McCain’s funeral ‘a council of war’

Charles Pierce at Esquire: John McCain’s Funeral Was a Council of War—Just as He Meant It to Be

We let the customs, manners, norms and institutions weaken through neglect and now we are in open conflict with an elected president and, make no mistake about it, John McCain’s funeral was a council of war, and it was a council of war because that’s what John McCain meant it to be.

He deliberately made known to people that the president* was not welcome at any of the services. He deliberately chose the previous two presidents to deliver the formal eulogies. He deliberately created that scene in the Capitol rotunda at which Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Mike Pence, an unholy trio of Trumpist quislings, had to choke down their own cowardice and say how much they loved him and his irascibility. He deliberately created a mirror in which, if they still have an ounce of self-awareness, they could see the rot that has set in on their souls.

Even at the end, John McCain knew what he was doing and he was a fearsome opponent. He wanted a pageant of everything this administration* has trashed and put up for sale, and that’s what he got Saturday—a morality play shot through with Shakespearian portent and foreshadowing, a pageant of democracy’s vengeance.

Meghan McCain:

We gather to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice, those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served. He was a great fire who burned bright.

In the past few days, my family and I have heard from so many of those Americans who stood in the warmth and light of his fire and found it illuminated what’s best about them. We are grateful to them because they’re grateful to him.

A few have resented that fire for the light it cast upon them for the truth it revealed about their character, but my father never cared what they thought and even that small number still have the opportunity as long as they draw breath to live up to the example of John McCain.

The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.

George W. Bush:

Perhaps above all John detested the abuse of power, could not abide bigots and swaggering. He spoke up for the little guy, forgotten people in forgotten places. One friend from naval academy days recalls John reacted to seeing an upperclassman verbally abuse a steward. Against all tradition, he told the jerk to pick on someone his own size. It was a familiar refrain during the six decades of service.

Barack Obama:

John cared about the institutions of self-government, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, rule of law, separation of powers, even the arcane rules and procedures of the Senate. He knew that in a nation as big and boisterous and diverse as ours, those institutions, those rules, those norms are what bind us together. They give shape and order to our common life, even when we disagree. Especially when we disagree.

Donald Trump:

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40 Comments

  1. Pink David

     /  September 2, 2018

    Is that really the most quotable part of Obama’s speech? “McCain liked the rules”

    Reply
    • “So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse, can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult, in phony controversies and manufactured outrage, It’s a politics that pretends to be brave, but in fact is born of fear. John called us to be bigger than that. He called us to be better than that.”

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  September 2, 2018

        That was the same Obama who bet McCain in a Presidential election with a campaign that contained no shortage of small and mean and petty trafficking in bombast and insult?

        “John called us to be bigger than that. He called us to be better than that.””

        He lost.

        Reply
  2. David

     /  September 2, 2018

    A war hero but a petty vindictive politician long past his use by date. Campaigned on repealing and replacing the awful affordable care act and then couldnt put aside his personal animosity to the president when it counted. His not inviting Sarah Palin speaks to the measure of the man.
    The 5 day extravaganza and the bitterness will be the guys legacy unfortunately. His reputation from the left who despised him until he started hating on Trump will be a short lived enhanced one and from the right it will be a much diminished one.
    His daughter knows her paycheck will look a bit fatter and her earning potential will rise with a bit of Trump hating.

    Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 2, 2018

    An exercise in political self-justification by the deceased. Sad. You wonder what his family really thinks.

    Reply
  4. David

     /  September 2, 2018

    “John McCain is running for reelection like it’s 2010.

    The Arizona Republican has made his opposition to Obamacare — which dominated Senate races across the country six years ago — a central point of his campaign, by all accounts, the toughest reelection fight of his career.

    He’s betting that shrinking coverage options and premium increases that could go as high as 65 percent if insurers get their way will resonate with Arizona voters, even as most of his Republican colleagues running this year have moved on to other issues.”

    Happy to leave his constituents facing huge healthcare increases, happy to let down all the hard work of his colleagues in designing improvements, happy to be the politician who tells the voters one thing then does the opposite once in power and all because he was pissy at Trump.

    Reply
  5. It’s probably not a coincidence to see opinion polls swing against Trump since McCain’s death:

    RCP: -11.9
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html

    538: -14.2
    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 2, 2018

      Yes, it’s been an emotive lever for disengaged voters so perhaps surprising it hasn’t swung more.

      Reply
  6. David

     /  September 2, 2018

    “Obamacare is failing Arizonans,” the narrator says in McCain’s first TV ad, which started airing last month. “First, a massive rate hike — more than twice the national average. Then America’s largest health insurer abandoned Arizona’s failing Obamacare exchange.”

    “After sharing his views about how events were unfolding in Afghanistan, McCain told Letterman: “I think we’ll do fine. The second phase — if I could just make one, very quickly — the second phase is Iraq. There is some indication, and I don’t have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may — have come from Iraq.

    In January 2002, while touring the flight bridge of an aircraft carrier on the Arabian Sea, McCain shouted: “Next up: Baghdad!”

    “SAN FRANCISCO—AFTER several weeks of silence on the issue of same-sex marriage, Sen. John McCain has made it official. The presumptive Republican nominee for president has endorsed efforts to ban gay marriage in California.”

