• 52°

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

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office will hold fundraisers, grow beards to help Marsh family

Crime

Blotter: Four charged with contributing to neglect of minor

Business

Umami Downtown aims to bring bold flavors to Main Street

Education

RSS Board of Education discusses latest draft of school justice partnership

China Grove

Touting experience, Don Bringle looks to retain seat on China Grove Town Council

Crime

Jury selection begins in trial of man charged with killing father

High School

High school football: Freeman a surprise weapon for Hornets

News

North Carolina’s $25 reward helped boost COVID vaccinations

Education

RSS makes masks optional, plans to revisit decision in November

Elections

Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly GOP host U.S. Senate forum in Gold Hill for registered Republicans only

Crime

Juvenile shot Saturday expected to make full recovery

Crime

Blotter: Homeless man jailed after throwing rocks through woman’s front door

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan County elections supervisor speaks out after debate to replace him

Crime

Blotter: Kannapolis man charged with involuntary manslaughter

Ask Us

Ask Us: What are current enrollment numbers for Rowan-Salisbury Schools?

News

Airplane makes emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham Airport

News

Race-blind redistricting? Democrats incredulous at GOP maps

Local

‘Stories behind these squares’: Town of Cleveland unveils country’s barn quilt mural, trail

Local

Mayoral candidates Alexander, Heggins discuss ‘Fame,’ protesting, pandemic

Education

Supporters of former Knox assistant principal speak up after resignation

Local

Volunteers focus on South Ellis Street for 11th annual BlockWork program

Education

Accounting firm to present annual school district audit report Monday

Lifestyle

Rowan Rockhounds Composite Youth Mountain Bike Team meetings set

Faith

Faith briefs: Barbecue fundraiser, harvest festival set for Nov. 6