Day -44: It’s Time for John McCain to Grow a Pair
John McCain is 80 years old. He’s been in Congress since 1983 and been a Senator since 1987. He’s historically been a badass, once remarking during the early days of his political career, “the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi,” referring to his brutal five and a half years in the city as a prisoner of war of the North Vietnamese.
While he lost a presidential bid to President Obama in 2008, McCain has long been respected in this country, not only for his military service, but for his ability to reach across the aisle and deal with issues from a bipartisan standpoint. Many still believe he would have won in 2008 had he chosen an American at random to be his VP instead of Sarah Palin.
Then, Donald Trump came along. McCain endorsed and unendorsed and re-endorsed, supported and unsupported and re-supported Trump so many times, we’ve lost track at where he ended up.
Trump said McCain — perhaps the most well known POW in our nation’s history — wasn’t a war hero because McCain got captured. What was McCain’s response? Depending on which way the wind blew, he endorsed, unendorsed, re-endorsed, supported, unsupported or re-supported him.
Imagine someone trashing you because you were shot down and tortured for a half decade. Would you give them the slightest bit of respect, much less kowtow to them because there’s an (R) next to their name on a ballot?
McCain’s current stance is to avoid discussing the “T” word altogether.
Trump’s bullying tactics over the next few years are predictable. He’ll threaten any Republican who doesn’t fall in line with a primary battle in two, four or six years. There will be public disparaging, too, via Twitter or otherwise.
The former will have no effect on McCain. He just won his reelection bid, earning six more years as the senior Senator from Arizona. He’ll be 86 years old in 2022 at the end of his term.
It’s highly unlikely that any of the following happen: a) Trump is President in six years; b) Trump is wildly popular in six years; c) McCain wants to run for a seventh Senate term; d) McCain would be unable to overcome any slandering from Trump.
In reality, it would take all four of those elements to happen to cost McCain his seat. And at that point, would he really care?
Further, McCain has already been verbally assaulted by Trump and was reelected by Arizonans anyway. There’s no reason to think someone of McCain’s stature would be particularly adversely affected by name-calling and intimidation from the president.
And yet, McCain hasn’t been a consistent outspoken critic of Trump in any meaningful capacity. Currently, he’s avoiding the topic entirely.
Just as the country has respected his heroism and leadership in the decades following his years as a POW, the country is looking for a non-Democrat hero and a leader to stand-up to a particularly vile president-elect.
McCain is the logical choice to be the first and loudest voice to come from the conservative right to speak out against Trump. He has the political clout to quickly gain allies and he’s perhaps the most well known member of Congress.
Will he do it?
He hasn’t so far. And there’s a huge difference between being the first and most prominent name to speak out against Trump and being a name to eventually speak out against Trump.
History remembers the John Hancocks of the world: the first, the biggest, the boldest.
John McCain’s political career started after unflinching heroism; it’d be poetic if his political career concluded by holding the man who said he wasn’t a hero accountable every second of the next 1505 days.
-44 days in, 1505 to go
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