This is why @BarackObama is my forever President #RIPJohnMcCain pic.twitter.com/5RykNVEV5D
— Hercules Mulligan (@johnvmoore) August 26, 2018
Amy Silverman, in the Phoenix New Times, “He Was America’s Senator, Not Arizona’s”:
…In so many ways — throughout his life and now in his death — John McCain is an optical illusion. Look at the drawing one way, and it’s a haggard old lady. Shift your gaze and it’s a beautiful young girl.
If you liked McCain, his smile was broad and inviting, like you were in on a private joke with the guy. But if he wasn’t your favorite, that smile was a smirk, or even a sneer.
McCain, who died Saturday at age 81, was widely viewed as a maverick — and an opportunist…
He was a tireless champion of campaign finance reform who made enemies with his establishment-bucking efforts. Or he was the shyster trying to rehabilitate himself after his starring role as a member of the Keating Five, an aggressive candidate who never did stop taking millions of dollars in campaign contributions from special interests.
And then there was his complicated relationship with our state.
John McCain lived in many places after Vietnam, but for the last 36 years he called Arizona home, and represented the state in Congress — from 1982 to 1986 as a representative, and then from ‘86 to his death as a member of the United States Senate.
McCain embraced Arizona, adopting the pretty landscape of central Phoenix and Cornville, posting photos of red-rock hikes, but doing very little during his tenure to support the state. In fact, his stand against “pork-barrel politics” at a time when his colleagues in Congress were busy lining their own states’ pockets with infrastructure cost Arizona dearly while increasing McCain’s popularity as a refreshingly honest leader who turned down handouts.
In a lot of ways, it didn’t matter what state he lived in. John McCain was America’s senator, not Arizona’s, a transplant (or a carpetbagger — again, it depends on your perspective) who adopted the state as his own…
I covered McCain for this paper during the ’90s, as the local spotlight went national. The Arizona media – for which he’d never had much use – watched as the senator glad-handed Washington and New York reporters, boarding the Straight Talk Express in 2000, bound for the presidency. That job was not to be his – not in 2008, either — and in the ensuing years even the national media seemed to grow a little tired of McCain’s maverick/opportunist stands.
And then in summer 2017, beloved John McCain was back, with a diagnosis of brain cancer and – it seemed – a desire to set the record straight by saving the day. His dramatic thumbs-down on the floor of the U.S. Senate effectively ended Donald Trump’s efforts to gut health care reform (for the moment, anyway) and served as a big, satisfying “fuck you” to the president. McCain decried Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio and his decision to dismantle DACA, criticizing the president at every turn.
Never mind that tax reform basically negated any good done by McCain’s health care vote. As 2017 ended, even some of the senator’s most devoted haters were converts.
He’d secured his spot in history, something that was definitely on his mind – or, at least, the minds of his advisers, who announced just before Christmas that McCain’s legacy would be the development of 45 miles of the Rio Salado, a grand and romantic idea (with pretty significant potential environmental impact issues). Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton named an airport terminal after McCain. Joe Biden reached across the aisle to Meghan McCain on The View, offering comfort as someone who’d seen a loved one (his son) die of cancer, and the world teared up.
But I can’t help but wonder if the long view will be quite so kind to McCain.
Will John McCain go down in history as the refreshing voice of reason, the antidote to Trump? He might.
Or history might take a different view. Will McCain instead be remembered as the man who opened the door in 2008 to Sarah Palin, simultaneously setting the table for the Tea Party and ultimately making a spot for Trump himself?
It all depends on your perspective…
I don't think John McCain cared one goddamn bit what Trump did or did not say about him before and I think a nice way to honor him would be for the rest of us not to care one goddamn bit what Trump does or does not have to say about him now.
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) August 26, 2018
Special Counsel Mueller has served our country with honesty and integrity. It’s critical he be allowed to complete a thorough investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election — unimpeded.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 18, 2018
The one thing that McCain admitted was that he was not perfect, including his time in the Senate. Imagine if you will, trump doing the same.
Most of you have no idea who Ted Sampley was and how he attacked McCain.
I think he was a not very bright guy who got along well with the kind of people who tend to become senators. I wish his family the comfort and healing I would wish anyone in a state of grief. That’s all.
Yep, his fine legacy of “integrity” was fittingly celebrated by the mass shooting today, as he was one of the top five lifelong recipients of NRA blood money.
Thoughts and prayers, senator. Meanwhile, y’all geniuses keep up the hagiography.
I don’t give one rats ass what anybody thinks of him and neither did he.
@raven: Oh, my.
