The Daily Vigil, 7/26/17: The Cowardice of John McCain
I’m sure y’all think today’s Vigil is going to be about health care, but it isn’t. Health care is in here, to be sure, but it isn’t my focus. No, today I’m looking squarely at Arizona Senator John McCain. And just so you don’t think I’m burying my lede, allow me to be as forthcoming as possible: John McCain is an unrelenting hypocrite and an abjectly irredeemable coward.
A Brief Introduction: If you’re the sort of person reading the Vigil on a daily basis, you probably know what happened yesterday. The Senate voted to allow debate on the Better Care Reconciliation Act. This does not mean that the BCRA passed, or Obamacare is repealed; it just means that amendments to the BCRA can now be voted on. Further, the timetable of this process means that the BCRA will either be law or in the garbage by Friday, if not sooner. (So as always, CALL YOUR SENATORS.)
You also probably know that Senator McCain recently had surgery above his eye. This was to operate on a blood clot he had. He was also found to have brain cancer, and is currently receiving treatment for it. It was assumed that because of his diagnosis and treatment, he wouldn’t be voting on whether to bring the BCRA to the floor. But, he found the strength to hoist himself up out of his (taxpayer funded) hospital bed, race back to Washington, and cast the deciding vote allowing the BCRA to move forward. Afterward, he gave a very rousing speech about the bill and how the Senate has been operating in general, saying that he wishes the Senate weren’t so divided.
It was a very inspiring speech. And it shows exactly the kind of garbage human being he is.
John McCain, Punkass: There is no justifiable reason that McCain should have allowed this bill to get to the floor. He’s 80 years old and will probably retire after his current term- possibly sooner, considering his brain cancer. Thus, he doesn’t have to worry about voting one way or another to ensure re-election. And the bill itself is a dumpster fire. Every aspect and proposed amendment makes our nation’s health care situation much, much worse. There is no justifiable reason he should have allowed this motion to pass.
However, there are two possibilities to explain his vote yesterday.
- He’s Afraid of Trump and/or McConnell: Maybe he doesn’t want to be seen as disloyal. Maybe they’re threatening his legacy, or threatened to scuttle his other Congressional projects. Whatever the specifics are, it could be the case that McCain voted as he did because he’s afraid of something the Administration or Majority Leader might do to him.
- He Actually Thinks This Bill Will Help: I don’t even know what to say about this possibility, but there it is. His little speech aside, maybe he thinks that ripping 20,000,000 Americans off health care will help the nation more than not.
Whatever his motivations are, there’s no more beating around the bush. John McCain was the singular vote that made the BCRA a looming reality for tens of millions of Americans, when he could have been the man who protected them from it. He makes these big speeches, he talks about his “grave concerns“, and then he votes in line with the Trump Agenda. He votes in line with the Trump Regime’s wishes 90% of the time. He talks his big game of resistance and independence and then toes the party line, right on que. He’s a punkass. He might even be worse than Ted Cruz, dare I say it- at least you know Ted Cruz is always going to be the biggest bastard possible. But McCain makes himself seem reasonable. He gives credence to the idea of the “Moderate Congressional Republican”- which, I’ll be honest- I doubt this is actually a kind of person that exists in Congress. There’s only ever just enough Moderates to not block the agenda, you ever notice that? Seems to me like that’s staged dissent. But I digress.
There’s no other way around it. He’s a disgrace. He has once again put the wellbeing of the country at risk when he could have stopped the madness. Remember the Betsy DeVos vote? He could have stopped her. He could have prevented that know-nothing, Bible-thumping, anti-students-rights Dominionist from ever setting foot in the White House. One more vote would have sunk her, but nope! There he is, voting for a woman that has no business running a PTA meeting, much less all the nation’s public schools. He doesn’t stand up to his party in any meaningful way, and so it has to be said again: He is a coward.
Military Service is No Shield: I’ve held off on fully criticizing McCain before. Like many, I’ve pulled my punches with him; I always couch my critiques with “I’m thankful for his service” or something of that nature. But at this point, I’m done. We all have to be done with this. Whatever service he had, however harrowing his time as a prisoner of war- means nothing today. He was taken prisoner in 1967. That’s fifty years ago. He retired from the Navy in 1980, years before much of my generation was even born. Whatever he did back then, however he conducted himself, none of it is in any way relevant to the struggles we go through today. So stop treating him with kids’ gloves.
And I have family who’re ex-military (don’t we all?). I have friends who’ve served, and their families have served as well. Many of them are probably not going to be very happy with me for saying things like this, but at this point we have to call this knee-knocking, hand-wringing acquiescence out by name. We’re never going to overcome it as a nation unless we call it what it is.
We must demand that our Congresspeople stand up to their parties when that party is actively working against the health of our people. This is not to say we can never debate an imperfect bill- we’d never get anything done if we demanded perfection from the start- but in these rare cases where the legislation in question is so irredeemably harmful that a “health care” bill is nothing but a rich man’s tax cut in disguise, we must put our foot down. We must show courage and tell our party that this shall not stand.
John McCain has once again failed to do so, and he must be called to account for his gutless hypocrisy.