Back in 2008, before John McCain was about to lose his race for the presidency to Barack Obama, I wrote an article which said, in part --
When discussing John McCain, you begin with “noble,” “heroic” and “honor.” And then add “beyond admiration.” John McCain did something most people couldn’t even dream of doing. Myself included. His actions 40 years ago define virtue.
(The other choice he made to jeopardize the country had to do with allow his supporters to whip up into a fury against Barack Obama with cries of "traitor," "treason," and "kill him" without bluntly and forcefully shutting them down. But that isn't the point here.)
The title of the article was "John McCain Wants to Win at All Costs, But It Has a Cost." And that is the point.
The point is that John McCain long ago gave up wanting to put America first. And he's now proven that point again. He's previously demonstrated that by him saying he supports Donald Trump as president. And bad as this is for a man who was himself called a "loser" by Donald Trump for being captured during the Vietnam War, before being tortured while sticking by his men, it's far worse than that. Consider: only two months ago, Sen. McCain (R-AZ) said about Donald Trump --
"I would also echo the many concerns about Mr. Trump’s uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues that have been raised by 65 Republican defense and foreign policy leaders."
So, let's be clear about that. A man who John McCain thinks is "uninformed" and "dangerous" is the person he is endorsing to be President of the United States.
In the words of another Republican leader, "There you go again."
And so much, again, for John McCain putting America first.
But the thing is, it's really even more than that. It's not just who he is endorsing, despite calling him "uninformed" and "dangerous" and himself being smeared by the man, but the empty, soulless reasons he's given for doing so.
Appearing on CNN's State of the Union this past Sunday, John McCain explained himself and why he's supporting Donald Trump. It's not, however, because he believes Trump is good and experienced and diplomatic and accomplished. Indeed, he doesn't say that at all. It's because...well, because others voted for him. So, heck, may as give up your own thinking and opinions of what's best, and just go along with the crowd.
“You have to draw the conclusion that there is some distance, if not a disconnect, between party leaders and members of Congress and the many voters who have selected Donald Trump to be the nominee of the party,” McCain said. “You have to listen to people that have chosen the nominee of our Republican Party," he said. Later adding, "I think it would be foolish to ignore them."
Me, I think it would be foolish to listen to them. "Dangerous," too.
I don't remotely believe that Donald Trump is like Adolph Hitler. But it's important for John McCain to remember that the voters in Germany selected Hitler to be the leader of their party, as well. Would Sen. McCain have said at the time, "I think it would be foolish to ignore them"??
Why on earth would John McCain -- who used to be a pretty honorable guy, even if I disagreed with his politics -- just simply support someone he considers "uninformed" and "dangerous" and who smeared him merely because a plurality of members in his party voted for him? Certainly he doesn't consider that leadership, since it's merely "follow the crowd." I suspect Mr. McCain gave his reason why in private comments he made recently that got released, in which he said if Trump was at the top of the GOP ticket then that would make his own Senate race in Arizona very difficult. The hell with what's best for the country, he seems to be saying now, I want mine. And while I understand that attitude on a small personal level, it loses its substance when the country is, in fact, what's at stake. And once again, as with nominating Sarah Palin, John McCain has put America last.
In fact, Sunday was a day for John McCain's empty, perfunctory statements. When asked on CNN if Donald Trump should retract his statements calling undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. "rapists" and "criminals," the senator refused to dare make any criticism. Instead, he said --
“Oh, I don’t know. I think that it’s important that we understand the importance of the Hispanic vote in America. Many states — in Arizona, more than 50 percent of the kids in school are Hispanic. After the 2012 election, as you know, we laid out a blueprint and part of it was outreach to the Hispanic community. I think we ought to recognize that the Republican Party has to do that.”
Consider that a moment. John McCain acknowledges how large the Hispanic vote is -- how large it especially is in his own Arizona -- how critically important the GOP said it was four years ago to build support with Hispanics, and yet he still won't criticize Donald Trump for demeaning those very people.
Perhaps those very people will remember that when they go to the polls in such large numbers in Arizona. John McCain may think his race is harder with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. But his own words and actions keep making it harder.
So, there's today's John McCain. The man who put Sarah Palin on his ticket as Vice-President of the United States, to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, and who supports Donald Trump to actually be President. A man he himself calls...oh, you know.
But hey, let's say it again because it bears repeating and repeating. "Uninformed" and "dangerous."
And it bears repeating, too, that John McCain was the man who wouldn't shut down his supporters in the maniacal cries of "traitor," "treason," and "kill him" against Barack Obama, but instead snarled derisively at "That one."
John McCain, that one, still putting America last. How deeply some have fallen.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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