Last evening I watched Jon Stewart talk about Mr. Puddles and McCain’s debate performance. It was a perfect way to remember him.
@Lapassionara: He used to have a concession stand next to the Wall selling Vietnam trinkets and shit.
I think Erik Loomis at LGM has it about right.
You hate Lyndon Johnson because of the Vietnam war notwithstanding all the good he did for civil rights, Medicare and Social Security.
You honor John McCain because he served in the Vietnam war notwithstanding that he spent the rest of his life supporting policies that trampled on old people, poor people, and people of color.
I guess that makes some kind of sense.
Such a contrast with
Without changing one single word apart from the title and name, that message could be sent to/about literally anyone.
There isn’t one word that isn’t clichéd, anodyne boilerplate. Neither he nor anyone on his administrative staff (looking at you, John Kelly) or communications team (looking at you, Sarah Huckabee Sanders) gave this not-at-all-unexpected event as much thought as they’d give to the weighty “two scoops or three?” question.
Fuck him all to hell and gone.
@raven: I know someone who bombed Hanoi, and he actually still believes that shit. There’s a small group of AF guys still alive spreading the word.
Oh really? He chose Sarah Palin for his VP because he didn’t give one rat’s ass what people thought of him?
@JPL: I should have added that McCain didn’t give a shit then, and certainly doesn’t now.
@raven: Well said.
A NYT’s tribute to Senator McCain closed with a quote from Senator Susan Collins.
My question for Senator Collins and others who have expressed similar sentiments: Have you considered working on your roars?
@Steeplejack: I was going to suggest that to @eemom:
Makes you wonder what other obituaries Loomis has lined up.
What an evil, little, piece of shit. I would have lived happily never having heard of him
@Mary G: We have to accept the fact that our president is a f..king coward, and most two year olds are better behaved. He is a sick man.
That was meant to reply to raven but . . . edit . . .
OK – I quit – I can’t manage to get the right reply button. Sorry all
Despite knowing that he wasn’t going to make it, he refused to resign early enough that a special election could be held to replace him – instead, the Trumpkin governor gets to appoint a replacement who’ll serve for two full years.
Fuck that guy.
Double yup, and there’s more there too at the site.
@Mary G: I just read the Washington Post article and yet John Kelly and Sarah Sanders still work for him. What honorable people they are.
Yup. A media built perpetual warmonger of a republican daddy. Fuck him.
Wow. Good catch. Fucking sociopath.
@Schlemazel: I actually like the challenge of figuring out how to edit, and reply properly.
I use whoops a lot now when I post.
Elephant Uber Alles
He had many admirable qualities but they are all undone by his filiety to the GOP, no matter how evil & awful their position. Made worse by the rimes he spoke against the evil and awful while doing nothing to upset it
How does one edit without an edit button?
@SiubhanDuinne: Dont forget mass-shooting victims.
@Steeplejack: very good piece. Thanks for sharing.
One doesn’t. Many have posted a second time, correcting their previous typos.
@Matt: A special election would have likely resulted in Senator Kelli Ward or Senator Joe Arpaio. Whomever is appointed to the seat is likely to be far less crazy.
I agree with most of Silverman’s analysis. However, she makes two points that I quibble with. One is criticizing McCain for not being into pork-barrel spending and earmarks. That’s one of his saving graces, IMO. The second is griping about environmental damage to the Rio Salado resulting from development. The Rio Salado is dammed up northeast of Phoenix with four large dams (has been for about a hundred years), and the river itself doesn’t flow in the city. In the last 25 years, there has been an effort to bring water back into the river, and Tempe Town Lake was created by allowing some water from upriver come into the city. And the Tres Rios project (where Rio Salado converges with two other rivers west of PHX) has been a model of sustainable water treatment and is a wonderful community asset. The Rio Salado ecosystem was fucked a century ago.
@Schlemazel: You like to your own comment and say whoops. It also helps us reach a TBogg unit faster.
@JPL: whoops link not like
AH, one was afraid one had missed something.
I tried to add the the correction & screwed that up. I was not going to try for 3
Also, while I’m not a fan of Intercept, they do get this one right. You know, like anybody in their right mind gets it right.
I’ve made the same criticism and, IMO, it highlights the deepest flaw of McCain and indeed of the whole Republican party: it’s about them not us. McCain didn’t resign in time to give his constituents a chance to vote on his replacement this year because his service was about him proving what a patriot and all-around great guy he was, not about doing what’s right by the people who elected him. This tends to be a flaw among all politicians, but the Republicans carry it to the Nth degree.
