I once really liked John McCain. Actually, I remember a time where I would have contemplated voting for McCain in a presidential election. Sure, he was a Republican, but he seemed like a straight shooter. In my mind I remember him as a politician who was willing to reach across the aisle to get things done, who understood that governing the nation was more important that partisan squabbles.
My younger readers probably do not remember that John McCain. That John McCain hasn’t really existed since the 2000 presidential campaign, when George W. Bush turned the Republican primary into a graduate level symposium on dirty political tricks. John was lied about, slandered, push polled, lied about, smeared, lathered up with mud, libeled, and lied about, not by a Democrat in a general election, but by a member of his own party. If you haven’t heard the story of what Bush did to McCain, it is really worth reading. Here is a Vanity Fair piece on it, The Trashing of John McCain. Here is a much shorter piece from Bartcop.com if you just want an overview.
2000 started the transformation. It was completed in 2008. The McCain I once respected never would have chosen Sarah Palin as an intern, let alone his running mate. Here was the man who once stood up to the religious right now giving them a sloppy hummer on national tv. The rest of the campaign was painful for those of us who remembered the type of politician McCain once was.
Flashes of the old McCain would still show through at times. During the townhall debate with Obama he stopped a woman who was smearing Obama as an anti-American Muslim. Of course, moments like that didn’t really mean much when his running mate was saying the same thing in her speeches.
After losing despite totally selling his integrity, McCain seemed to transform again, this time into a bitter old man. “Get off my lawn or I will bomb your country back to the stone age!” It is sad really.
Perhaps he realizes that. And perhaps he is trying to remind people of the politician he once was. Or maybe he just can’t stand the grandstanding idiot who is Ted Cruz. Perhaps he is just sick of other Republicans pretending there wasn’t an election in 2012. Who knows. All I know is this post from Dispatches from the Culture Wars reminds me of the old McCain:
The constant refrain from the most extreme Republicans in Congress who are willing to shut down the government in order to defund Obamacare, something they simply don’t have the votes to do, is that they are standing up for the will of the people. John McCain shattered that absurd claim on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday:
McCAIN: I’d remind my colleagues that, in the 2012 election, Obamacare, as it’s called — and I’ll be more polite, the ACA — was a subject that was a major issue in the campaign. I campaigned all over America for two months, everywhere I could. And in every single campaign rally I said “we had to repeal and replace Obamacare.” Well, the people spoke. They spoke, much to my dismay, but they spoke and they re-elected the President of the United States. No that doesn’t mean that we give up our efforts to try to replace and repair Obamacare. But it does mean elections have consequences and those elections were clear, in a significant majority, that the majority of the American people supported the President of the US and renewed his stewardship of this country. I don’t like it, it’s not something that I wanted the outcome to be. But I think all of us should respect the outcome of elections, which reflects the will of the people.
He also slammed Ted Cruz for comparing the fight against Obamacare to the fight against the Nazis, saying, “I do not agree with that comparison. I think it’s wrong. And I think it’s a disservice to those who stood up and shouted at the top of their lungs that we cannot appease, and we must act, and we did act.” Not to mention to those who actually did fight the Nazis.