• 55°

On the McCain controversy

From a column by Byron York of the Washington Examiner:

John McCain’s years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam will always define his biography. He showed courage and endurance under conditions most Americans cannot imagine. He is rightly celebrated for that. …

In politics, McCain’s political career has been marked by a sometimes-testy relationship with Republican Party doctrine and voters. In the 2000 GOP presidential primaries, his defeat of then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the New Hampshire primary led to a nasty showdown in South Carolina. Bush won, McCain lost, and some in the press came away with the impression that Bush had smeared McCain. Some Republicans came away with the impression that McCain, who styled himself a “maverick,” would go out of his way to irritate his party.

Meanwhile, McCain cultivated a relationship with the media that was so close he sometimes referred to them as “my base.” Many press types admired him because of his fondness for sticking it to the GOP.

McCain would run a more conventional campaign in 2008, showing extraordinary drive and resilience. When his primary campaign went broke and nearly collapsed, McCain — 71 years old, wealthy and with a safe seat in the Senate — still trudged through the early voting states, addressing small crowds, struggling to stay in the game. He looked like a goner more than once in the GOP primaries, yet still ended up winning the nomination.

But after the dismal failures of two Bush terms — a major war started by mistake and an economic meltdown at the end — in the general election, McCain found himself running in the face of perhaps the strongest political headwinds ever. Toss in a charismatic and history-making Democratic opponent, and there was no way McCain could win.

Still, McCain remained a factor in presidential politics. In 2015, when Donald Trump attacked McCain — “I like people who weren’t captured” — it set off a firestorm. Trump, who avoided service in Vietnam, defamed a man with a hugely distinguished record. …

McCain’s final act of angering Republicans came in July 2017, when he cast the decisive vote to kill the GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. …

So McCain has a war record of pure heroism. He has a political record of real achievement, but also perhaps more than his share of the controversy that goes with politics.

So which to emphasize in what might be McCain’s final days? Why not dwell on the good, especially since it was so good? When someone dies, it really is fitting to look at the best that person did. And John McCain lived a great, patriotic life, doing more in service to the United States than his critics, or almost anyone else. When he dies, why not remember that?

Comments

High School

Hornets pour it on in second half to claim state championship game

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’

Education

West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest

Local

YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training

Nation/World

US backs waiving intellectual property rules on vaccines

News

As demand drops, Cooper visits vaccine clinic to urge usage

News

NC lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

News

N.C. bill banning Down syndrome abortions nears floor vote

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 301st death from COVID-19

Coronavirus

N.C. lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

Local

Rowan Public Library joins initiative to help people with digital connectivity

Local

Mocksville to dissolve police department

Crime

Blotter: May 5

Local

Salisbury’s McElroy named top city, county communications professional in state