    “Reporting from Benghazi, Libya — Sen. John McCain, on a visit to rebel-controlled eastern Libya on Friday, urged the United States and its allies to increase airstrikes and facilitate weapons deliveries to bolster the insurgent cause, a call for stepped-up intervention that clashes with the Obama administration’s more cautious approach to the conflict.”

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 2, 2018

      As I said a few days ago, McCain was a jerk hypocritically sanctified by Trump’s enemies as a political tool.

      Reply
      • David

         /  September 2, 2018

        its a bit nauseating and hugely revisionist. If he hadnt had a crack at Trump the left would have celebrated like they did when Thatcher passed away.

        Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 2, 2018

        De mortuis nihil nisi bonum.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 2, 2018

          Since he made it political he must reap what he sowed.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  September 2, 2018

            It would be difficult for such a funeral not to be.

            He was entitled to ask that Donald Trump not turn up and turn it into a circus .

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 2, 2018

              There were plenty of other political performers there turning it into a circus not least being his daughter.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  September 2, 2018

          Nihil nisi bonum est, nihil nisi malum non est.

          I find the idea of celebrating a death repulsive. It says more about the people doing it than the person. It’s very rude to refer to Margaret Thatcher as ‘Thatcher’.

          It was sad that the dirtyminded, who seem to see any male/female contact as sexual, preferably groping, saw a clergyman putting his arm around a woman’s waist at the funeral as that. His hand wasn’t on her breast, and she would certainly have moved if it had been. I can’t believe that these people have so little to think about.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  September 2, 2018

            Why didn’t those bloody Romans just speak English like everybody else! 😡

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  September 2, 2018

              Typical bloody foreigners!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 2, 2018

              The people who made up Latin grammar had far too much time on their hands.

          • David

             /  September 2, 2018

            Mrs Thatcher if you prefer was amazing, I lived through that incredible time and for me the best politician who has ever lived. The transformation in the UK was staggering, a formidable woman.
            What that clergy guy did was terrible he literally grabbed the side of her boob he was nowhere near her waist, go and have a look at the photos. He had 4 fingers on her sideboob.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 2, 2018

              She didn’t seem to think so. I don’t believe that any man would be such a fool as to do that on purpose with the world watching, and he seemed very distressed at the idea that he was a groper,

              I was sickened at the rejoicing when Margaret Thatcher died.
              The ghoulish glee was an ugly sight, and very bad kharma. I can’t think of any politician whose death I would greet with delight. As I said, very bad kharma.

            • Gezza

               /  September 2, 2018

              @Kitty – they showed him apologising for it on 1ewes. It was a weird apology – on video, saying: “It’s the best thing to do”

  7. Zedd

     /  September 2, 2018

    Rest in Peace John McCain.. your work is done !

    Reply
  8. Gerrit

     /  September 2, 2018

    A side note from history. McCain very nearly lost his life on the Forrestal Aircraft Carrier fire.

    The errant missile went through his plane without exploding but fuel from the ruptured fuel tanks on his plane, caused the start of the inferno.

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  September 2, 2018

      McCain’s detractors have tried for years to blame him for the launch of the missile but that was false. The missile came from a Phantom, not the Skyhawk that McCain was piloting.

      Reply
  9. Gezza

     /  September 2, 2018

    Aljaz tv showed a couple of seconds of George Bush’s eulogy, but they then showed all of it. Apart from one joke about McCain finally succeeding in guilting them into saying nice things about him, it was such a classic Obama rhetoric speech, droning on with platitudes about his commitment to human rights and patriotism (he was a typical jingoinstic Yanqui war-monger) that didn’t match reality I switched off the telly. It just sounded so false.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  September 2, 2018

      whoops
      *but they then showed all of Obama’s.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  September 2, 2018

        A pity Obama didn’t confine himself to tweets?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  September 2, 2018

          Keep it real. It was a hard ask I imagine. Obama wouldn’t want to turn down the request, McCain made it personally when he knew he was on the way out. But one can hardly get up in a nationally televised funeral and say bad things about the deceased. It’s just he really over-egged it.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  September 2, 2018

            Obama didn’t figure he was being played?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  September 2, 2018

              Of course he did. It was too good an opportunity to miss. Sly digs in there at Trump without actually mentioning his name. You had to watch it to really see it. Reading it wouldn’t have the same impact as the body language and general style of delivery.

              What I saw could have been summarised as:

              “We hated each other. He disagreed with every policy I ever had. Often nastily. But hey, nobody cared more about human rights (unsaid: Trump doesn’t give a shit) & he wasn’t a racist (unsaid: Trump IS), and nobody did more for our wonderful and deserving military (unsaid: Trump does sod-all) and he was a REAL patriot (unsaid: Trump isn’t, he just pretends) and HE was a STATESMAN (unsaid: Trump’s a diplomatic wrecking ball).

              I’d never consider McCain to be a statesman. He was just a long-serving yank politician to me.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 2, 2018

              Actually Trump has upped the military budgets, devolved decisions to field generals and sorted some of Obama’s quagmires. He has the military vote in his pocket.

            • Gezza

               /  September 2, 2018

              I know.

  10. chrism56

     /  September 2, 2018

    Trump being a draft dodger was in no position to attack him, but much of McCain’s past was manufactured. He wasn’t a war hero. He was a ground attack pilot (and not a very good one at that) who got shot down, then tortured as a PoW.
    https://fabiusmaximus.com/2018/09/02/see-thru-the-propaganda-see-the-manufactured-mccain/

    Reply
  11. Reply

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