Remembering John McCain? Don't forget Karin Housley's jokes about his war wounds

Karin Housley has always had choice words for any given situation. Even John McCain running for president.

Karin Housley has always had choice words for any given situation. Even John McCain running for president. Star Tribune

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), who died of brain cancer on Saturday, was many things in life. Many of them were worthy of criticism. His conservative politics, for example, were outwardly civil but still fell far short of moderate.

One thing that almost universally fell beyond reproach are the years he spent as a tortured prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Unless you’re Republican state Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point), in which case, it’s fair game for a bit of light humor.

From 2004 to 2009, Housley, who is currently gunning for United States DFL Senator Al Franken’s old Senate seat, wrote a weekly humor column for the Twin Cities suburb-based Sun Newspapers called "On Riverside Drive."

In 2008, she treated readers to a fun political party game she’d invented, wherein the guests pass themselves off as the high-profile candidates of the day—your Barack Obamas and Sarah Palins.

Her advice on lampooning John McCain goes like this:

“For Senator McCain, you need to do the obvious first, and that’s break your arms and shoulders, and if you can’t do that, put some cotton in your cheeks.”

“If you’re Senator McCain, and you’ve already broken your shoulders and arms for the role, your gestures will come naturally, but be sure to force a smile, and say ‘My friends,’ at least twice while stating your position. This is how you do it in enemy territory.”

Housley didn’t respond to interview requests, so it’s impossible to say what, exactly, she thought was funny about McCain’s injuries, which he says he sustained when one of his captors demolished his shoulder with the butt of a rifle and beat him unconscious for information.

This isn't the first time Karin's "humor" has gotten the better of her.

In her 2001 book, Chicks Laying Nest Eggs: How 10 Skirts Beat the Pants Off Wall Street… And How You Can, Too! she gave cheeky investment advice for women, which roughly amounted to letting your husband believe he knows more than you do and giving him props for looking at you when you’re speaking.

“Stay perkier than your neighbor,” she cautioned.

In her 2009 Valley Life Column, she roasted a male coworker who asked her if she got her pants at a discount.

“’I think he must be gay because first of all, what kind of guy shops at Ann Taylor, and secondly, if they do, who remembers price tags?’”

She wrote those things years ago, but since then, Housley still hasn’t made a habit of considering the impact of her words. Most recently, after the news broke about the murder of Iowan college student Mollie Tibbetts, her first comments were condolences to her suffering family. The next were these:

“This was a preventable tragedy that happened because liberal Democrats and open border advocates are more concerned about protecting criminal aliens than protecting innocent lives.”

If there is something that unifies Housley’s diffuse comments, it’s their overwhelming cheapness. It costs her nothing to blame Mollie’s death on immigrants, or to make fun of McCain’s broken bones. Like all low-hanging fruit, it’s merely convenient. And tasteless.

The full 2008 column, posted by Twitter user Phoenix Woman, can be found here: