This has been quite a week in the United States as far as politics is concerned. Let’s leave aside the three-ring circus shit-show that is the Executive Branch, from its stereotypical 80’s Wall Street douchebag communications director to the systematic self-destruction of the egotistical compromised blowhard supposedly running things. I want to talk about the Legislative Branch.
There’s quite a bit to say about Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who steadfastly held their ground in the face of ham-fisted Presidential bullying. They have a long career ahead of them of standing up for the American people and leading the Senate into a future that is less obstructionist as a rule and more focused on the people they claim to represent. These paladins kept the healthcare debate going, kept the fight alive and, in no uncertain terms, saved it from destruction.
However, most of the attention has, of course, been on an old white man. John McCain, in this case.
I’ve been worried about McCain. He’s always been a maverick, but more and more often he’s made remarks or asked ambling questions that have raised my eyebrows. When his diagnosis came, I was unsurprised. He’s served this country for a very long time. He’s more than earned an honorable and peaceful retirement. I haven’t always agreed with him, but his record shows that he leans towards following his own code of honor, which I respect. There’s evidence that said code lines up with the long-term best interests of the country at least 50% of the time. Maybe more, maybe less, I haven’t run the numbers, and I’m not super-good at math.
He voted for the debate of the latest iteration of the Republican party’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Then, when the whole world was watching, he broke ranks and voted the bill down. Was he grandstanding? Or did he suddenly remember where he was and what he was doing?
Like so many of the rapidly aging senior Congresspeople around him, it’s time for him to step down. Unlike them, he’s done more good than harm in the long run, and considering this is Congress we’re talking about, that ain’t nothin’. His family should be able to spend as much time with him as possible while he deals with his cancer. While I respect his desire to power through it while continuing to serve, that’s going to end up causing more and more harm to him and his family.
I’m just not sure that this particular instance of hyper-American bootstrap-pulling is going to ultimately benefit himself, his family, and his constituents. I’m not sure if Capitol Hill, in its current state, is a hill worthy of John McCain dying on.
I believe that Collins and Murkowski will make that hill better, and move it forward, probably in spite of itself.
John McCain may want to help, but he can’t be relied upon to do so. He’s earned his rest. He should take it. For his sake, and for ours.
On Fridays I write 500 words.