John McCain: The Legacy Of A Maverick
The late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) meant something different to many people. Colleagues viewed him as a defender of liberty and democracy. To his wife and kids, he was their beloved husband and father. Over the past few days, people from across the political spectrum have set aside their differences, albeit temporarily, to honor a man they agreed was a hero.
Few Senators in recent memory have been given such bipartisan prayers and praise, as John McCain has following his death. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were asked to speak at McCain’s funeral. One must not forget that McCain was defeated by both of them (in the 2000 GOP primaries, and the 2008 Election, respectively). This is a testament to McCain’s character and values.
In addition, Former Vice President Joe Biden delivered a tear-filled eulogy in which he proclaimed that he and McCain shared a brotherly relationship, filled with all the love and fighting that real brothers experience. It is also important to note that Biden’s son Beau died of the same type of brain cancer in 2015.
Although McCain was able to form friendships and working relationships with members of the opposite party, this was not the main reason for his “maverick” moniker. The nickname referred to his tendency for making surprise decisions and going against what the GOP expected from him. In 2008, McCain was keen on picking Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), his friend, to be his running mate.
Having been convinced by his staff that picking a former Democrat (who happened to be pro-choice) for VP would be political suicide, he instead picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. In his final book, The Restless Wave, McCain states how he regretted not choosing Lieberman:
“They were giving me their best council. It was sound advice that I could reason for myself. But my gut told me to ignore it, and I wished I had.”
The hypothetical 2008 McCain-Lieberman ticket was not meant to be. But it did show McCain’s affinity for bipartisan problem solving as opposed to ideological purity. Perhaps the greatest indicator of McCain’s philosophy towards politics was his decision to vote no against a replacement of Obamacare – thus saving the signature legislative achievement of the man who defeated him for President in 2008.
At McCain’s funeral, Senator Lieberman commented that McCain’s vote against the Obamacare repeal was “not really against that bill, but against the mindless partisanship that has taken control of both of our political parties.”
McCain was a strong believer in our governmental institutions, maintaining hope that we could restore regular order to our politics. As McCain wrote in his farewell letter to America, “…we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement.”
Many people have faith in America and its people, but John McCain actually lived his life and succumbed to death in accordance with this fundamental belief. Now that the “maverick of the Senate” has fallen, only time will tell whether or not McCain’s vision of America becomes a reality, or stays a hopeful dream in the minds of those who believe in this country.
Harlan Neiditz is a Lead Contributor for theDailyLead.