John McCain has certainly become the darling First Class of the media since Saturday night when he passed away. Oh, how they love him.
I suspect their lascivious love for him is because he hated Trump as much as they do.
What no one seems to see, though, is that McCain, with his idiotic, reckless and asinine choice of Sarah Palin for vice president in 2008, was the one who paved the way for Trump. He's the one who normalized raw nativism, talking like a fool, being really mean on the airwaves--and not studying up in any academic way on the issues. He gave Trump the green light.
He created the path for a reality TV prez like nobody's business.
McCain was an opportunist. You want a woman? he said. We got one. He didn't look into who she was or how she acted or what she thought. His people dug her up from nowhere in Alaska--and he put her a heart beat away from the presidency, all the more crazy because he had suffered from a serious case of melanoma not all that long before.
Then there was that interchange with the woman who "accused" Obama of being an Arab during a McCain campaign stop; the news has played his response over and over since Saturday night like it was the Gettysburg address. He's a good family man, said McCain. Not an Arab.
What he was really saying was that Arabs aren't good family men. But the news never caught that spin. They liked a presidential candidate who said something nice about his opponent. And they totally missed the real message.
This is what he should have said: "No ma'am, he's not an Arab. His mother is from Kansas, moved to Hawaii with her folks; her family goes way back in America. She met Barack's father, who was from Kenya in Hawaii, when they were both in college. His father went on to get a degree from Harvard, as well. Barack's not an Arab, but if he were, what would be wrong with that? You must look at everyone as an individual, and whether they do right or wrong. And never characterize anyone's ethnicity as good or bad, only their words and deeds."
But he didn't.
McCain will go down in history and beloved, to boot, for saving Obamacare. But instead of making his vote a cliffhanging nightmare that everyone waited for with baited breath--the attention on him all the while--he could have done this: gotten together with his fellow senator, Bernie Sanders--and Trump, for God's sake, who had actually expressed an interest in single payer health care--and said this: "Ok, who's with us? Who wants to try something new? Let's figure out how to do it and get it going! Why save this God-awful mess of a plan that really no one likes? It's expensive and shortsighted and really only enriches the insurance companies in the end. Millions and millions of people are still going to be uninsured if we keep it. Why not join our friends all over the Western World, not to mention the senior citizens in our own country, with something that will improve all our prospects for good health and good health care coverage?"
But he didn't.
There was more than a rumor in 2004 that McCain was asked by colleague John Kerry to be his running mate. But McCain, so the reports went, was wary of Kerry, didn't want to rub shoulders with a liberal.
But what a difference it could have made. He could have truly lived up to his reputation as a maverick. And I know they would have won. All they needed is what Kerry got--and Ohio.
Two military men, who were sensible, sober and knew the score to help us extricate ourselves properly from the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld mess of all messes, the mess that ruined the world as we knew it, the mess we are still in today. It would have been a great and powerful statement to the world that our leaders put politics aside when push comes to shove. It could have been a message to the world that we do have good pols who can look beyond the smoke-filled rooms and out into the world and make it better.
But McCain wouldn't.
He sure did lap up that mind-bending Joe Lieberman endorsement he got, though. Didn't he?
And then there was the Keating Five. McCain accepted money and trips from Charles Keating and had a deep friendship with him, as well. The guy who brought down the savings and loan industry and knocked our economy for a loop in the process. McCain didn't stop associating with him though, until it was obvious to everyone in our country that Keating was no good and was going down. The time a rat bails from a sinking ship.
He was guilty of "bad judgement," McCain said of himself.
And not a moment too soon.
Yes, McCain was a good family man. You can read about that everywhere right now. He was kind and caring enough to bring a disabled orphan into his home and raise her lovingly with his wife and children, who all seem to adore him. And for that, I will give credit where credit's due. For the love in his family that he gave and that he received.
And that is what the media should have concentrated on these last many hours.
Or for the noble deed of not abandoning his fellow prisoners of war in the Hanoi Hilton--when he had the chance. For that, I give him credit, as well. He may have been last last in his class at Annapolis but he was first in class itself when he was a fallen Navy pilot. .
It was McCain the political maverick who fell short. When he had political choices, he put party over purpose, winning over principal and too often put himself over country.
And that's not speaking ill of the dead. It's telling the truth.
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