August 27, 2018

Senator McCain’s Legacy

. He was 81.” (AP News)

Both the left and the right mourned McCain’s death and celebrated his long, illustrious career as a public servant.

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The left focused on McCain’s principled approach to politics, and willingness to break with party lines when needed.

“John McCain was no moderate... [he] supported a smaller federal government, a hawkish foreign policy and the typical Republican positions on abortion, guns and other issues. But McCain pursued his conservative ends through means that are depressingly rare in today’s Republican Party. McCain believed in the American ideals of pluralistic democracy.”

New York Times

“During McCain’s early Senate career, he was a relatively between-the-lines Republican in his voting record. But starting around his first run for president in 2000, McCain’s independent streak began to show just as party-line voting became more and more the default. He voted against the Bush tax cuts and for reducing greenhouse emissions, and he spoke out against the use of torture by the U.S. post-9/11... throughout McCain’s Senate career, he pursued various compromise deals on [immigration].”


“That maverick streak earned him the enmity of many national Republicans... [But] McCain secured six terms in the Senate and always won reelection easily — a sign that his clashes with GOP leaders in Washington and even some in Arizona didn’t cripple him at the polls. Indeed, the political independence that McCain made his own... remains a source of immense pride.”


Many note that “Sen. John McCain’s death heralds a sea change for congressional challenges to the Trump administration on national security, as the president’s two most vocal Republican critics pass their powerful committee gavels to two of President Trump’s biggest supporters.”

Washington Post

“His death is a reminder not only of the loss of a giant in American politics, but of a new time, with new challenges for the generation that now must follow in his footsteps. Will anyone pick up the legacy he leaves behind?

Chicago Tribune

While the right disagreed with some of McCain’s policy choices, they lauded his military service and steadfast dedication to the country.

While the right disagreed with some of McCain’s policy choices, they lauded his military service and steadfast dedication to the country.

“Any time McCain deviated from party orthodoxy, it was to align with fashionable liberal opinion—from campaign-finance reform to immigration to his occasional outbursts against Christian conservatives... his maverick instincts reliably put him on the side of establishment politics.”

The Spectator

But “even those who disagreed with his policies or resisted his political choices... must agree that his sacrifice as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam was extraordinary, refusing the release he was offered for propaganda purposes, as the son of one of the Navy’s top admirals. Who among us can point to anything remotely comparable to this decision?”

American Thinker

“It is to the Hanoi Hilton, and Vietnam, and the solitary cell, and the beatings and torture and heroism, to which one must return, and conclude, in assessing McCain, because all the politics, with the compromises and failings and missteps, cannot supersede his devotion to a warrior’s ideal that, with just slight contemporary American touches, is barely distinguishable from those of antiquity. In Vietnam, the McCain ambiguities disappear. Here McCain endured things and saw others that would destroy most human beings.”

City Journal

“Rambo and Magnum PI were archetypes of the Vietnam vet who came back better, stronger, though wounded men, and became heroes. But those were just stories. In real life, we had John McCain... Now and then there is a man against whom we can measure ourselves. John McCain represents a high standard, a standard that should be our goal, and we should thank him for setting it. Rest in peace.”

The Federalist

On the bright side...

New research suggests evolution might favor 'survival of the laziest'

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