McCain The Martial Southerner

He was a Navy kid, so he moved around a lot as a child, but if you had to peg him to a particular geographic locale, it would be Meridian, Mississippi:

By all accounts, the McCains of Carroll County were devoted to one another and their traditions; a lively, proud and happy family on the Mississippi Delta. Yet, many McCains left here as young men to pursue careers in what has long been our family's chosen profession -- the United States Armed Forces. My great-grandfather was the sheriff and never left. But his brother, Henry Pinkney McCain, was a major general in the Army, and organized the draft in World War One. Camp McCain in Grenada, Mississippi is named for him. My great uncle, William McCain, was known as "Wild Bill" for his "dynamic" personality -- he was reputed to have ridden his horse onto his future father-in-law's porch to ask him for his daughter's hand. He chased Pancho Villa with General Pershing, was an artillery officer in World War One, and retired a Brigadier General. Both men are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, as are my father and grandfather. We trace my family's martial heritage back to the Revolution. A distant ancestor served on General Washington's staff, and it seems my ancestors fought in most wars in our nation's history. All were soldiers -- both Henry and Bill McCain were West Pointers -- until my grandfather broke family tradition and entered the Naval Academy in 1902. He was succeeded there by my father, then me, and then my son.

After this week, which will include at least three more speeches about McCain's martial history, there may well be some allied grumbling akin to William Kristol's today: biography is not destiny in politics.

True -- and McCain's campaign strategists know this. There will be several other tours over the next few months having nothing to do with where McCain is from but who he will do.