There have really been only two Republicans in the U.S. Senate that have been openly critical of Tweety to any real extent: Lindsey Graham and John McCain, and their criticism has been generally dismissed as mainly sour grapes from presidential wannabes.
Yesterday, McCain got out of bed, where he had been recovering from recent brain surgery, to come to Washington to cast his crucial vote to open discussion on repealing the A.C.A. He gave a good speech in which he said that Senators should ignore the internet, talk radio, etc., because those people really aren’t concerned with getting anything done for the American people, and that the Senate needs to finally get to work and accomplish some things, because they haven’t been doing their job.
It would have been great if McCain had seized that moment to vote against further discussion of repeal, and made his speech about how it was time to work together with Democrats to fix the problems in the current law.
He didn’t do that for the same reason that no Republican will get off this crazy hobby horse and stop trying to pass something that only 12% of the American people approve of: he would immediately get “Koch”ed in the next primary, i.e. face a hand-picked, well-financed challenger who will rigidly toe the Koch line.
It’s not clear why that would matter to McCain at this juncture, given his health and age, but it’s probably that no one wants their legacy tarnished at the end of their career by a campaign of vitriol, bitterness and accusations against him, which is actually already well under way in McCain’s case. Its spearhead is Kelli Ward.
Kelli Ward was beaten soundly by McCain in the 2016 Republican senate primary in Arizona, and is now running against incumbent Jeff Flake for the other senate seat.
She’s a real piece of work. After McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer and before his surgery, she said that “the medical reality of his diagnosis is grim,” and he should step down and have her take his place. She sounds a lot like Trump when she speaks – lots of bragging, hyperbole, and distortion, as well as liberally quoting “some people”:
“You know, he outspent me nearly 10 to 1. He has a super PAC called Grassroots Action PAC spent over 10 million dollars seeking to destroy my character, my reputation, and my political future.
“However, I have emerged from those ashes much stronger and really I am beating the pants off of Jeff Flake already. You know, some people told me that Jeff Flake would do well to encourage the governor to appoint me because that would take the pressure off of him.”
Note the flag pin. See, that means she loves America. Unlike McCain, who never wore one and therefore does not love America. Earlier this year, she said McCain is too old and will likely die on the job. When McCain got his diagnosis, she ramped it up:
“Senator McCain has an aggressive brain cancer that is both devastating and debilitating. When the time comes that Senator McCain can no longer perform his duties in the Senate at full capacity, he owes it to the people of Arizona to step aside”
Ward continued, saying that if McCain does leave office, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey would be required to appoint a replacement senator to serve until the 2018 midterm election. When asked if her name was being considered as a replacement, Ward responded: “I certainly hope so.”
“Because, you know, I have a proven track record from years in the state Senate of being extremely effective and of listening to the voice of the people that I represent,” she said.
I don’t really know why, but this ugliness, self-regard, entitlement, and greed reminds me of that scene in “Zorba the Greek” where the bouboulina is sick and being tended to by Zorba. The envious old women of the village get wind that the “foreigner is dying”. They swoop in to her apartment like starving ravens and start grabbing at everything they see – clothes, drapes, jewelry, plates. Everything. And she’s not dead! She’s right there on the bed looking at them.
By the time she does die, there is nothing left of her things. Her lifetime of accumulated mementos and treasures – her legacy – has vanished before her body is cold. Only the parrot survives to give voice to what she was.