John McCain has brain cancer and if the diagnosis is correct, his remaining life expectancy can range anywhere between 12 to 60 months in the best case scenario. As an eighty year old man who was in the armed services, fought for his country in Vietnam, suffered through torture and emotional abuse in captivity, it is easy to expect Senator McCain to fight cancer until his last breath.
As a man who chose public service through politics, his health battle does not insulate McCain from his political deeds. It actually sheds light on it.
McCain is in the early stages of the biggest physical battle of his life, but he had the energy to travel across country, the will and purpose to return to Capitol Hill to vote on the motion to proceed on Republican health care legislation that will cause death to many and strip 23 million Americans of health insurance. It was a nakedly partisan act done with clear intent to set the stage for a mass suffering bill. In predictable fashion, McCain spoke on the Senate floor and attempted to project uncertainty of his vote on final legislation and for the Senate to return to a more deliberative legislative body on this important legislation. To press his point, McCain said this: “I will not vote for this bill as it is today,” McCain said, emphasizing every word. “It’s a shell of a bill right now ― we all know that. I have changes urged by my state’s governor that will have to be included to earn my support for final passage of any bill.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell probably couldn’t contain his laughter when McCain uttered those words. He knows McCain was by his side when Republican Senators attempted to repeal Obamacare with partisan regularity. McConnell remembers when the repeal vote was going nowhere last week, the no votes on record came from Senators not named McCain. Then six hours later after giving his speech, McCain voted for the procedurally defeated, horrific BRCA. These realities are not lost on McConnell. McCain’s comments on the Senate floor felt like a man trying to convince himself he’s something other than what he has always been, a reliable partisan who consistently voted with Mitch McConnell when it mattered most. McCain supported McConnell’s years of obstruction and filibustering former President Obama. McCain was by McConnell’s side when he paralyzed judicial appointments and violated the constitution by stopping Obama from filling the previously vacant Supreme Court seat.
As an American, I’m not going to forget how Senator McCain compromised his integrity and our nation’s security for political expediency over his career. I remember when John McCain was running a losing presidential campaign to Barack Obama, he chose the inexperienced, rabidly partisan and intellectually compromised Sarah Palin to be his Vice President of the United States. McCain put the nation at risk just to appease the nativist, racist Republican base with this pick. McCain, a man with the most distinguished military record in the Senate, time and time again gave lukewarm support to then presidential candidate Donald Trump, even though he was aware of his misogyny, unfitness for the office and the prescient warnings of GOP security experts when they said the following in a scathing letter regarding his readiness: “Donald Trump is not qualified to be president and Commander-In-Chief. We are convinced that in the oval office, he would be the most reckless president in American history."
Since being in office, Donald Trump has done nothing to prove those GOP security experts wrong. Trump has violated the emoluments clause in the constitution, likely committed treason and attacked governmental institutions such as the FBI and Department of Justice. McCain silence to muted criticism of Trump rings hollow when you realize when it counts, McCain has voted with Donald Trump ninety four percent of the time. There is very little in McCain’s resume that will prove things will be different in the future.
John McCain deserves the private space to battle his terminal illness with family, friends and doctors. But as a public servant, our country is better served when we stop eulogizing his projections and rhetorical attempts to portray political independence. John McCain has been a pathetic partisan for most of his political career in the legislative branch. John McCain has done enormous damage to millions of Americans because of his ideology, and he’s consistently put party and power over country. That will be his legacy and no passionate speech on the Senate floor will change it.
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