Wes Vernon
What to make of a flawed 'hero': McCain and the 'rest of the story'
By Wes Vernon
September 6, 2018

Public commentary on John McCain's death cries out for balance. The senator, whose departure from this planet left behind six or seven days of unremitting and un-contradicted public praise, was – on TV at least – seemingly deemed worthy of the highest level of sainthood.

Granted caution, decent respect for the plus side of his legacy cannot be ignored. And it wasn't. The honorable side of John McCain's life included fighting for his country, refusing an offer of release by his captors because they would not also release his buddies, and other examples worthy of note. What has befuddled many who have tried to dissect the man's basic hatred and bitterness toward others is that such hostility extended surprisingly even to his "friends," including his running mate, Sarah Palin, who in her classy way did not return the put-down.

But why would a public figure, fulsomely honored by his fellow Americans, die harboring a huge amount of extreme resentment that far surpasses the term "grudge." One could note that many a battle-scarred veteran has returned home a "different person," but McCain's circumstance defies such conventional analysis.

The political questions

As one who cast his ballot for John McCain in his 2008 quest for the presidency, it is not unreasonable for me to speculate that if Americans had known then what we later learned about the late Arizona senator, that year's contest would have presented a dilemma. Surely no conservative could have voted for his opponent, Barack Obama. Yet information currently available leads us to conclude that had John McCain been elected that year, his power of the presidency would have projected the full weight of the federal government to the single-minded aim of destroying the conservative movement in these United States.

For a Democrat in the White House, that would have been a given. For Democrats, conservatives are daily political target practice. And we have had some GOP presidents – or RINOs – who have been weak in upholding bedrock principles of America's conservative party. John McCain, however, transcended the cowardice of the Republican Party's "scared rabbits."

The Arizona lawmaker, it is apparent, stabbed conservatives in the back when he cast a deciding vote that killed the party's number one pledge to block socialized medicine in the United States – or "Obamacare." He performed this kick in the teeth to his fellow Republicans with political malice aforethought. What else could have been his motive? To spite President Trump? What constructive purpose did that serve? Some Americans may have disagreed with the president's comment that he preferred military heroes who don't end up being captured – but for that, this angry senator was willing to gamble with the possibility that in decades to come, generations may be consigned to an ineffectual health care system that could cost innocent lives. And for what? All because John McCain had a personal mad-on?

Is all this the result of pure personal pique against conservatism, per se? Consider this: It now turns out that, unbeknownst to the public at the time, McCain collaborated with the Obama administration in its efforts to silence the right of organized conservatives to be heard in the public square. Moreover, apparently to shield this effort on his part from the public, the senator worked through an intermediary answerable to him. The plot was to harass conservative organizations.

All so personal

Then of course, there is the circumstance that while most celebrity funerals are noted for the list of their attendees, the John McCain funeral – on his advance orders – was noted for the list of those who were excluded, not only critics, but even some campaign operatives. Then there are stories of his messy divorce and the cruelty to his first wife, and the agonizing sorrow and abandonment not just of her, but also their children who lost their father from their lives. Others have covered those issues in depth. We here quote the following published comments:

From veteran Ted Sampley, who fought with U.S. Special forces in Vietnam: "I have been following John McCain's career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy, and let me tell you what it is....deceit."

From Ross Perot, who paid medical bills for McCain's first wife, Carol: "The American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel, even by the standards of modern politics. McCain is the classic opportunist.... This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. Yet he has no character. He is a fake."

In conclusion

McCain has gone to the next world to meet whatever fate awaits. Few politicians have left behind such an extremely mixed legacy. But the one-sided glorification of his tenure here on earth right after his departure has been crying out for some balance.

© Wes Vernon


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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