John McCain - What a Maverick Means to American Politics

The tributes to Senator McCain - although most prefer to use his unadorned name, John McCain, as signifying how his life was larger than his political role by several degrees - are pouring in, even if President Trump apparently tamped down the original White House response which was far more effusive in its praise of the senator.

Maverick is being used to describe him. But what do we really mean by the term "maverick"? Essentially, it's a label that was placed on McCain by his fellow Republicans when he would not follow party lines. Perhaps its roots come in the aftermath of the Keating Five scandal where McCain was one of five senators accused of encouraging the government - specifically the Federal Home Loan Bank Board - to go easy on Lincoln Savings & Loans after a scandal-plagued collapse of the bank that wiped many investors and savers out.

The Keating Five were all Democrats, save McCain. John Glenn and John McCain were later absolved, to a degree, and charged with merely showing "bad judgement." But apparently McCain was burned by this scandal and embarked a few years later (the scandal took place in the late 80's and early 90's but the accusations deal with actions taken around 1987) on a quest for campaign-finance reform. That put McCain at odds with much of the GOP establishment who felt it was an encroachment on their ability to engage in expensive free-speech. Mitch McConnell was particularly involved at several points over the following years in attempts to curtail what would become the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

In the end, the Supreme Court in 2010 with Citizens United v Federal Election Commission overturned much of McCain-Feingold, so John McCain mostly lost that battle. For now, at least.

But what maverick seems to mean is someone who won't reliably tow the party line. Like Rand Paul for example on military missions overseas, something McCain was a strong supporter of. The question of McCain's legacy might come down to the question of what the future will be of political parties in America. Will the GOP continue to be remade as a populist party by President Trump? And will Democrats be re-made as an identity-politics tent to the left of anything Hillary Clinton and her husband might have imagined just a few years ago, even during Obama's presidency?

John McCain is viewed as irreplaceable, which means most people would come to some sort of compromise on issues where he instead stood his ground and angered a lot of people in his own party. Many of whom are now singing his praises and doing so with far less hypocrisy than is usually the case. But that also means that true mavericks are rare. People usually tend to accommodate their own narrow interests (getting re-elected) to the party's agenda as much as possible. And that means voting the expected way on important legislation. Not John McCain. At least not always.

So perhaps he isn't an indication of a crumbling of the two-party structure in American politics but rather someone who was more of the past than of the future. The bipartisan coalition. Working across the aisle. Things that do happen nowadays, but almost behind the scenes as if members of Congress are scared of or dismissive of their own base. The GOP and the Democrats are certainly being remade and we'll see how that works out for each of them. But it is doubtful that there will be anyone like McCain on the Senate floor for some time to come. And it's doubtful for now that the two-party structure will crumble. Even if it certainly feels riven by fissures at times.

Posted by Keeley at August 27, 2018 6:07 PM
Comment #430662

‘Will the GOP(KKK/NRA/FILTH) continue to be remade as a populist party”

I recommend reading the September issue of Smithsonian, which will give you a history lesson on “populism”, from the mass murders of politically active black men(and some women and children too) in the 19th century, to the history of “populism” in the twentieth century, as described by Edward Miller in Nut Country:

how a group of influential far-right businessmen, religious leaders, and political operatives developed a potent mix of hardline anticommunism, biblical literalism, and racism to generate a violent populism—and widespread power. Though those figures were seen as extreme in Texas and elsewhere, mainstream Republicans nonetheless found themselves forced to make alliances, or tack to the right on topics like segregation. As racial resentment came to fuel the national Republican party’s divisive but effective “Southern Strategy,” the power of the extreme conservatives rooted in Texas only grew… a fresh understanding of the rise of the new Republican Party and the apocalyptic language, conspiracy theories, and ideological rigidity that remain potent features of our politics today.

McCain was a part of that process. He deserves respect for what he endured before he came into politics, and for not ratting out his wife in the Keating days, which are both disqualifications for the new KKK/NRA/GOP/FILTH.

“The bipartisan coalition.” That’s a silly attempt at humour there. Every right wing member of the USHOR voted against the stimulus package that brought the country back from the last right wing effort at looting and bankrupting The United States Of America. (Some projects initiated under that stimulus are still providing jobs to this day.) The Senate is very slightly less partisan, but they’re all controlled by professional gamblers who want the decks stacked in their favor so they can keep the assets of the country flowing to them.

