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Sen. John McCain, The Restless Wave, an angry farewell to Trump’s America

Written By | May 7, 2018

WASHINGTON: As the death watch begins for Arizona Sen. John McCain, the New York Times reports he has written a farewell tome (The Restless Wave : Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations) intended to set the record straight before his end. Reading like a “Hillary’s everyone else is wrong” tomb, McCain’s final goodbye to Trump’s America. Nevertheless, this man who distinguished himself as a national hero is melting into the nether as a snowflake.

Sen. John McCain, Trump's America, Leadership Summit

Tom Brokaw interviews Sen. John McCain. NBC News screen capture.

It’s all Sarah’s fault

One of his many mistakes, says McCain, was choosing former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his 2008 presidential running mate. His “gut” told him it should have been former Democrat now Independent, Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

Sen. John McCain, Trump's America, Leadership Summit

Sen. Joe Lieberman accepts the Democratic Party nomination for Vice President in 2000. C-SPAN screen capture.

The implication being that Palin sunk his presidential ambitions.

 McCain’s memory is clearly faulty.

As the Voice of America reported back in September of 2008,

“The McCain-Palin ticket has enjoyed a major boost in the polls, and the Palin selection seems to have sparked new enthusiasm for the Republican ticket.

Political experts say the addition of Palin to the Republican ticket has helped McCain as he competes with Obama on the issue of change.”

That enthusiasm eroded quickly once the nation remembered it was McCain heading the GOP ticket. And he was more than blunt regarding his inadequacies.

Sen. John McCain, Trump's America, Leadership Summit

Sen. John McCain picks Gov. Sarah Palin for his 2008 running mate. CNN screen capture.

“I’m going to be honest,” he told the Wall Street Journal, “I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.”

A vacation from the Great Recession

That year, as you may remember, America entered a period of economic calamity not seen since the Great Depression. And it didn’t help when McCain couldn’t even remember how many homes he owned when asked by POLITICO:

“I think – I’ll have my staff get to you, I can’t tell you about that. It’s condominiums where – I’ll have them get back to you.”

Democrats had no problem depicting McCain as a confused and out of touch Republican to the nation’s growing army of unemployed and forgotten men.

In response to the financial crisis, McCain inexplicably suspended his presidential campaign and headed back to Washington.

“We don’t need to quit the game,” Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told the press, “We need to change the game.”

“Did she [Palin] help pave the way for Trump?” asked New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, “What a cruel irony if so.”

And Palin did endorse Trump for president in 2016.

In hindsight, the GOP may have done better if Sarah Palin led the ticket in 2008.

Open borders McCain

Since his humiliating loss, McCain has dedicated himself to legitimizing the legal status of the nation’s illegal aliens. He called Trump’s populism and demands for stronger border security a “half-baked, spurious nationalism.”

As columnist Ann Coulter noted:

“John McCain, having run for president (repeatedly) & been soundly rejected by the voters (repeatedly), has submitted an immigration bill that omits the wildly popular immigration promises that got his better, Donald J. Trump, elected president on the first try.”

A nation in need of a hero
Sen. John McCain, Trump's America, Leadership Summit

Candidate Trump at the 2015 Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. C-SPAN screen capture.

You may recall that Trump refused to genuflect and lay prostrate before McCain’s vaunted military service,

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump quipped at the 2015 Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Needless to say, the statement outraged McCain’s friends on the editorial board at the New York Times and among the weak sisters of the GOP establishment. Moreover, as a final snub, Trump will not be receiving an invitation to McCain’s funeral. It’s clear there’s no love lost between the two men.

But the Republican Party’s conservative base showed its support by voting for Trump overwhelmingly in the primaries and again in the general election. The Founding Fathers gave their indirect attaboy when the Electoral College finalized Trump’s selection as the nation’s 45th president.

McCain’s true legacy
Sen. John McCain, Trump's America, Leadership Summit

Sen. John McCain and Democratic colleague, Sen. Russ Feingold, draft campaign reform legislation later declared unconstitutional. CNN screen capture.


How shall we remember Senator John McCain? Keep in mind that he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with his Democratic colleagues against First Amendment free speech.

Accordingly, in 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled the restrictions placed upon spending for political outreach from corporations and unions by the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law unconstitutional.


As the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his concurrence with the majority opinion in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission:

“The dissent says that when the Framers ‘constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.’ That is no doubt true. All the provisions of the Bill of Rights set forth the rights of individual men and women – not, for example, of trees and polar bears. But the individual person’s right to speak includes the right to speak in association with other individual persons. Surely the dissent does not believe that speech by the Republican Party or the Democratic Party can be censored because it is not the speech of ‘an individual American.’ It is the speech of many individual Americans, who have associated in common cause, giving the leadership of the party the right to speak on their behalf.”

A clear misreading of the Constitution

McCain considered such geometric logic “arrogant, uninformed, naïve,” telling NBC’s “Meet the Press,”

“I just wish one of them had run for county sheriff.”

It was McCain’s observations that were arrogant, uninformed and naïve regarding our Bill of Rights. They have nothing to do with the democratic vagaries of seeking political office. In fact, their biggest selling point is their vehemently undemocratic aspect.

The First Amendment begins Congress Shall Make No Law… for a reason. Indeed, it denies the political majority and its elected officials the right to limit our free speech – period.

And it must be remembered the bone of contention in the Citizens United case was the FEC’s ban of the film “Hillary the Movie” days before the start of the 2008 Democratic primaries.

Of Citizens United

McCain’s friend, Sen. Russ Feingold, says of Citizens United,

“The American people will pay dearly for this decision when, more than ever, their voices are drowned out by corporate spending in our federal elections.”

In 2016, Trump won the White House while spending half that of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and her super PACs.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Sen. John McCain could get around the freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

That’s quite a legacy shared by two individuals who, despite their many attempts, never, thankfully, made it to the Oval Office.


Top Image: Sen. John McCain reads excerpts from his book “The Restless Wave: Good Times,
Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations.” ABC’s “Good Morning America” screen capture.

Steven M. Lopez

Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area and now resides in South Florida.