By Dan Calabrese
I am deeply sorry that John McCain is gravely ill. I have prayed for him. I will continue to do so.
But I have a question.
McCain has claimed throughout his political career, especially in recent years, that “country first” is his guiding principle. It was even his campaign slogan when he was the Republican nominee in 2008. At the time the emphasis in using the slogan was that he would do what was best for the country rather than what was best for this or that political party, and there is nothing wrong with that providing that what you think is best for the country really is. I’m not sure that’s always been true in the case of John McCain, but that can be a discussion for another day.
At present, because of his illness, he is generally not able to travel to Washington to participate in Senate votes. I am not his doctor and I am not in a position to tell him he has to travel if he is not well enough to do so. He decided to do so last summer for the ObamaCare vote, and once he got there he saved ObamaCare by voting thumbs-down on the so-called skinny repeal that wouldn’t really have repealed much of ObamaCare at all.
It’s easy to say that if he was well enough to do that, he should be well enough to travel to Washington for a Supreme Court confirmation vote. But it’s possible his condition has deteriorated in the course of a year and it’s no longer feasible for him to do so.
But about this country first thing: A Supreme Court confirmation vote is hugely important for the country. In the past McCain has been willing to vote to confirm conservative Justices, including Neil Gorsuch, and he has also been willing to confirm qualified nominees offered by Democratic presidents. There is nothing in his track record to suggest he should be expected to oppose any of the nominees we’re hearing are under consideration by President Trump.
Yet because the Senate has only 51 Republicans, and at least one of them may refuse to confirm anyone she thinks will not protect abortion rights, McCain’s presence or absence could mean the difference between confirming Trump’s nominee or rejecting him or her.
If McCain’s illness prevents him from voting, and he really puts country first, then why is he hanging on to his Senate seat and possibly jeopardizing the success of this nomination? There is nothing stopping him from resigning and allowing the governor of Arizona from appointing a successor who is perfectly capable of going to Washington and participating in this and other votes.
McCain is 81 years old. Imminent death is enough of a consideration for him that he’s supposedly given directives about who can and cannot attend his funeral. What is gained at this point by clinging to his Senate seat but not doing his Senate job?
Unless, of course, McCain is doing this out of spite because he detests Donald Trump.
But he puts country first, so that can’t be it.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!