John McCain: Hold Up
Just two weeks removed from being diagnosed with brain cancer, John McCain valiantly returned yesterday to the Senate floor to deliver a scathing speech decrying the haphazard process of constructing healthcare policy. Even the hipster lefties at Buzzfeed raved about the ‘lion’ of the Senate’s remarks and the Washington Post claimed his stern rhetoric highlighted, “Senator McCain’s tenacity and shrewd judgement to be independent minded, a strong leader, and patriotically prudent.”
But take a moment and look bit deeper into the history of the most notable Vietnam veteran and one will find these descriptions of him are more fiction than fact.
John McCain’s career as a Senator began in 1987, and he quickly became known as someone who’d break ranks with his party. But in reality, it wasn’t until 2002 when he first spearheaded bipartisan legislation (this was the notable campaign finance reform he created with Senator Feingold, a former Democrat from Wisconsin, to reform campaign finance law.)
If you’re struggling to find any other moments of ‘maverick’ acts from the former Navy pilot, that’s understandable, because the notion that John McCain has a legacy of being an apolitical and impartial politician is absurd. In over a quarter century as a public official, Senator McCain has voted with the Republican Party over 97% of the time — making him one of the most partisan nationally elected officials ever. Despite countless on-camera criticisms of the current administration, Senator McCain has voted for 91% of the Trump’s agenda.
Worse, Senator McCain has been a vocal opponent of some of the most deplorable and illogical Republican ideas in modern history: defunding science research, propping up Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, not supporting same-sex marriage, and continuing to this day to be a faithful supporter of the Iraq war.
Supporters of the Senator argue he hasn’t mastered the subject of every complex subject and instead provided sound leadership on the matters he most cares about. They also claim Senator McCain has shown to have strong crises management skills. These claims, however, are not borne out by empirical evidence.
A vocal opponent of providing of veterans with adequate compensation and health coverage, Mr. McCain, has been worthless on taking substantives measures on this issue. Since the beginning of the Iraq war, Senator McCain’s only veteran focused initiative has been the Veteran Deserve Act that he introduced in April 2016. Out of the past fifteen VA Acts of legislation, Senator McCain is not directly responsible for any of them.
Even more alarming, is the former Prisoner of War’s nonchalant eagerness to send troops at any possible opportunity. As an individual who’s experienced the horrors of participating in a baseless war, it’s perplexing to see Senator McCain vocally advocate for an illogical and geopolitically counterproductive ground invasion on several occasions.
Mr. McCain’s true incompetency and lack of crisis management competency was highlighted nine years ago during his attempt to be the leader of the free world. On September 24th, 2008, amid his second failed Presidential run, the Senator “suspended his campaign” to focus on the faltering economy.
What seemed like a valiant effort was later uncovered to be a political stunt. Mr. McCain still received campaign funds and close staff members later admitted this was an attempt to prop up his abysmal standings in the polls.
Worse, Mr. McCain was useless in conjuring up solutions to combat the unfolding 2008 global economic crises. Henry Paulson, the Republican Secretary of Treasury at that time, noted in his memoir that in the multitude of meetings they had on the global financial crises…Senator McCain never spoke once. Paulson notes that when it came to handling tough issues, it looked like Barack Obama was the wise and astute public servant and Mr. McCain was a young and idealist community organizer.
On a grander scale, Senator McCain has been far from morally pure — the early loan scandals of the Keating 5, purposefully hiding his adopted Bangladeshi daughter during his Presidential campaign, supporting George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, his decision to vote against making Martin Luther King Day a holiday.
Perhaps these are all excusable, but the one act that cannot be excused is nominating Sarah Palin as your Vice President (Note: no association with Governor Palin is acceptable).
If Donald Trump is the Venmo of low information cancer on Democracy then Governor Palin is the PayPal of American anti-intellectual trash. Her ascension, along with the rise of crazy conservatism that has now permeated every level of government, would not have been possible without Senator McCain’s putting her at the near top of the Presidential ticket.
In his speech yesterday, Senator McCain slammed fellow colleagues and said Senators should band together and, “pass something that will be imperfect, full of compromises, and not very pleasing to implacable partisans on either side, but that might provide solutions for problems Americans are struggling with today.” And further went on to claim, “the work we do is important and is above more than? our personal interests or political affiliation.”
To that Senator, I say hold up.