@Roger Moore: Your point is a good one. But you are far likelier to have a crazy right-wing nutjob in the Senate due to everything shaking out this way.
I guess I can respond to that two ways:
1) I see this as a matter of principle. It’s not right for the people of Arizona to be deprived of representation in the Senate while McCain was too ill to serve and denied a right to choose their representative for a couple of years until the next election.
2) As a matter of tactics. Replacing McCain or the governor’s choice with a complete wingnut will make very little difference in the grand scheme of things. As far as the Senate goes, one Republican is pretty close to interchangeable with the next. But replacing McCain with a Democrat would make a huge difference; it would make the Democrats’ map for 2018 much more plausible. I’d be willing to take the risk of getting a wingnut to get the possibility of electing somebody who would help to make Schumer majority leader instead of McConnell.
Did John McCain shoot your dog or something?
To the individuals, including front pagers, who’ve been tripping over themselves paying tribute to John McCain all day on this website, this is the same guy who openly joked about bombing Iran, “remember that old Beach Boys songs Bomb Iran, bomb bomb bomb Iran”
I get it, John McCain was a thorn in Trump’s side so naturally everyone here at BJ wants to sing his praises, but the fact that he openly joked about dropping bombs on Iran was deeply disgusting and he never apologized for these remarks.
@eemom: give it a break. I read last night’s thread this AM. Nasty shit. Don’t need or want your acknowledgement.
The decision by BJ commenters to ignore MCain’s jocular reference to bombing Iran and his decision to select the dumbest fucking running mate for a major party presidential ticket marks all-time low for Balloon Juice. You people who are airbrushing McCain’s record are pathetic and should be ashamed of yourselves.
Guess this deserves to be thrown into the mix.
How disappointing. I thought you were above all that.
Consider my endorsement of your endorsement withdrawn then, asshole.
Most of us are trying to follow the example of Obama’s grace.
The killing of innocent Iranians by dropping bombs on their country isn’t a goddamn fucking joke. What part of that don’t you understand?
@Roger Moore: I agree with you in principle on the first point. On the second, however…..there is exactly one plausible Democrat for Senate this cycle (Kyrsten Sinema). She is terrible. Whomever wins a special election for McCain’s seat will likely keep it for a while. I think Dems have a better chance next cycle. Maybe Gallego will give it a go. Or Stanton, or O’Halleran. Having a generic caretaker will be better for us, I think. The best-case scenario would be Cindy McCain.
@eemom: You don’t know after all these years that you’re not going to sandbag me with your shit?
uh, I was agreeing with you.
Not trying to sandbag you and don’t give a shit about your dick-swinging bravado after all these years. I think I made a reasonable point.
@Suzanne: Except a special election this year would be the most likely special election to elect a democrat from Arizona. Either Kelli Ward or Arpaio could easily lose it. Instead there is a guaranteed GOP senator and a likely second one from AZ after Nov 4
@Roger Moore: well, there is something of a precedent here and most likely a reason for his actions…
1) by being unavailable (just like Flake travelling abroad) they keep a quorum from being established in the Senate and thus keeping someone like McConnell from cramming even more odious personages into our judiciary… hence if he resigns, Ducey has the opportunity to appoint whomever he wishes into the position in plenty of time to prep a replacement… in a small way, it throws a spanner into the GOP machinery and makes it more likely that his wife is appointed to replace him, but it’s Ducey, the guy is a snake, so I wouldn’t bet on what his decision will end up being…
2) As for the length of time away, the Dems waited as long as they could for Giffords recovery before she resigned and her seat came up for a special election, but I guess therein lies the difference, Ron Barber was selected to replace her in the interim before they could offer up the special election all the while the state GOP was clamoring for them to replace her with an R because they felt it was their right because they were the GOP (more or less with a small bit of exaggeration). That seat eventually ended up in the hands of Martha McSally who in her own way, is just as bad as any other GOP wingnut because she’ll say anything and do anything to keep her position because they only qualification she ever had to run for office was being the first female fighter pilot (thanks to the Dems offering those positions up to all genders) and she very much follows up on the Military crutch for just about any and everything but based on what I’ve seen and read, couldn’t legislate her way out of an open phone booth, but boy is she a great prop to trot out all the same. The race between her (if she wins the primary) and Sinema will be UGLY as McSally is already running ads as to just how un-serious Sinema is as a candidate.