Exits from the stockmarket by established firms—the second factor behind listed firms’ shrinking ranks—are growing in number. About a third of departures are involuntary, as companies get too small to qualify for public markets or go bust. The rest are due to takeovers. Some firms get bought by private-equity funds but most get taken over by other corporations, usually listed ones. Decades of lax antitrust enforcement mean that most industries have grown more concentrated. Bosses and consultants often argue that takeovers are evidence that capitalism has become more competitive. In fact it is evidence of the opposite: that more of the economy is controlled by large firms.
(The Economist)
The stock market isn’t what it used to be…the sheer number of companies listed on stock exchanges has been dropping off precipitously. The number of firms with shares publicly listed in the University of Chicago’s Center for Research in Security Prices aggregate index has fallen to 3,267 from a peak of 6,364 in 1997. This, in fact, is the lowest number of listed stocks since 1984…with fewer companies to choose from, active managers are forced to crowd into certain stocks. (Business Insider)
Posted by: ohrealy at August 27, 2018 7:10 PM
Comment #430672

McCain was a big player in the NAU, open borders, amnesty push. His last escapade, voting to keep Obamacare, was/is harmful to the middle class and an infantile act, IMO.

The dim party is daid. May come back with the same name, may not.

The GOP is a divided party but will be unified by the end of Trumps 2nd term; globalist out, tea party in, and so on …

It’s a great opportunity for a 3rd party populist/independent movement to take hold. I am hopeful that Mark Levin and some heads of the ‘Article V part II’ effort will try to get a 3rd party going.

The establishment (GOP/dims) have refused to support Article V part II, claiming it will be a runnaway convention, which is BS. Trumps 2nd term may open up a path for a convention of states to take place.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 27, 2018 9:39 PM
Comment #430710

Senator John McCain was a hero, a role model, and a patriot. I wanted to vote for him in 2000, and am sorry I didn’t have an opportunity too. There are few politicians willing to vote his or her conscious and not his party’s bidding in today’s world. Nor are there enough people driven by humility to improve each and every day, despite being in a position of power.

I may not have always agreed with his politics, but I knew his opinions came from a person that believed in honesty and honor. It is said, he strove to live up to his family’s legacy. I think it is safe to say he succeeded admirably.

Posted by: Cube at August 29, 2018 1:07 AM
Comment #430837

Of course Meghan McCain says it the best “We gather to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not the cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.

Trump you have been served, you have been found wanting. Trump chumps who, while defending Trump, tell us McCain wasn’t a hero….eat s**t and die.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 1, 2018 10:22 PM
Comment #430844

A comical satire in that the funeral ceremony for McCain was said to be about bringing folks together as they bashed Trump and, thusly, 50% of the electorate.

IMO, McCain voted to save ObamaCare as a way to thumb his nose at Trump.

And, how about President Clinton seated near Farrakhan at Aurethas funeral? More togetherness than I can stand.

The left made their bed, now let them lye … .

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 2, 2018 11:10 AM
Comment #430969

Well Roy perhaps you should be pointing the finer at Trump who tried to tell the American people McCain wasn’t a hero amongst other divisive tweets. Your false narrative seems to forget it was Trump who started this with his outright lies.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 3, 2018 11:55 AM
Comment #430975

Only 58% percent of the eligible voters, voted in the last presidential election. Nineteen states had lower turnout, some of it attributed to restrictive voting laws, implemented by Republicans. No matter, when you look at the numbers, only about 26 percent of the electorate could feel insulted by the references in McCain’s funeral. That is if voters felt so vested in their vote, that they feel compelled to defend Trumps mad, narcissistic, racist rhetoric.

People came to celebrate Senator McCain’s life, not because he was perfect, but because he would be the first one to say he wasn’t. Despite his imperfections, which he recognized, he allowed his sense of honor to drive his decisions.

Below is Senator McCain’s own statement on why he voted against the fore mentioned bill, that would have repealed Obamacare.

“From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called ‘skinny repeal’ amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals. While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens. The Speaker’s statement that the House would be ‘willing’ to go to conference does not ease my concern that this shell of a bill could be taken up and passed at any time.”

“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote. We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace. We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”

Posted by: Cube at September 4, 2018 1:22 AM
Comment #430986

Anyone thinking the government can deliver affordable, quality health care is living in their on delusional fantasy land.

Posted by: Weary Willie at September 4, 2018 7:22 AM
Comment #430993

J2, doesn’t matter what ‘Trump says’. It’s up to the individual to determine their mindset, what they want/choose to believe.

I don’t know if McCain was a super war hero or just a standard hero. Recently, I’ve heard folks speak that he was a super hero and others say that he was just a standard hero, ‘just another POW’.

So, I don’t know and I am not interested enuff to try and sort it out. I really don’t care.

I do know that McCain was a globalist who wanted open borders and amnesty for all. He voted for the dims and much as he did for the GOP on big issues.

His funeral ceremony was way over the top, IMO, and the dims took it way way way over the top, IMO.

So, McCain is gone and a several more globalist GOP’er’s will be gone come mid-terms. Trump needs to have a populist leaning House/Senate so he can get some big things done in his 2nd term.

McCain voted to further his self-interest. A populist votes with their heart/pocketbook. Like, build a wall and save us money, and so on …

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 4, 2018 9:52 AM
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