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John McCain Helped Build a Country That No Longer Reflects His Values

August 25, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

Sen. John McCain, facing terminal cancer, will end his career with growing repudiation by his party and the public of positions, from national defense to bipartisanship, that he has long embodied.

Arizona Sen. John McCain – <a target=_blank href="scion”>https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2018/04/02/john-mc… of Navy brass, <a target=_blank href="flyboy”>http://www.newsweek.com/sorry-trump-story-john-mccain-war-hero-355617″>f… turned Vietnam war hero and tireless defender of American global leadership – has <a target=_blank href="discontinued”>https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/24/mccain-to-discontinue-medical-… treatment for his terminal brain cancer.

“…The progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict,” McCain’s family <a target=_blank href="said”>https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/24/senator-mccain-has-chosen-to-discontinue… in a statement. “With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”

I am a <a target=_blank href="scholar”>https://www.american.edu/spa/faculty/esherman.cfm”>scholar of American politics. And I believe that, regardless of his storied biography and personal charm, three powerful trends in American politics thwarted McCain’s lifelong ambition to be president. They were the rise of the Christian right, partisan polarization and declining public support for foreign wars.

Republican McCain was a <a target=_blank href="champion”>http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/227647-sen-mccain-huddles-with-democr… of bipartisan legislating, an approach that served him and the Senate well. But as political divides have grown, bipartisanship has fallen out of favor.

Most recently, <a target=_blank href="McCain”>http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/387037-mccain-urges-senate-to-reject-… opposed Gina Haspel as CIA director for “her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality” and her role in it. Having survived brutal torture for five years as a prisoner of war, McCain maintained a resolute voice against U.S. policies permitting so-called “enhanced interrogations.” Nevertheless, his appeals failed to rally sufficient support to slow, much less derail, her appointment.

Days later, a White House aide said McCain’s opposition to Haspel didn’t matter because <a target=_blank href="“>https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/5/13/17349424/john-mccain-c…“he’s dying anyway.” That disparaging remark and the refusal of the White House to condemn it revealed how deeply the president’s hostile attitude toward McCain and everything he stands for had permeated the executive office.

So McCain ends his career honorably and bravely, but with hostility from the White House, marginal influence in the Republican-controlled Senate, and a public less receptive to the positions he has long embodied.

The outlier

McCain’s first run for the presidency in 2000 captured the imagination of the public and the press, …read more


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