Return of Maverick McCain? Not So Fast
Last night Arizona Senator John McCain bucked his party and voted to kill the GOP Obamacare repeal bill.
Thank you Senator McCain.
Is this a one-off or is the old “Maverick McCain” back in the U.S. Senate? To hear most experts tell it, the vote signals that the old McCain, the man who would routinely vote against his party and in the interest of the country, is back.
I say not so fast.
First, this vote appears to be a one-off deal. Sen. McCain signaled throughout the week as his party’s leaders tried to jam various Obamacare repeal bills down everyone’s throats that he would not vote for passage of the final bill without necessary improvement.
Earlier Thursday as the Senate GOP prepped for final showdown, McCain along with Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson and Bill Cassidy held a press conference and basically said he would only vote for the “skinny bill” if he was convinced it will go to a conference with the House before a final vote.
“I am not going to vote for the ‘skinny’ bill if I’m not assured by the House there will be a conference,” McCain said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan later gave such assurances and President Donald Trump called him to lend his voice as well.
Listening to Sen. McCain, it was easy to dismiss him offhand. I confess I did.
Only a day or so earlier, against all expectations, he had flown to Washington from his home in Arizona where he was recuperating from surgery, to help the GOP advance the motion to proceed to the actual bill.
So why would anybody believe he would do what he said he would?
Sure. McCain is a war hero. Most right-thinking Americans consider him to be that. Some people may have different opinion – but for those of us on the left, we still have respect for the man.
Consider also that in 2008, against expectations and to appease his party’s base, McCain tried to impose Sarah Palin – a woman lacking intelligence and who was clearly not qualified for the position – on America as vice president.
Most of us were aghast at the prospect of having Palin only steps away from the White House.
Last Tuesday when he voted to move the healthcare motion forward, I thought ‘Oh my God! How can that be?’
This is a guy who gets Cadillac healthcare paid for by American tax payers. How can he vote to move a bill that causes 26 million Americans to lose their health care, forward? How can that be?
He stood on the Senate floor and gave what many in the media considered “an impassioned speech” about the need for bi-partisanship, the need to restore usual order in the Senate and vowed that he would vote against the healthcare bill unless changes were made.
I confess I thought that while the speech sounded good and wonderful, it sounded hollow. Coming from a man who only moments earlier voted to help the motion proceed, I thought the speech was just that – a speech.
Last night, at least on the issue of health care, he proved me wrong. He did cast a historic vote and along with Maine’s Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) saved health care for millions of Americans.
The question though is whether this means the old McCain is back. There is no way to know for sure but recent history indicates that may not be the case.
Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pulled the bill meaning there is a chance he could bring it back for another go-round. Most people do not expect him to do that especially after saying it was time to move on.
Next up may be infrastructure or tax reform. I will watch how McCain votes on those before I declare the old “Maverick McCain” back.
Watch this space.
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