Posted tagged ‘Maverick’

John McCain: Public Servant or Self Servant

August 30, 2018

MESA, AZ - JUNE 4: Senator John McCain (R - AZ) appears at a town hall meeting on June 4, 2010 in Mesa, Arizona.

Why has the passing of Senator John McCain turned into a political tennis match? Since Senator McCain was a politician, everything he did was, by nature, political. Lets try to take an unbiased look at Senator McCain’s life and see what we come up with.  Being unbiased will be difficult because I am biased against politicians in general, and political insiders in particular.

MILITARY SERVICE

Flying missions over Viet Nam and taking flack from AAA is something that takes a special kind of person. Heck, taking off and landing on an aircraft carrier takes a great amount of fortitude. He was shot down and captured by the enemy. He was tortured while spending 5 plus years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton.

This is serving your country at a level that cannot be denigrated in any way. He deserves to be honored for his service in the military. I salute him.

But what a person does at one point in his life doesn’t inoculate him from criticism for what he does the rest of his life. Many like to talk about John McCain”s life of public service. Service in the military is real service. Getting into politics doesn’t automatically grant a merit badge for public service. Your actions speak louder than what you say.

PUBLIC SERVICE OR SELF SERVICE?

I see John McCain through the same lens as I see his contemporary John Kerry. Both used their military service to further their political career. John Kerry threw his medals over the White House fence to prove his bona fides in becoming a Democrat. John McCain wore his medals on his chest to prove his bona fides in becoming a Republican. They both became insiders working to prop up and grow the size, and power of Government.

I am amazed how individuals go into politics to serve the public but seem to serve themselves. How many politicians become multimillionaires after decades of being hailed as “public servants”. How politicians become multimillionaire making only a couple hundred thousand a year amazes me (not really). Of course it helped both Kerry and McCain that they married into money.

Does anyone remember ‘The Keating Five’? Probably not. The MSM rarely talks about McCain’s role in the savings and loan crisis from the late 80’s. If you want to know more about McCain, the Keating Five, and Charles Keating, read this article from 1988: McCain: The Most Reprehensible Of The Keating Five. Charles Keating was owner of Lincoln Savings and Loan. He gave money and perks to McCain and his family. These payments could be considered a quid pro quo if McCain and 4 other senators, including John Glenn, could keep regulators away from Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan skimming operation.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“No one forgets that John Glenn was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. You won’t let anyone forget that you were a prisoner of war. But you have played that tune too long…..Clearly, both you and Glenn sold your fame for Charles Keating’s money.”

“It was a Faustian bargain. It was also a bad joke on the rest of us and a disaster for many old people who lost their life’s savings to Keating. The money was never really Keating’s to give. But he never would have got his hands on it if you and the rest of the Keating Five didn’t halt the government takeover for two long years while Keating’s people continued their looting.”

“And now, the tab for the Savings and Loan heist must be paid from taxpayers pockets.”

In 2002 McCain wrote a book titled, “Worth The Fighting For”. He did a C-SPAN book TV interview. Here is the part of the interview where he is questioned about Charles Keating, the Savings and Loan crisis and the Keating Five.

What do you think of his performance?

MAVERICK OR POLITICAL INSIDER?

McCain was known for his bipartisanship and willingness to work across the aisle. This reminds me of a quote by Thomas Sowell: “The only thing worse than partisan legislation is bipartisan legislation.

In 2002 McCain teamed up with Senator Russ Feingold to pass the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act aka  McCain-Feingold Act. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that it was unconstitutional because the First Amendment right to free expression applied to corporations. His bipartisan legislation violated free speech.

The media and Democrats used McCain’s bipartisanship as a pugil stick to beat Republicans over the head. The media and the Democrats thought of McCain as a ‘useful idiot’ in the advancement of their agenda. And he was blind to it even when it was right in front of his eyes. He wasn’t the lovable Maverick when he was running for President against Obama in 2008. The media hammered him. But after he lost, they eventually kissed and made up. He was getting what he valued from them. And they were getting what they valued from him.

WHAT DID HE VALUE AT THE END?

I’ve learned from reading ‘Human Action‘ by Ludwig von Mises that people act purposefully to attain a desired end. Put another way, what you value is revealed by your action. What insight can we gain about what John McCain valued if we look at his actions over the last year or so of his life?

Remember last year when congress was voting on repealing the Affordable Care Act? McCain had promised his constituents that he would vote for its repeal. It worked out that his vote would be the deciding vote for repeal. He made his grand entrance and turned his thumb down as if he was Caesar in the movie Gladiator deciding the fate of a warrior. He did this to spite Trump. He valued his hatred for Trump more than he valued his promise to his constituents.

McCain’s running mate in 2008, Sara Palin, was told through back channels not to come to his funeral. He has placed partial blame for his loss in 2008 on her. I know he hated Trump and didn’t want him at his funeral. But Sara Palin? She had nothing but praise for John McCain in her tweets upon hearing of his death.

If you knew you were going to die in a year would spend it clinging to your power as long as you can? And playing politics with people you didn’t like? Or would you spend it in a less selfish way?

Every human being is selfish by nature. But at some point most people learn to get over themselves. Although some people never get over themselves even at the end. What do John McCain’s actions tell us about him?

 

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