Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sid Salter: John McCain's Mississippi Connections

The late Arizona Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain had more than a passing connection with Mississippi despite being best known here for his 2008 presidential debate appearance with then-Illinois Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama at Ole Miss and for famously sparring with former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran on Capitol Hill over the fortunes of Mississippi farm-raised catfish producers.

On Friday, Sept. 26, 2008, Obama and McCain squared off in the Gertrude C. Ford Center on the Ole Miss campus in the first of three televised debates during that campaign. The nation was mired in a financial crisis that threatened to derail the debate – at least from the McCain campaign’s perspective.

McCain wanted to actively take part in the federal financial bailout program being debated on Capitol Hill that week. He suggested that debate might halt his participation in the Mississippi debate. Obama’s camp didn’t offer that possibility.

McCain’s plane landed in Memphis at 2:15 p.m. the afternoon of the debate. As one of hundreds of national and state political reporters covering the debate, we didn’t know until less than a few hours before “show time” that McCain would attend and that the debate would indeed take place.

It did. Both candidates scored some rhetorical jabs against their opponent in the Oxford debate, but neither scored a knockout. But the reputations of Mississippi, Oxford, and Ole Miss benefitted from the media invasion the debate engendered.

Years late, in 2016, McCain used then President Obama’s visit to Vietnam and Japan as a springboard to undo Mississippi U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s 2015 victory when Cochran was finally successful in forcing federal officials to implement new rules for catfish suppliers, requiring on-site inspections of catfish farms and processing plants for both domestic and foreign producers, mostly from Vietnam, to ensure they meet the same standards that have long been required in the U.S.

Some 80 percent of all American seafood was being imported from China, Vietnam or other countries in the same region. McCain, long a defender of Vietnam and China’s seafood trade interests, angered U.S. producers when he said in 2014: “Vietnamese catfish remain popular with American consumers because it’s more affordable and cheaper to produce than domestic catfish grown in aquaculture ponds.”

But McCain finally won the catfish inspection debate in the Senate over the strident opposition of Cochran and fellow Mississippi U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker by invoking the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015 catfish inspection program. Ultimately in 2017, catfish inspection ended up in the hands of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). McCain’s connection to Mississippi was far deeper than a presidential debate and the catfish battle with Cochran.

William Alexander McCain, Sen. McCain’s great-great grandfather, bought the Teoc Plantation in Carroll County, Mississippi in 1851 and owned slaves there. McCain’s great-grandfather and namesake John Sidney McCain was elected sheriff of Carroll County, Mississippi. Major Gen. Henry P. McCain, a distant uncle, was the namesake for the Mississippi National Guard’s Camp McCain Training Center in Grenada County.

Sheriff McCain’s son, named John Sidney McCain, Sr., attended Ole Miss and transferred to the U.S. Naval Academy. He would rise to the rank of four-star Admiral in the U.S. Navy after commanding a carrier group in the Pacific in World War II. Admiral McCain’s son, John Sidney McCain, Jr., would also graduate the Naval Academy and also rise to the rank of Admiral in command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, where his son John Sidney McCain, III, the future U.S. senator from Arizona was interred in Hanoi as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down.

Admiral McCain ordered bombings of Hanoi despite knowing his son was there. The Vietnamese tried to release young McCain early as a propaganda tool, but McCain refused.

I disagreed with McCain’s stance on Mississippi catfish and other issues. Still do. But utterly foolish questions of McCain’s personal courage, patriotism, and service – from anyone, no matter the office they hold – are reprehensible and without merit. McCain deserved the nation’s respect, thanks, and admiration for his courage.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

Sid and John McCain????


This will certainly get your clicks up! In Mississippi we don't speak ill of the dead or our great ancestors...with that said...let the evil commence!

Anonymous said...

Just THREE election cycles ago, leftist hypocrites compared John McCain to Nazis and George Wallace. They mocked his service record, saying getting shot down in Vietnam doesn’t qualify one to become president. But now it’s 2018, McCain spent his last few years as an anti-Trump crusader, and the media and other lefties ADORE him. His death even moved them to suddenly respect the American flag! Their hypocrisy is OBVIOUS and SHAMEFUL.

Anonymous said...

Another take on McCain.

Messick said...

I like him in 2000 (oh, I was filled with that youthful naïveté), but he was an obvious fall guy in 2008, as his party did not nominate a fighter.
McCain and the GOP proved there is only one political party in this country and that all non-members should be eliminated.

Anonymous said...

