By D. Allan Kerr
We’ve seen lots of genuine insanity in Washington D.C. this year. A lot of deception, a lot of antipathy and a whole lot of lies. What we haven’t seen is a lot of courage.
But just as I was about to give up on the institutions so brilliantly crafted by our Founding Fathers, two of my political heroes showed what statesmanship is all about.
John McCain returning this week from his very recent diagnosis of brain cancer to knock some sense into his Senate colleagues was one of the most inspiring scenes I can recall. It was the kind of shining moment historians will recall for years to come.
There stood McCain, the grizzled old warrior, still bearing the scars and bruises of his own health care crisis, blasting the circus Washington has become. It was vintage maverick from a guy famous for calling out his own party when necessary.
He railed against Republican leaders for their cloak-and-dagger approach to replacing Obamacare:
“We’ve tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them it’s better than nothing, asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition.”
But he also reminded opposing party members they had pulled similar shenanigans in the past:
“The Obama administration and congressional Democrats shouldn’t have forced through Congress without any opposition support a social and economic change as massive as Obamacare.”
He lambasted the “bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet,” saying, “To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.”
He issued a stern civic lesson to the Failing President of the United States, and those willingly subjugating themselves to his buffoonery:
“Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the president’s subordinates. We are his equal!”
And he even shed blame on himself:
“Sometimes, I made it harder to find common ground because of something harsh I said to a colleague. Sometimes, I wanted to win more for the sake of winning than to achieve a contested policy.”
Essentially, he called on members of both parties to stop grandstanding and get stuff done. He showed America what real leadership looks like.
“What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions? We’re not getting much done apart,” McCain said. “This country – this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, restless, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, good and magnificent country – needs us to help it thrive.”
Then on Friday he cast the deciding vote to kill the so-called “skinny repeal” joke of a bill, striding onto the Senate floor to deliver a decisive “No.”
Maine’s own Sen. Susan Collins hasn’t had the platform for such drama but she’s been steadfast in maintaining her independence from today’s disturbing status quo.
The Failing President of the United States has shown time and again his primary motive for replacing Obamacare is a desperately needed win – without a care or a clue of what’s in the new plan. He demonstrated this during the infamous Rose Garden gathering to celebrate passage of the “great plan” passed in the House of Representatives – a plan he later described as “mean.”
He proved it again when he urged Congress to just let Obamacare die – with no concern for those who might suffer under this scenario. And he really exposed himself when he called for a straight repeal of Obamacare without any immediate replacement at all, leaving tens of millions of Americans without health care.
Collins was one of only two Republican senators (the other: Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski) to vote against moving the GOP proposal forward last Tuesday, part of her refusal to sacrifice the wellbeing of Americans for the sake of political posturing. And of course she was one of the three who rejected the skinny appeal effort, which even supporters admitted should not be made into law.
See, she understands that laws aren’t just something you brag about – they lead to serious consequences for people.
Collins is one of those brave few who haven’t been shy about calling out Chicken Liar all along. She announced back in August of last year, even before the infamous Access Hollywood tape, that she could not vote for the GOP nominee.
She cited his mocking of a reporter with disabilities, and his racist attacks of federal judge Gonzalo Curiel and the Gold Star family of Capt. Humayun Khan.
“The unpleasant reality that I have had to accept is that there will be no ‘new’ Donald Trump, just the same candidate who will slash and burn and trample anything and anyone he perceives as being in his way or an easy scapegoat,” she wrote in the Washington Post. “Regrettably, his essential character appears to be fixed, and he seems incapable of change or growth.”
Nearly a year later she continues to speak out. Just last week she advised him, in her typical ladylike way, to keep his mouth shut about the ongoing Russia investigation.
“I know it’s hard, but he needs to step back and not comment, and let Bob Mueller, who is an individual with the utmost integrity, carry out the investigation and make his determination,” Collins told Face the Nation.
The shameless sycophancy on display in the capital these days has been disturbing, to say the least. It’s encouraging to see some exhibitions of true rugged American independence – especially from a Mainer.
D. Allan Kerr knows a lotta people who think he’s the most brilliant writer and blue-collar philosopher in the history of civilization.
(July 30, 2017)