Wishing “The Maverick” the best.
John McCain 80 is seriously ill with brain cancer.
Mr. McCain was a Navy pilot shot down over a North Vietnam in 1967. He was a prisoner of war for the next six years. He endured torture and refused an out-of-rotation offer for release. The consequences of his ejection from his plane, the torture and lousy medical care in Hanoi have rendered him unable to raise either arm above his shoulders.
Mr. McCain has been a US senator since 1986.
John McCain has had at times the reputation of a maverick, working with Democrats over campaign finance reform and attempts to smooth the processes of judicial confirmations.
He has attracted enemies from the right and the left.
Congressman John Lewis has compared him to George Wallace. Jimmy Carter has called him a “warmonger.” Senator Rand Paul has said he was “unhinged.” President Trump discounted Mr McCain’s hero status in 2015: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
In 2000 John McCain lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush. The low point in that campaign was in South Carolina. Some local voters unconnected with the Bush organization passed out fliers claiming that Mr. McCain had fathered a child out of wedlock with a black New York prostitute.
After Mr. Bush went to to win, Mr. McCain became a defender of his during the Democratic attacks in the Iraq war. Mr. McCain said that those attacking President Bush as a liar were liars themselves. In 2004, there was a brief flurry that Democratic nominee John Kerry also a Vietnam veteran would ask Mr. McCain to cross party lines and join his ticket as a candidate for vice president. This came to nothing.
In 2008, John McCain came from behind to win the Republican nomination, losing to Barack Obama in November.
He endured torture and refused an out-of-rotation offer for release. The consequences of his ejection from his plane, the torture and lousy medical care in Hanoi have rendered him unable to raise either arm above his shoulders.
It was in this campaign that Mr. McCain made the blunder of the year, picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. We offer no criticism of Ms. Palin and vice presidential nominees rarely if ever affect presidential elections. But 2008 was an “orphan election,” the first since 1952 with no president or vice president on the ticket. Plus, the country was ready for a change after eight years of George W. Bush. Plus, Barack Obama was an exciting candidate who had prevailed against the Clinton machine and seemed to offer racial reconciliation. Ms. Palin was a distraction and her unreadiness was glaring.
Would John McCain have won if he had selected Mitt Romney or reached across party lines to pick Joseph Lieberman? Perhaps not, but he might have had a better chance.
Mr. McCain is a fighter. There are two sides to the conflicts listed earlier except for Congressman Lewis’ scurrilities and to be fair Mr. Lewis is also an American legend – which should be the subject of a different post.
Now, John McCain is in a battle for his life. We wish him the best.