I've never liked McCain. He proudly called himself a "maverick' because he screwd his own party every chance he got with his last effort being voting to keep Obamacare. He was a narcissistic, attention whore of the first degree to the end IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Mc Cain dumped his first wife when she became sick. He also had close ties to the Manafort lobbying firm, yes that Manafort, and it was reported back in 2008 that the Manafort set him up to meet with a powerful Russian oligarch who had close ties to Putin. Wasn’t Mueller the FBI Director then?

Anonymous said...

Cochran's acrimonious and bitter relationship with McCain went far, far beyond catfish but, as with everything he pens, Sid has chosen to fob off a facade of minor, but principled, policy differences in order to maintain the false appearance of RINO-herd harmony to the otherwise unsuspecting in Mississippi.

All the RINOs like Sid Salter also want to avoid reminding anyone how Mississippi-lineage John McCain, at the time 43 yeas old, threw his first wife to the curb for a trophy then only 25. Or how McCain proposed to his trophy wife and took out a marriage license (in Arizona) before he was even divorced.

Republicans, like McCain and Thad Cochran, want you to look past all their sordid personal foibles because to do so doesn't mesh with the campaign rhetoric about morality and ethics and abortion they used to get themselves elected. The RINOs already know they cultivated and groomed the reliable Sid Salter's of America to not give them up and, even, to lionize them in death.

Anonymous said...


then you must abhor Trump....good to know.

Anonymous said...

10:01am - WELL SAID!

Golf clap for you! (that is if I can pick out all the tiny pictures with bicycles in the captcha :-P )

Anonymous said...

And not a word about the black McCains in Carrol and their contributions to MS.

Anonymous said...

Now it's being reported Sarah Palin has not been invited to the funeral. I would say I'm shocked....but I'm not. She's probably relieved. What a petty little man.

Anonymous said...

The politics surrounding his death are a real shame. All Americans should at the very least be able to keep their mouths shut and respect his sacrifices for our country. I'd say it's the kids these days who have no respect but most of the disrespect is from people who should no better.

Anonymous said...

I think "Petty little narcissistic attention whore" pretty much sums up his legislative career. Oh, but we must respect the dead, at least for a period of time.

Anonymous said...

Since he pretty well choreographed his own funeral by doing such things as calling Obama and Bush out of the blue and asking them to deliver eulogies, "dis-inviting" Trump, etc., the politics surrounding his demise are largely his own doing.

As to his first wife, she supported his various candidacies and said they remained friends, at least in public, so as the offended party, she has the last word on that front.

As to his "Mississippi connections," since they largely ended prior to his birth and he never lived in Mississippi or asserted his Mississippi roots, he really doesn't have any substantive ties to the state, regardless of Salter trying to dredge some up.

Lastly, I see no reason to speak ill of the dead, so I'll refrain from offering any personal opinion of him.

Sol Juette said...

“Its hot down here!” - John McCain

Anonymous said...

After reading some of the comments above, I have to wonder why anyone with a happy, successful life would run for office in our current political climate or even serve in government.

It's bad enough when, after you retire, the successful smears against you will be used to fuel political flames for the" see the other side was worse people" ( who seem to miss that being less bad isn't good). Alas, we see that even death doesn't end it. Even assassination won't end it no matter if the good you did, like ending a nuclear crisis, outweighed your flaws.

Your family will have to continue suffering the personal attacks and smears from vicious people whose loyalty to a party (or now a person) trumps any sense of decency.

Anonymous said...

I see a comment or two referring to McCain as a narcissist. Speaking of narcissists, I see ole Franc is posting.

Anonymous said...

8:00 - Share your clairvoyance with us. Who the hell is ole Franc?

Anonymous said...

Well, it didn't take Lindsey Graham long to hit the morning shows. He's already found a new sugar daddy in Jeff Sessions.

Anonymous said...

How many of you John McCain haters had the courage to serve in the military while the country was at war?

Anonymous said...

5:18 - There was nothing courageous about John McCain. He joined the military on a magic carpet and quickly rose in seniority due to a silver spoon, not unlike the boys of British royalty, one of whom piloted a helicopter with a golden stick and another of whom rode horses and whacked a ball with a mallet while becoming the equivalent of Lieutenant General. McCain's history of malfeasance is well documented and publicized. Nowhere does it suggest courage.

May his second wife enjoy his pension. And, yes, she's wealthy enough to donate it to the first one.

Anonymous said...

3:51, you are a sad, sad person.

Anonymous said...

@5:18 Let's just be glad that every brave American who has served this country in wartime did not come back and act like this pathetic little creep. We would have no country left.

Anonymous said...

9:41, I am fairly certain you did not serve and you are a Donald Trump fan. Both you and Trump are small people.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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