Cartoon and Column: John McCain’s Thumb in the Eye
John McCain is being lauded for being as wise, brave, and having as much integrity as a woman.
In the wee hours of Friday morning, the Republican-led Senate once again attempted to repeal Obamacare. They needed 51 votes to pass their “skinny repeal.” Despite having a majority of 52 Senators, they knew they would need Vice-President Mike Pence to cast the 51st vote as Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were opposed to the legislation.
Donald Trump had failed at lobbying for the legislation, even stating that he was sitting at his desk with pen in hand. Pence had only spent a couple of hours lobbying senators on Friday evening. Trump’s effort to persuade yes votes included having his Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke threaten government programs in Alaska so Murkowski would change her vote to yes.
Republicans have been leveling charges that the Democrats are obstructionists who are out of ideas. This is the same party that spent seven years voting to repeal Obamacare and now that they control the House, Senate, and the White House, they can’t pass a workable plan or even propose one that people like. The GOP is much better at obstructing than legislating. They have no idea what they’re doing.
Senator Lindsey Graham said, “I’m not going to vote for a bill that is terrible policy and horrible politics just because we have to get something done.” He called the stripped-down bill a “disaster” and a “fraud” as a replacement for the health law. Yet, he still voted for it. Many other Republicans voted for it after being assured by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan that they wouldn’t pass the bill. Basically, they voted for a bill they didn’t like and didn’t want to ever become law. That’s not leadership or legislating. That’s partisan politics. Its dangerous politics because if the House did pass it then it could have ripped health care from 15 million Americans.
Senator John McCain was swayed by Ryan’s assurance that the House wouldn’t pass the bill. After having surgery on his eye and receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, McCain returned to the capital and voted against the bill.
While most senators shouted their “yes” or “no,” McCain silently strode up near Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and gave a thumb down. It was a thumb in McConnell’s and Donald Trump’s eyes.
During the campaign, Trump said McCain wasn’t a war hero and that he liked people who “weren’t captured,” referring to McCain’s time as a POW in Vietnam. Last week, expecting McCain to vote yes, he called the man a hero. On Friday, he was back to blaming everyone except himself.
McCain tweeted after the vote, “skinny repeal fell short because it fell short of our promise to repeal & replace Obamacare w/ meaningful reform.”
Meaningful reform is what is needed and it won’t be achieved by a strict party-line vote. There will have to be bipartisanship, which Democrats are open for.
This will be a true test for Republicans, who have shown little inclination for bipartisanship and zero ability at legislating. They can’t expect any help from the president.
Friday morning, McCain voted for the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed after his 2008 opponent Barack Obama, to remain the law of the land. Donald Trump, who now has blood in his eye after the worst week of his term so far, remains a failed president.
Clay Jones can be reached at [email protected]