You’d think it was the Campbells versus the MacDonalds at Glencoe. Maybe Hatfield versus McCoy. Yankees versus Dodgers?
But mere death does not seem to tamper down on this antagonism. It’s as if the principals and their families take Ahab’s advice on the whale and, “To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”
I’m guessing there was no decaf on the Peqoud.
Well, I hope John McCain isn’t in hell and I also hope his last breath wasn’t wasted on a political feud. However, his family cannot get over the Trump thing. Not that the president is helping it any, unloading on the late senator yesterday in Ohio. This is after McCain’s daughter Meghan, one of the least bright bulbs when it comes to political children (she makes Don Jr. look like a Nobel Prize Laureate), took one of her own regular and weirdly cloying overemotional shots at the president.
Who’s to blame? Who’s got a point?
Here in Annapolis, where I live, McCain is popular in a “You can’t say that about our pledges. Only we can say that about our pledges” sort of way. Everybody here concedes his heroism as a POW. I wrote about that in this column when he died. Then was no time to judge the man. He hadn’t been buried yet. But time moves on.
Before and after his Hanoi captivity the local house is divided between spoiled incompetent chowderhead and amusing hellraiser who did his duty and got shot down for it. The political views are predictable. Some in the GOP revere his memory as a senator and Dems have newfound love for him because they can use him as a partisan cudgel.
Others like me, while admiring his Navy service and POW record, find his later days in the Senate, like his vote not to end Obamacare, inexcusable. That he couldn’t get over a personal feud to vote for a measure he himself had campaigned on was and is simply the height of political narcissism.
Did the now president, then candidate, publicly start it when he said he preferred “people that weren’t captured” in 2015? No. McCain had already gone after Trump hard on immigration before Trump said a thing about him on the campaign trail. Was what Trump said over the top? Yes. But it had provocation. Was McCain’s subsequent behavior as a senator seemingly dedicated to hurting Trump, even if the nation suffered for it? Yes.
Did Trump decently put Air Force One and other resources at the beck and call of the McCain family for the lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda, only to be criticized and trashed at the event itself? Yes. Does that show any sense of grace or small gratitude towards the president who made the gesture, when he was not under any obligation to do so? No.
So, who started it? McCain. Who fueled it at America’s expense? McCain. Who can’t let it go and plays the victim card when the president defends himself? The McCains.
These people need to give it up. It does them or the memory of Senator McCain no service. It just makes Meghan look ineffectively vindictive, the senator look worse in retrospect, and reminds us why we voted for Donald Trump.
If that’s their goal, they can have at it. Somehow, I think it isn’t.