaign brochure. . . ."

"It was night again. Halstead had kept the pace with difficulty. . . . But time was beginning to take a toll on Halstead. He wasn’t used to waiting for anything. He was used to stating his requirements and seeing them fulfilled. His spurious professionalism was wearing thin, replaced by irritation.

"Vietnamese voices were coming through the bush. Of course, Fawkes didn’t need to tell anyone to be still. The men lay like swamp mist in their holes. . . . The NVA regulars were gone already, but, beside him, Halstead was still shaking. Fawkes could not imagine why."

"‘Where’s your radio man?’ he asked, still not trusting his voice.

"‘Why do we need my radio man?’ Fawkes replied.

"‘We need to raise MACV, and report contact’ If he could raise MACV, he could request a chopper to take him out. . . .

"‘Colonel, that wasn’t contact. That was a kiss from your mother.’

"‘I’ll thank you not to mention my mother again, Captain. Meanwhile, summon your radio man.’

"‘Colonel, radio traffic would tell the enemy we’re here. Then we’d have contact.’

"‘Are you disobeying a direct order, Captain?’

"‘May I suggest, Colonel, that you keep your voice down?’ . . .

"‘May I suggest to you, Captain, that you are risking a court-martial for insubordination! I am in command!’. . ."

"Fawkes shook his head. ‘Colonel, my orders are to send a message only if asked to confirm that you have the pictures.’

"‘You son of a -----!’ Halstead shouted. ‘Do you know who I am?’"

Elsewhere in Perestroika, there is this glimpse of Halstead’s personality: "Because of his teeth, his profile, his smile and his physique, especially because of his smile, which was at once diffident and insouciant, people assumed that Hat was charming and sympathetic. Those qualities seemed to go together with someone who looked so appealing. He was charming and sympathetic, at a distance, to people who didn’t know him. Those who did, those who got close, were surprised to find a man who was prissy, peevish, nasty and ungiving, whose true personality was a shaft of Arctic air. . . ."

Who was it that said truth is stranger than fiction? Is it also true that fiction is stranger than truth? Remember, I wrote this some five years ago, when I had never said or written a word about Hanoi John or McCain. I had heard of them, of course. Nothing more. That long ago, who could have seriously imagined such a ticket? Rereading all this now, I am astounded.

I am also wondering who could play them in the movie. Hanoi John is a dead ringer for Gomer Pyle. You can’t tell them apart, which recalls Kerry’s foragainst policy of being all things to all men. Is Gomer available? The trouble is that Gomer is nowhere near nasty enough. Karloff and Lugosi could be, but they are both dead. For the Manchurian Pipsqueak, Pee Wee Herman wins going away, except that Pee Wee is nowhere near nasty enough. Of course, I am not a casting director.

To see the cover, the story, the reviews and the first chapter of Perestroika Sunset, go to my web site,, click on (Why?), then on (Stang Fiction) and scroll down to that book. For more about McCain, go to

Alan Stang has been a network radio talk show host and was one of Mike Wallace's first writers. He was a senior writer for American Opinion magazine and has lectured around the world for more than 30 years. He is also the author of ten books, including, most recently, Perestroika Sunset, surrounding our Government's deception in the POW/MIA arena. If you would like him to address your group, please email what you have in mind. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

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