This morning on "This Week," former Democrat George Stephanopolous was interviewing Sen. John Kerry about McCain's Palin pick. Kerry rightly pointed out that McCain seemed to want to pick someone with more experience and national recognition, but more important, someone with whom he was personally comfortable. Tom Ridge and Joe Lieberman were both names that were tossed around a lot, and both men would be more useful in the VP's chair (and in the Oval Office, just in case) than Palin. But the right wing went nuts, with the Rush Limbaughs of the world declaring, quite literally, that such a pick would "destroy" the Republican party. In the end, McCain kowtowed to the bigmouths and chose a staunch anti-choice conservative who he has only met or spoken with a couple of times in his life.
The word Kerry used was that McCain's choice demonstrated that he was a "prisoner" of the far right.
I don't think McCain's POW experience inoculates him from all criticism. He has plenty of life experience after that, and he shouldn't hide behind that shield at all times, as he's been doing lately.
But it should protect him from "prisoner" references used hyperbolically. The meaning of Kerry's comment was true, but the phrasing was very unfortunate. George cut Kerry off right after that, so even if he'd realized his error and tried to correct it, he didn't have a chance.