Hearing of the death of Senator John McCain, I decided to take a little time to think about things. I often do this, trying to determine if I have anything useful to say, perhaps something no one else has. Often, I conclude I don’t. We’re deluged with information like never before in history, and I can’t cover it all, nor do I have an interest in so doing. I already wrote about the Senator back in May in John McCain: Cruel Regrets, just after he announced he was fighting an aggressive brain cancer. Reviewing that article, and reading the many Internet articles about McCain, his good and bad qualities, his accomplishments and failures, I decided I said everything I could reasonably add to public discourse back in May. I concluded that article:
When John McCain meets his end, I’ll feel no joy; the bell tolls for us all. But many of his colleagues will breath a sigh of relief. His ill temper caused a great deal of damage. I suppose there is a temptation to take a few swipes at those we dislike as we near the end. After all, at that point, who cares about social—or other—repercussions? But if one is concerned about one’s legacy, about the way one will be remembered, it is fitting to leave with a modicum of humility and grace. It would appear no one will be accusing John McCain of that.
I pray for his soul, and for the comforting of his family and those that loved him. I commend his service, in the military and in the Senate, but no man, particularly a public man, is immune from criticism, from the consequences of his actions and omissions, in life or death.
But I cannot help finding his legacy soiled by his willful and ugly defeat of the effort to end Obamacare. He was among the Republicans who, for years, swore they would repeal Obamacare at the first opportunity. We can’t do it because Obama will just veto it,they said. Give us control of the government, and we’ll repeal it so fast… Then, miracle of miracles, we gave Republicans the White House, the Senate and the House, and suddenly, there were all manner of excuses–we have to have supermajorities; the sun was in our eyes; we slipped on a banana peel; the media will be mean to us; Democrats will be mean to us–why they couldn’t repeal Obamacare. Why, one would think they never really intended to repeal it at all. One might think they lied to the American people!
Until, that is, they mounted one last ditch attempt to do away with the entire Obama abomination, and it came down to a single Republican senate vote: John McCain. Instead of keeping his promises, instead of helping the American people, he chose—with delight, and every bit of melodrama he could manage—to spit in the eye of Donald Trump and every American.
That was unsurprising. Over his long career, McCain had often been a “maverick,” if maverick is defined as one who betrays the trust of his party and the American people out of spite. I thought it nearly impossible to think more poorly of McCain. And then I found this article from Brietbart:
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who was Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election, has been excluded from his funeral.
Breitbart News has independently confirmed an earlier report in People magazine, which reported that Palin was not sent an invitation, and was told through intermediaries to stay away from the ceremony.
McCain fundraiser Carla Eudy confirmed to People that Palin had not been invited — possibly, People speculated, at the behest of the McCain family. [skip]
But unlike Trump [who was also not invited], Palin never feuded with McCain and never criticized him.
As I noted in the original article, Palin has always been very gracious toward McCain. She wrote:
‘When news broke on Saturday of McCain’s passing, Palin said: ‘Today we lost an American original. Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life — and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self.
John McCain was my friend. I will remember the good times. My family and I send prayers for Cindy and the McCain family.”
McCain was anything but gracious toward Palin. In his final, ghostwritten book, he cruelly insulted her, as I noted in the original article:
‘The New York Times reported on Saturday that McCain, while still defending Palin’s performance, said in his upcoming book, ‘The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and other Appreciations,’ that he wishes he had instead selected former Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.)
His advisers reportedly had warned against choosing Lieberman, who was once a Democrat, stating that Lieberman’s support of abortion rights could divide Republicans. [skip]
‘It was sound advice that I could reason for myself,’ he writes. ‘But my gut told me to ignore it and I wish I had.’
In a new HBO documentary, McCain goes on to say that not choosing Lieberman was “another mistake” that he made in his political career.’
Sarah Palin, graciously has observed that the slight hurts, but attributes it to McCain’s ghost writer rather than to McCain, who she says has always told her otherwise. Of course, McCain has always had a tendency to turn on friends at the drop of a hat.
Many in the Beltway blamed Palin for McCain’s loss in 2008 — even though Barack Obama had benefited from a sudden financial crisis and a biased press corps [to say nothing of his bizarre response to that crisis]. That view seemed to have seeped into McCain’s own thinking.
Still, Palin never took offense, and always honored McCain. Even after being excluded from the funeral, she declined to criticize him.
It has also been reported that McCain—or perhaps his family—did not invite many of the top officers involved in his failed 2008 presidential campaign. Many are reciting McCain’s virtues, but when he knew his time was short, he chose to turn on the American people, and to treat those owed loyalty with disdain. It was said in eulogizing McCain that we will not see his like again. I leave it to you, gentle readers, to decide if that is, on balance, a good or bad thing.