McCainometrics: Yes He Can...If You're Young & Pretty? genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek


Honestly, I couldn't care less if John McCain is a womanizer. If so, that puts him on par with most of his colleagues and many of his fellow citizens. Frankly, if he is, it's not a predictor of competence and it shouldn't automatically disqualify a candidate from consideration. Nonetheless, it may make sense to seek an understanding of the behaviors that might accompany an individual's propensity to engage in such escapades.

I've known men that are virtually unable to function without the prospect of a budding relationship...whether married or not. Men of this ilk are prisoners of their prurient pursuits. They are apt to make compromising decisions that jeopardize their existing relationships as well as their own well-being. Money is often no object and they will frequently take unwise and unwarranted risks. Hence, when these individuals are in the throes of their latest interlude, their judgment is not only suspect; it may well be incorrigible.

As I read the accounts of Senator McCain's involvement with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, I immediately recalled watching an episode of Headliners and Legends chronicling his life. The pursuit of women was a persistent theme of the biography...a pattern not only confirmed by friends of McCain; but also by McCain himself.

In one particular segment of the program, McCain basically states that he and his fellow servicemen were preoccupied with seeking female companionship. While understandable given the circumstances, the manner in which the Senator recounted the story immediately reminded me of my discomfort with his habit of winking at people on the campaign trail. Instinctually, both instances strike me as part and parcel of a persona I might be inclined to suspect is focused on the pursuit of the opposite sex...a behavior set I would equate with a tendency towards objectification.

As the biography progresses, the narrator notes that McCain's first wife Carol waited patiently for his release from his captors only to see their marriage fall apart as a result of the Senator's many extramarital dalliances. When asked about that period of time, McCain's former wife, a victim of a disabling car accident, apparently told others that once her husband turned forty, he decided he wanted to be twenty five again. Hence, he divorced his first wife and soon married his much younger (and wealthy) current wife Cindy.

In the biography, McCain speaks about his affairs and while he accepts blame and acknowledges his actions were inappropriate, he also posits that he was motivated by "selfishness and immaturity". In my way of thinking, I could entertain giving him the benefit of the doubt had he suggested that his actions may have been a reaction to his years of confinement and the denial it certainly included. To his credit, he refuses to offer that rationale, though it's possible he did so because it wouldn't square with his history of womanizing prior to his stint in Vietnam.

Returning to the New York Times report, I was particularly struck by the following excerpt:

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client's corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself -- instructing staff members to block the woman's access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

What troubles me about this revelation is the sense, by his advisors, that the Senator was capable of sabotaging his own campaign. Presumably, the advisors had a good sense of their candidates idiosyncrasies...a fact that seems to have led them to conclude the Senator lacked the proper judgment with regard to romantic involvements. Whether this caution resulted from prior experiences wasn't revealed...but it isn't much of a stretch to draw that conclusion given the Senator's self-confessed track record.

So where does that leave us? Well, as is so often the case with such stories, we're forced to rely upon the speculations of others. Clearly, the Senator's history has contained instances of a similar nature and he freely admits as much. Whether he does so to help him arrive at the current straight talking maverick war hero image may never be known...though he wouldn't be the first public figure to craft a message that masks the actual man. Lastly, he can ill-afford to acknowledge an infidelity or an influence peddling impropriety at this critical juncture in his political life. Such is the nature of the political beast.

Rather than focus on this current assertion, I decided to have a little fun developing my own theory of McCain-ometrics. First, some background facts are needed. In 1965, at the age of 29, McCain married his first wife. In 1979, 14 years later, at the age of 43, McCain began courting his future second wife. In 1980 he left his first wife, who was 2 years his junior, for his new 27 year old wife...17 years younger. Nearly 20 years later, in 1999, at the age of 62, McCain is reported to have become "involved" with a 31 year old woman who was also roughly 31 years younger than he.

So here's the formula and a riddle. John McCain spends 14 years with his first wife (Carol)...and then finds a new love interest (Cindy in 1979 - 1980)...and then, down the road, in approximately half again more years...minus one...(14 + 7 - 1 = +20 = 1999), he finds Vicki. Simultaneously, he doubles the net age difference between himself and each subsequent (love) interest...going from a baseline of a woman 2 years younger (Carol) to one 17 years younger (Cindy) for a net of 15 additional years younger...which means we must double the 15 year age gap to predict that the subsequent (love) interest would be approximately 30 years younger (Vicki 31, John 62 in 1999). Let's also assume that John McCain doubles the years he stays married to each one...thus 14 years with Carol x 2 + 1 = 29 years with Cindy. As such, he should be due for both a new (love) interest and wife in 2009 (14 + 7 - 1 = +20 plus half again more (minus one) = 20 + 10 - 1 = +29 years...or 2009).

OK, so if one applies this formula, how old would you approximate his new (love) interest and bride to be when he marries her and how many years would you anticipate he'd remain married (assuming he lives that long, of course) to this third wife?

You see, when it comes to the "evil" New York Times, I just hate to think that Republicans would conclude that its tawdry invective can't be substantiated through a mathematical metric. I know I feel better having put pencil to paper.

P.S. Feel free to offer your answers...or your own equations in the comments. I'll provide the answer derived from my metric in the comments at the end of the day.


1 On February 21, 2008 at 1:29 PM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

So this (now I think he is definitely) sleazebag has the balls to support amendments promoting the sanctity of marriage at the expense of gay people? I used to think that despite my disagreement with him on so many issues, he was nevertheless someone of integrity and some sort of moral standards.

And now I find out he is no better than any other republican, and still willing to toss my brothers and sisters to the KKKristian lions to further his own career. Disappointing, but not surprising.

As Ambrose bierce noted:

Moral: what is convenient
Immoral: what is inconvenient

and as I am adding:

Republican: just get me elected, because i have friends who need the money

2 On February 21, 2008 at 3:45 PM, Daniel wrote —


It is often disheartening to learn about the individual behind the persona. Unfortunately, I suspect many, if not most, of our elected officials suffer the same deficiencies.



3 On February 21, 2008 at 11:42 PM, Daniel wrote —

As promised, here are the answers:

In 2009, John McCain will be 72 years old.

His future (love) interest and wife would be a mere 13 years old since the age differential has to double.

This third marriage would last 59 years.

The bottom line:

If you think Mac has problems with the GOP's conservative base now, just wait until 2009. Thirteen (13) looks like one "unlucky" number to me. I think Mac's gonna need a new metric...but then again...I've thought that for some time.


4 On February 22, 2008 at 2:19 PM, Alan Perlman wrote —

My rule for evaluating sexual rumors: if she's hot, the answer is YES.

Men liike McCain (most men, in fact) ALWAYS think with their little heads, and beautiful women, smart and dumb, have learned to exploit this weakness.

In the professional arena, power attracts sex, and vice-versa; attractive women are shameless about using their good looks to advance themselves. All they have to do is act seductive -- it's pathetic. Same thing in corporate life.



5 On February 23, 2008 at 1:09 AM, Daniel wrote —


Thanks for the comment.

I like the simplicity of your directness; you cut to the chase. It's quite refreshing!

If it quacks, it's a duck, eh?

Take care,


6 On February 23, 2008 at 9:58 AM, Alan Perlman wrote —


Thanks for the kind words. I've seen it so many times, both up close and at a distance (if Slick Willie were an ordinary citizen, his pussy-chasing career would have been ended long ago).



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Every alleged scandal has its own metrics. One hopes The New York Times has properly researched the accusations and inferences it makes relative to John McCain and his involvement with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. If not, I’ve devised a mathematical equation... [Read More]

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