The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Maverick

John McCain died yesterday. He was a rare breed – a GOP politician who was a true centrist. He tried very hard to find accommodation between Democrats and Republicans and often represented the best in politics. He earned the nickname "Maverick" because he was not averse to finding compromise. Like all politicians, McCain was not without his faults, but I do think he was a good man, a true patriot, and a politician who should have been a role model for every member of the House and the Senate on both sides of the aisle.



Many media sources are lionizing McCain after his death. That’s a nice thing. McCain deserves that, but in a way it’s kind of ironic.

In the past few decades, the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media have tried to vilify any opponent whose ideas threaten their narrative. With increasing frequency, the Left uses ad hominem attacks when it feels uncomfortable in debating the issues. After all, calling someone a “racist” tends to limit the possibility for debate, don’t you think?

Although the trained hamsters in the media have praised McCain after his death, the same was absolutely not true in 2008 and 2012 when he represented an electoral threat to Barack Obama. Consider these three headlines from the left-leaning Huffington Post:

2008: "Is John McCain mentally fit to be president?"

2012: "The unhinging of John McCain."

2018: "Politicians grieve for John McCain in a touching tribute."

The HuffPo was kind in 2018, but typical of most left-leaning publications in 2008 and 2012, they questioned McCain's mental stability in ad hominem attacks that were vicious and flat out wrong, given that he was a man who tried very, very hard to be bipartisan.

Sadly, I suspect that McCain‘s legacy of bipartisan effort is now lost. On the Left, there appears to be no room for compromise whatsoever. On the right, we are now experiencing an equivalent viciousness. Name-calling, personal attacks, and gross exaggeration of positions has become commonplace.

For their part, the Left’s trained hamsters in the mainstream media lament a "lack of civility," but in reality, what they really don’t like is their their own rules of engagement are being used by the other side. What goes around, comes around, and I think above all, that likely saddened John McCain in his final years.

UPDATE (8-28-2018):

My goodness. You'd think that John McCain was a Democrat. The left-leaning media (meaning most of the media) is giving McCain a "Lion of the Senate" sendoff, with hours of positive coverage. To be clear, McCain was a consequential politician, a true patriot, a war hero, and a centrist who did try to bring the parties together. That does deserve praise.

But there's something hypocritical about all of this. Now that McCain has passed, it seems that the trained hamsters are bending over backward to demonstrate how ecumenical they are. The problem is that their past actions belie their current unrestricted praise. Roger Kimball describes coverage of McCain's death by The New York Times and then writes:
What interests me now, however, are the hallelujahs of praise and commendation that surrounded his passing. He has always been a hero to the neo-conservative faithful. But here we have The New York Times running a fawning obituary with the title ‘War Hero, Senator, Presidential Contender.’ It was the full lion-of-the-Senate treatment: ‘proud naval aviator . . . climbed from depths of despair as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to pinnacles of power . . . two-time contender for the presidency,’ yada, believe me, yada.

Just how great was John McCain, according to the Times? This great: Despite his grave condition, he soon made a dramatic appearance in the Senate to cast a thumbs-down vote against his party’s drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
But it's also worth looking at the NYT's treatment of McCain in 2008, when he represented a threat to their chosen candidate. Again from Kimball:
It is instructive, then, to compare The New York Times’s coverage of McCain circa 2018 with what it had to say in 2008, when it actually mattered in more than a rhetorical sense. The Times was happy to support McCain during the primary season, doubtless understanding that he was the weaker candidate. But when it came down to it, the Times wrote that McCain was ‘aggressive,’ ‘erratic,’ possibly a bit touched in the head, to mention, old, old. In a piece titled ‘The Real John McCain,’ published in September 2008, as the campaign was approaching its white-hot finale, the Times wondered whether, as McCain took the stage, ‘there would be any sign of the senator we long respected.’
Gosh, McCain must have changed a lot in 10 years, or maybe he's praiseworthy not so much because of what he did over his 40 year political career but because of his recent vocal opposition to Donald Trump. Nah, that would be way to cynical on the part of the media ... wouldn't it?