If you can’t say anything good about someone, sit right here by me.
–Alice Roosevelt Longworth*
Conventional wisdom says if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Most of us don’t live by this creed, but it rears its head more strongly when that person is terminally ill or has just died.
I bring this up because Senator John McCain is battling brain cancer, and he interrupted his recovery to rush back to DC to vote on whether or not the Senate should proceed with a vote on the nonexistent Obamacare repeal and replace bill. There’s a lot of insider baseball as to why this is appalling, but suffice to say, many people were not pleased about this. Several people pointed out the irony of a man who enjoys a lifetime of luxury health insurance paid for by the taxpayers rushing off his death bed to champion the right to take away health insurance from millions of Americans, and it did not go over well in certain sectors. Namely, old school media.
Let me preface by saying I wasn’t jubilant when I found out McCain had brain cancer. It made sense because he had appeared so befuddled at an earlier confirmation session (can’t remember which one. Sorry), and I thought it might be dementia. I was sad for him and wished him well, but it didn’t change my basic feelings about him–he’s a contrarian who enjoys acting all mavericky until push comes to shove, and then he votes with his party more often than not. In addition, he’s a petty man who really couldn’t handle losing to Obama in 2008, and he never got over it. I wrote about him many years ago, and my feelings about him haven’t changed.
When he gave a speech that journalists jizzed over, but then voted for the procedure to continue, anyway, there were some people (all white dudes. Not a judgment–just an observation) who said to wait and see. They thought McCain would eventually do the right thing in the end, that he really was just voting for procedure. Later that night, he voted yes on the repeal and replace bill, which didn’t surprise me one whit.
McCain is a craven politician, and he’s not been kind to vets among other people. He gives good interview, and he’s relatable to a certain portion of the population (again, white dudes), so they give him an endless benefit of the doubt. The journalists miss swinging on the tire swing with him, which is another reason they’re so soft on him. Not to mention the brain cancer thing. There was a woman on Twitter, an editor at BuzzFeed, I think, who scolded people for saying mean things about McCain. You can probably guess the response she got to her tweet.