As an Arizona resident and voter, I have to say, John McCain was nothing but an opportunist and a fraud – right to the very end when he denied the people of Arizona any kind of say in who will serve out the end of his term. He refused to resign before the end of May of this year, thereby removing the possibility of a special election, leaving the choice of who will serve the remainder of his term to him and Republican governor Doug Ducey. I spit in the general direction of McCain’s corpse. His only desire was to die as a United States Senator and to have his corpse lay in state in DC. John McCain and his family and apologists can all go f*ck themselves, because he has ensured that his vote to confirm the orange shitgibbon’s SC nominee will not be lost to the uncertain decision-making of Arizona voters.
@catclub: There is one plausible Democrat to be a senator from Arizona this year, and she’s already running for Flake’s seat. We would never pick up both in the same cycle.
f you need a win, you need to show up first. All this AZ will vote for only rethugs meme is quite meaningless.
@Platonailedit: I am a PC in my local LD (part of Phoenix and south Tempe). I think that we will be lucky to get a Dem in one of the Senate seats, and two is a pipe dream. That isn’t what I want, but that is my honest assessment of the situation. There are more high-profile R candidates in this state than there are Dems, and the Dem contingent is pretty young and untested at the state level. If both Senate seats were up this election, I think we would risk losing both. I think the Democratic Party is better served by all of us holding our noses and voting for Sinema to get Flake’s seat, riding out the caretaker in McCain’s seat, and then hopefully one of our other Dems will be ready to make the leap when McCain’s seat is up for the full term. If both seats were up this year, I think McSally would win one (probably Flake’s), and possibly Ward the other.
Having volunteered for every election in this state since 2006, I can tell you that Dems struggle mightily in statewide races. We do pretty well in some districts, but statewide is a heavy lift.
@Platonailedit: well if you’ve been following us Grand Canyon staters in the comments, there are boots on the ground and they have been working to get people registered. We will get out to vote in the primary on the 28th, but Suzanne is right, there aren’t many state wide Dems with good name recognition in this cycle who were poised to try and ride this wave and there have been indications that a wave is coming, that special election for AZ 5 was a LOT closer than anyone had anticipated and we may very well pick that off in November, I’m guessing that McSally’s seat in AZ 2 is going to flip (which is why she’s running for Senate) as well and I really do feel that the tide is starting to turn here in the state, with the teachers having to march to get paid and the wall and ICE there’s lots of local items that are drawing attention and we’re already seeing the GOP ramp up the fear and Pelosi machines here in the ads with all of the dark money buys… AZ is tottering, perhaps we’re a bit behind Nevada and Virginia, but its happening.
Agree it’s a very tough and long lift in AZ. But Obama happened because the dems turned out and the trumpturd happened because they didn’t. Given the current looting regime’s actions that affect all, including the wingnutz, this is the moment to elect dems (any dem, any office, any state). No worthless media defined ‘deep red states’ any more.
Also. Too. Thanks for your efforts.
@Platonailedit: Should be noted that Obama didn’t win in AZ either in 2008 or 2012. I am all for organizing and for having candidates fight for every race. We have a growing bench. Sinema is not going for the CD-9 seat, and Greg Stanton (just resigned as Mayor of Phoenix) is going for that seat. I think he has a great future. Ruben Gallego is young and awesome, but he reps one of the minority-majority districts here and I think he might struggle in the rest of the state. Last cycle, we FINALLY got a Dem state senator (Sean Bowie), and I think he may have a bright political future if he wants it. But Ann Kirkpatrick is going nowhere. Raul Grijalva will stay in the House. We’re going to struggle with the governorship, Secretary of State, AG…..ugh. I am crossing every phalange for David Schapira to unseat the odious Diane Douglas for Superintendent.
It kills me that my best hope is fucken Kyrsten Sinema.
But I don’t think a lot of people understood that. Or have that level of grace and humanity.
@eemom: Ok smartass fucking lawyer, tell me exactly where I said anything near this?
“You honor John McCain because he served in the Vietnam war notwithstanding that he spent the rest of his life supporting policies that trampled on old people, poor people, and people of color.” I didn’t say a fucking word that “honored” him. You keep letting your mouth over run your ass on blogs. I bet someone would kick your smart fucking ass for you if you ever did it in person. Like my dick now?
@eemom: I’m very honored. Thank you, you nasty piece of work.
The Moar You Know
No computing on weekends, but I’ll say my piece here on this dead thread:
The guy was a duplicitous sack of crap who talked moderate and voted 100% Nazi. I mean, I get it, if I’d been through what he had I’m sure I would have ended up a nutcase who gave a shit about nobody but myself too. But damn if I will sit here and give him props for being some kind of high-minded party-transcending saint when he was just another card-carrying member of the American Fascist Party.
That goes for his rotten wife and attention whore of a kid too.