Senator John McCain (R-AZ) hasn’t said much since his infamous NO vote on the so-called “skinny repeal” on Obamacare, but he is expected to return with the rest of Congress on Tuesday. Last week, Seanator McCain wrote an op-ed for Washington Post in which he did not take a “both sides” position on Charlottesville, chided congress for its stasis, and had very little praise for our president.
“Congress will return from recess next week facing continued gridlock as we lurch from one self-created crisis to another. We are proving inadequate not only to our most difficult problems but also to routine duties. Our national political campaigns never stop. We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and that minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important.
That’s not how we were meant to govern. Our entire system of government – with its checks and balances, its bicameral Congress, its protections of the rights of the minority – was designed for compromise. It seldom works smoothly or speedily. It was never expected to.”
“Our national political campaigns never stop” is a proverbial shot fired. President Trump has been criticized for continuing to hold campaign rallies as though he’s still running for the presidency he already won, rather than getting on with being a president. It’s quite bizarre for an American president to do that. But McCain also offered more direct criticism of President Trump and reminded his colleagues that Trump isn’t their boss.
“It requires pragmatic problem-solving from even the most passionate partisans. It relies on compromise between opposing sides to protect the interests we share. We can fight like hell for our ideas to prevail. But we have to respect each other or at least respect the fact that we need each other.
That has never been truer than today, when Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct.
We must respect his authority and constitutional responsibilities. We must, where we can, cooperate with him. But we are not his subordinates. We don’t answer to him. We answer to the American people. We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation.”
One wonders whether “can be impulsive in his speech and conduct” is meant to soften the blows of “no experience” and “often poorly informed.” Some will be cynical of McCain because he has so often bucked his party only to later cave, and also because his having chosen Sarah Palin as running-mate still reads as one of the most cynical moves in recent presidential election shenanigans. But with Senator McCain’s age, his current health battle, and his 30 year tenure — could it be that legacy is coming into play… and we might just get the “Maverick” we were always promised?