It’s entirely possible this ridiculous John McCain isn’t a war hero because he got captured fiasco is just karma. Ex-New Hampshire Republican Senator Bob Smith told The Washington Post in 2008 McCain once accused him of not being a real Vietnam vet.

Smith, whose service in the Navy included a tour on the waters in and around Vietnam, said he stood stunned one day when McCain declared around several of their colleagues that Smith wasn’t a real Vietnam War veteran. “I was in the combat zone, off the Mekong River, for 10 months,” Smith said. “He went on to insult me several times. I wasn’t on the land; I guess that was his reasoning. . . . He suggested I was masquerading about my Vietnam service. It was very hurtful. He’s gotten to a lot of people [that way].”

There’s no excuse for comments like this, just like there’s no excuse for the “not a war hero” comments directed towards McCain by Donald Trump. It’s petty bickering which doesn’t serve anything. Which is why it’s completely unsurprising for politics. Nasty attacks have existed for centuries, dating back to the formation of America. George Washington was feverishly attacked by Thomas Paine for not getting him out of a French prison in the 1790s. MountVernon.org has a detailed description of Paine’s furious attack.

Paine…accused Washington of using his presidency to enrich himself and his allies at the expense of his former veterans and the country at large. Paine proclaimed: “Monopolies of every kind marked your administration almost in the moment of its commencement. The lands obtained by the revolution were lavished upon partisans; the interests of the disbanded soldier was sold to the speculator; injustice was acted under the pretence of faith; and the chief of the army became the patron of the fraud.”

Paine even questioned Washington’s military leadership in the American Revolution, claiming American victory was due to France, and to other commanders. Paine concluded the diatribe by charging that history would prove him correct, that in future ages, “the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any.”

Harlow Unger wrote in The Unexpected George Washington how Washington was so dismayed by the press attacks he didn’t even bother delivering his second State of the Union in person. He just sent it to Congress for them to read. Alexander Hamilton used his personal animosity towards Aaron Burr to politically fight him in New York, long before their famous duel.

Hamilton’s written attacks on Burr’s character were part of a concerted effort to destroy Burr’s career. Such one on one battles were typical of the bitterly personal nature of early American politics. The fighting was so nasty that politicians even published pamphlets and newspapers filled with allegations about the corruption and sexual misconduct of their enemies.

ReasonTV did a video of the attacks John Adams and Thomas Jefferson levied against each other in 1800.

It got even worse in the 1828 presidential election between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.

[[ Adams supporters ]] thought of Jackson, the victor of New Orleans and conqueror of Florida, as a military tyrant, gambler and drunkard morally unfit for high office. Adams supporters called Jackson – a dueler and Indian fighter – a murderer in a pamphlet showing a row of coffins.

The Jacksonians fought back, attacking Adams as an elitist aristocrat who broke the Sabboth and gambled with a billiard table he bought for the White House. Anti-Adams propaganda even charged he provided a young virgin for the czar of Russia during his tenure as a diplomat.

Both candidates’ wives were attacked, too. The Adams camp discovered Jackson had courted his wife, Rachel, before her divorce in a previous marriage was finalized; such an act usually constituted sin in the morals of the day. Adams’ wife, Louisa, was born in England and was scorned as “foreign” and apathetic about Americans and American politics.

Let’s not forget the personal attacks which were made against Paul Ryan in the 2012 election:

What was said about McCain was wrong, but part of life. Factually false, personal attacks are par for the course in American politics. It just doesn’t make sense for Trump to question McCain’s war hero status, even if he was (allegedly) being flippant. McCain isn’t even running for president. It just makes Trump look ridiculous and the Trumpkins even more so. It’s just no surprise this, or any of the other statements Trump has made, happened. It’s politics.