Were you surprised when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) announced that he would vote against the latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare authored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA)? No, neither was I. In fact the only person that may have been surprised was Mr. McCain’s best friend in the United State Senate – Mr. Graham. Mr. Graham who played “Mini-me” to Mr. McCain’s “Dr. Evil” for all these years should not have been surprised given Mr. McCain’s serial treachery.
But that is the essence of Mr. McCain. He has made a career out of stabbing his fellow Republican senators in the back for almost four decades – even after they bailed his ethically challenged butt out of trouble during the Keating Scandal when allegations were made that Mr. McCain and four other senators accepted money from real estate developer Charles Keating in exchange for attempting to pressure federal financial regulators. Mr. McCain is the person to whom liberals in the mainstream media routinely turn in order to suggest that their criticism of everything conservative is somehow bipartisan. He is the proverbial scat in the punchbowl.
Mr. McCain is a bona fide war hero for having endured torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese. That can never be taken from him but you can be a war hero and a jerk at the same time. The reality is that despite being a war hero, Mr. McCain is certainly not a heroic figure nor an honorable man. He is a little man possessed of the miseries that come with pettiness, narrowness of perspective and meanness of spirit. It probably arises from a his quest for “greatness” – the greatness that was part and parcel of the legacy of his father and grandfather as admirals in the United States Navy. A quest for greatness that he has never achieved. A quest where his small achievements were really due to the greatness of others. A quest where position substitutes for accomplishment.
Mr. McCain was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He graduated 894th out of 899 cadets. In all probability Mr. McCain would have never been admitted to the Naval Academy had not his father and his grandfather both been revered admirals in the Navy. His first marriage ended fundamentally because he thought his wife was not good enough for his ambitions. He married his current wife who was both wealthy and attractive and has used her money and connections ever since.
He was rejected twice in his quest for the presidency and has maintained his personal animosity towards the victors (Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama) ever since. In the aftermath of his defeats Mr. McCain was never loath to criticize Mr. Bush and became the favorite source of criticism for the mainstream media. In contrast while he seethed at his loss to Mr. Obama and even more particularly at the condescending ways in which Mr. Obama treated him, he was muted in his criticism both as a result of disinterest by the media of any criticism of Mr. Obama, who they adored, and his fear of being branded a racist.
His rise in the Senate had nothing to do with skill or accomplishments and everything to do with longevity. Mr. McCain’s signature accomplishment in the Senate was the McCain-Feingold bill that sought to unconstitutionally restrict political speech by entities and individuals. The United States Supreme Court in Citizens United struck down the key provisions of the bill leaving an empty and meaningless shell to linger on the books – an allegory for Mr. McCain’s contributions towards a better country.
The Republican’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is dead. Mr. McCain’s claim that he wants a bipartisan effort to fix Obamacare is a sham. He knows that the Democrats will not allow any significant change to Obamacare when they can count on Mr. McCain blocking any Republican attempts to repeal and replace. It’s pretty obvious from demands by the Democrats that their only acceptable solution is to increase funding to Obamacare in hopes of luring back the health insurance companies who have quit the program through even greater federal subsidies.
So what is Mr. McCain’s real motive in resisting Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare? There are some unsavory hints that Mr. McCain has let his personal animus towards President Donald Trump interfere with his public duty.
The July 28 issue of Independent reported on the events leading up to Mr. McCain’s first vote to block the repeal and replace efforts:
“The veteran senator remained tight-lipped about his intentions before he reached the Senate floor early on Friday morning on a night of high suspense. He told reporters to “watch the show” as he entered the room”.
You might wonder why Mr. McCain would rise from his hospital bed after serious brain surgery, travel nearly 2400 miles from Phoenix, AZ to Washington, DC to cast the deciding procedural vote to ensure consideration of the repeal and then cast the deciding vote to ensure its defeat? Had Mr. McCain not cast the critical vote to allow the repeal of Obamacare to advance to debate, the matter would have remained in limbo and the Republicans would have been tasked to find a compromise that could have delivered that extra one crucial vote. No, Mr. McCain’s actions ensured a substantive defeat of repeal and replace. But why?
Photos of Mr. McCain in the immediate aftermath of the vote saw him gleefully laughing with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schummer (D-NY). The Independent Journal Review reported:
“Jack Posobiec, author of “Citizens for Trump,” told radio talk show host Chris Salcedo on Monday that, following the vote, a staffer near McCain’s office overheard the “maverick” senator say: “Let’s see Donald make America great again now.’”
Whatever the truth is, Mr. McCain’s past conduct and personal animosity towards Mr. Trump lends credence to that story.
If this is the case, the Republican leadership should worry greatly that any attempts at reforming the federal tax code, reforming immigration or clamping down on sanctuary cities will meet with the same fate with Mr. McCain ready to cast the decisive vote to deny Mr. Trump any accomplishment of his agenda.
When the hammer drops at the end of the 115th Congress and the Republicans have accomplished nothing, the 2018 elections will see the Democrats once more in control of the Senate, And when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hands the gavel to Mr. Schummer, Mr. McCain can take a bow for having destroyed the Republican majority. (And frankly, Mr. McConnell will have to accept a portion of the blame for not exercising his power to punish Mr. McCain for his use of the Senate to pursue a personal vendetta.) In his failed quest for glory, for self-importance and for adulation, Mr. McCain will be remembered only for treachery, revenge and infidelity.