Famously nicknamed “McNasty" for his volatile temper, a 2008 Guardian article "The Real McCain" stated that McCain was "a man with a ferocious, unpredictable temper. He is a man who has a knack for pursuing vendettas against those he thinks have slighted him, even if they are lowly aides". Or even against the President of the United States.
It's really a sad ending to an amazing career. I'm far from being "anti-McCain" myself, I supported the candidate in his 2008 in the primary and worked on his Presidential campaign. I admired his service and sacrifice to this Country both in the military and as a public servant.
With that though, I was aware of the issues that followed McCain, from his personality flaws, his reputation for being too hawkish, to being one of the "Keating Five". During the 2008 election, I found myself disappointed in McCain's efforts to win the White House. I felt we saw less of the "maverick" and more of this "nice guy" that wasn't winning him any votes.
I find it quite interesting watching the news coverage of his death, the one clip used most often comes from one of his rallies where a woman starts to ask a question regarding President Obama being an Arab, and McCain cuts her off, complimenting Obama as being a family man and a good American. While a nice sentiment, it didn’t win him votes, and probably hurt him with his base.
I'm not saying he should have agreed with this woman, but he seemed to lack the ability to maneuver a route that allowed him to go on the attack and be tough, without looking like a white guy attacking Obama. He took a weaker route, that now may earn him nice commentary and clips in the news upon his death, but it lost him the White House. A loss that seemed to haunt the rest of his career.
Even so, it wasn't until recent years that I found myself in opposition to John McCain. The once "maverick" and "hawk" was anything but. He became a bought and paid for politician that had many in his own Party, turning on him. If it wasn't enough to learn about the numerous donations from George Soros linked businesses to his campaigns, with the rise of Donald Trump, we saw a very bitter and embattled man, who lashed out in policy decisions from what appeared to be his own personal issues.
Trump did what McCain could not. Trump went on the attack - even brutally at times - and got away with it. Trump transformed the Republican Party during his run for the White House and worst of all for McCain, Trump now occupies the White House, which McCain never achieved.
It is the latter which seemed to drive his opposition and hatred the most. He never could seem to understand what the people wanted when he ran for President and because of that, he never could understand Trump's appeal and how Trump won. McCain never could make peace with the fact that Trump could do things he couldn't. McCain may have made a career out of being a "maverick" but he was still a career politician, dependent on wealthy donors, and with being a Senator, couldn't go on the attack like businessman Trump could.
McCain and Trump actually had a lot in common in their goals especially when it came to the military, but McCain's temperament and vindictive personality wouldn't let him find consensus. Instead his new reputation was for being the "anti-Trump" which lost him lot of support in his own Party and almost resulted in him losing his Senate seat. McCain seemed to oppose for the sake of opposition. He would go against things he once stood for if it meant he could oppose Trump.
With the news of his illness, it was obvious that McCain felt he didn't have to try to get along for the sake of his career. His longtime friend, colleague, and fellow hawk Lindsey Graham went from being anti-Trump, to one of Trump’s biggest supporters. Graham also has a career still in front of him to think of, representing a State that Trump won handily in 2016.
McCain's final months seemed to focus on opposing Trump at all cost. This opposition wasn’t for the sake of the Country as he tried to paint it, but for his own ego and selfish purposes. It was sad to see. I had hoped that once McCain left Capitol Hill for treatment, he would make peace and step back from the road he was on. That didn't happen.
Even from his death bed, he had staffers making statements and tweets, always opposing and undermining President Trump. He didn't sound like the "maverick" he once was, he didn't sound like a Republican, he sounded like the anti-Trump Democratic Party, the same Party that demonized and attacked him just a decade ago when he ran for President.
Even with death McCain couldn't let the bitterness and vindictiveness go. He issued an edict that President Trump was not allowed to attend his funeral. It’s a divisive action for this country, and a selfish one. Instead of people remembering this great man for his service and sacrifice to this country, upon his death we are focused more on his vendetta against Trump, which is being used as fodder by those he considered political enemies during his career.
Even McCain's final statement was focused on taking a swipe at Trump, as if his decisions on his funeral and his words were his way to get a last word in at Trump. The only last word he got was to soil his reputation and how he will be remembered. President Trump, by contrast, issued a thoughtful statement on McCain's passing even in the face of withering criticism from the mainstream media, piling on McCain's classless exit snub.
When it gets down to it, the last word really comes from the title that Donald Trump has -- President. No matter how much McCain hated Trump, Trump was still in the Oval Office, he won a Presidential election, and long after McCain is gone, will be making and influencing American policy for years to come.
What really was it worth to have this desperate attempt at a final insult? I had hoped for a different more peaceful ending for McCain. Yes, he had reasons to not like Trump, and yes Trump insulted him on a number of occasions. But Trump insulted many during the campaign, many of which who are working with him right now for the betterment of this Country. That's politics and I expected thicker skin of McCain, and a higher calling of duty that he would embrace.
I was hoping my recent disappointment would end on a happier note. The same ones who tore McCain down, who helped to fizzle any chance of the White House for him, are the ones praising him now, using his actions for their liberal agenda. I don't know what the greater goal was for McCain in this, or did his temperament and vindictiveness that haunted him during his career prevent him from seeing down the road.
I myself will try to focus on the McCain that I supported years ago, the man who served his Country, and sacrificed so much, who suffered and survived unspeakable horrors, who was a Conservative and a Patriot. With that, I wish him peace, and peace for his family during this time of great loss.
Felicia Tweedy is a political activist who has worked on both sides of the aisle, and an entertainment industry professional.
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