Sunday, August 26, 2018

An Asterisk for the Maverick

Senator John McCain will go down in history as a true American hero. One cannot imagine the horrors of being held captive by a hostile enemy for five years. His military record and most aspects of his Senate career are worthy of praise and respect. He truly gave his life for this nation. Honor and accolades are pouring out from leaders across the world and we want to uplift and support his family in this difficult time for them.

Criticism in time of death is a delicate and sensitive matter. The only way to approach it is to be truthful. There will always be an asterisk attached to the legacy of Senator McCain because of the most egregious political decision of his laudable career. Selecting Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign reshaped American politics, gave rise to the Tea Party/Birther/Alternative Fact crowd, and provided a platform for the new era of destructive politics.

It was obvious that she was not qualified to be placed with that level of trust and responsibility. The venal and racist lies that she spewed out damaged our body politic, divided our country, and marginalized any fact based criticism from large media companies. She stood on stage after stage and repeated falsehoods about President Obama and she demonstrated a complete lack of basic knowledge of civic institutions. You can draw a direct line from her sophomoric, immature, racist propaganda to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. Sadly, Senator McCain's legacy is tarnished by that.

It's clear that he tried to distance himself from the beast he unleashed. His former campaign manager Steve Schmidt has been trying to back peddle from that decision at least five times a day on MSNBC. It is telling that he is one of 45's most vocal critics. But you have to wonder if the political repentance is due to the collective shunning of his so-called establishment politics by 45's supporters which left him and his counterparts with less of an influence in Republican politics. Perhaps he should have learned to speak Russian...that might have gained him a foothold in 45's circle of advisers (gangsters).

But this is about Senator McCain who was the candidate and could have rejected such a ridiculous and thick headed running mate. He chose not to do that and his legacy is stained because of that. By using his thumbs down vote against repealing the ACA he was able to metaphorically give the middle finger to 45 and his ilk. It was a grand gesture of atonement and signaled some aspect of recognition of his boneheaded decision to run with Gov. Palin.

Again, criticism in the time of death is delicate. Senator McCain has done more for this nation than just about any other towering figure from his generation. 45's ugly, divisive, and dirty style of politics is coming under intense scrutiny. Let's hope that the retrograde political genie that Senator McCain unleashed in 2008 will be placed back in the racist bottle where it belongs.