John McCain is dead: Let's discuss his legacy

The BBC has just reported that John McCain is dead. There’s a lot of bad things to be said about the former Senator. But, I’ll back off for now and thank him for the vote against dismantling the Affordable Care Act as well as the famous confrontation with the “He’s an Arab” lady during his 2008 campaign.

I wish he’d been elected President…in 2000.

Seriously, to get a true measure of the man listen to his 2008 concession speech.

I liked when that woman called Obama an arab and he replied, "No ma’am,” McCain said. “He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about. He is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as Pf resident. “If I didn’t think I’d be one heck of a better President I wouldn’t be running, and that’s the point. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments, I will respect him. I want everyone to be respectful, and let’s make sure we are. Because that’s the way politics should be conducted in America.”

You can see it here.

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I wish he’d been elected President…in 2000.

Seriously, to get a true measure of the man listen to his 2008 concession speech.


That’s actually what I always think about. It really was a gracious and affecting concession speech.

I do not think McCain left behind a good legacy, unfortunately.

It’s aggravating for me to see this outpouring of props for John McCain for supposedly being a really principled man with integrity and honor, because I feel that McCain, in his last days of politics, put party before country by effectively bending the knee to Trump despite his very vocal public criticism of him.

When he had the chance to actually put up some meaningful resistance to Trump by casting a NO vote for some of the RIDICULOUSLY unqualified bullshit cabinet appointments, like Betsy DeVos, what did he do? Nothing.

All day every day he talked about how much of a disgrace Trump was - a guy who personally insulted him and who made a mockery of the office of president in every way - yet when the time came to actually DO SOMETHING to stand up to him, he did nothing. I watched those fucking hearings. I thought McCain might actually cast the tie-breaking vote to throw a wrench into Trump’s infernal machine, as would have been the honorable thing to do. But he went along with the proceedings. He acted like a follower, not a leader. He certainly did not act like the maverick that he claimed to be.

Being a Naval Aviator is badass. Being able to survive horrific torture is badass. Having the strength of will to move past that kind of trauma and build a successful life is badass. Unfortunately, all of those things, to me, were entirely separate from how he conducted himself politically.

His integrity as an American patriot was put the test during those cabinet appointment hearings. And it failed the test.

Do I think he was a vile person? Am I glad that he died? Am I unsympathetic to his family and friends for their loss? No. I’m not. But this thread is for discussion of his political legacy and that is my opinion of it, full stop.

I’ll go ahead and say that while Mr. McCain did much that was to be admired, his missteps were huge and shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten. This is the guy who brought Sarah Palin to the national stage, for one.

He was a good man. He did some good things, some great things, and some bad things. I think one of his best moments was stopping the Pubs from completing destroying the ACA, and the time he stopped the “he’s an Arab” woman from continuing to talk at his townhall, both mentioned above. His service to the country speaks for itself.

God Bless John McCain! We need more senators like him, people who are willing to buck their party.

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I wish he’d been elected President…in 2000.

Seriously, to get a true measure of the man listen to his 2008 concession speech.


Yes, one of the better touching concession speeches I have ever heard. Very gracious in defeat, but I respected him before that. Didn’t have to agree with all of McCain’s politics, but I have been okay with him as POTUS, and he certainly would have brought this country together more-so instead of what we got in there now.

Many didn’t know, but McCain was also a Jeopardy contestant.

McCain was tuff, while POW, as I recall, he could have been released early, but he feared if he did, it would not have ended well for his fellow POW’s. He served honorably, doing missions that put his life in peril more than most. I’ll never forgive Trump for saying he preferred his heroes not to get caught. That’s easy to do when you avoid draft by claiming a handful of deferments one after another.

You can tell he had a loving family too, admire them as well.

I believe his legacy, in the end, will be the Sarah Palin episode and the shift that followed it in American politics.
The rest will become just subtext as time moves on.

Accepting Sarah Palin as a running mate was an unforgivable act — and if he actively chose the woman, that’s equally bad. If he merely accepted her, then it shows he was willing to be a tool of amoral idiots. If he actually selected her then he had terrible judgement and should not have been president.

It would have been nice if he’d made some “no-names” denouncements of people who attack the media, etc. But barring Trump from his funeral is what we get, and it’s better than nothing.

He was a decent man, but I think he, like Joe Lieberman, stayed in congress too long. I doubt most people will blame McCain for this, but I was thinking that for someone who earned the moniker “Maverick,” it’s too bad he didn’t stand up to Trump more. He stood up to Trump more than most in his party, but that’s unfortunately not saying much. He, like the rest of his party, enabled a dangerous candidate and a dangerous president. Someone once said to me that people remember you most by what you did or didn’t do last. This is how I will remember McCain, which is unfortunate, because I think he had it in him to be better than this.

Regardless, as for John McCain the soldier and the man, may he rest in peace.

I disagree with some of McCain’s views. He admitted letting advisors convince him to pick Palin over Lieberman was a mistake.

His legacy is extremely positive, and he is and deserves to be treated as an American hero. I did not always think so, but was persuaded by several factors: seeing what he went through in Ken Burns’ Vietnam series, his advocacy for restoring relations with Vietnam, his decency in referring to fellow Americans of different views and parties, standing up to Trump when it counted (and how many of his partisans have done the same in public?)… how many politicians admit they made serious mistakes? McCain represents an era of principled conservatism that I can respect even if my own views sometimes differ.

I have a bottle of piss saved up to water the grave of each member of Congress who voted in favor of the AUMF in Iraq, and an extra one for the guy who introduced Sarah Palin to the national stage.

I’d put that one pretty high.

Next fiscal years Senate NDAA has some McCain driven reform in officer personnel management. Changes to support spouses who face 4 times the civilian unemployment rate might give a little bit of help to retention of the best personnel. It has the potential to be the little, boring, kind of change that has big effects for many years after his death if it can get through reconciliation with the House.

There have also been significant acquisitions reforms in the Pentagon since he took over as Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The jury is still out but that could be a significant, and mostly unknown, legacy as well.

His choice of Sarah Palin caused my lifetime Republican parents to become Democrats.

Let’s hope that his thumbs down to the healthcare vote was the first of many senators breaking with Trump - hopefully 67 or more…

I agree that his legacy is likely to be mixed. Disclaimer: I’m a liberal, so I’m likely to have disagreed with his politics more often than not.

He did some important things that went against his party’s orthodoxy (the McCain-Feingold bipartisan campaign finance reform act is another example), and he was often labeled as a “maverick,” but he seemed to go back and forth as to whether he’d follow the GOP party line.

He could be very principled at times (as previous posters have noted), but I fear that, as has been noted, his choice of Palin will overshadow a lot of his other work and words.

He was, no doubt about it, a hero and a badass. On the other hand, I remember articles written when he was running for president in 2008, suggesting that he also had a prodigious temper, and could be a real jerk.

So, from what I’ve seen, a very complex person, and not easy to classify. Regardless, godspeed, John McCain.

He was ultimately cleared, but his legacy should also include his involvement with Charles Keating in the late 80’s. I’m not clear on whether it was a real problem, but he did apparently take a lot of money from a guy looking for substantial favors (perhaps that is unremarkable - I don’t know).

He was also unfaithful to his first wife, so I’m indignant at all of the “class act” comments that are on Facebook about him.

Ultimately, his acceptance of Palin as his running mate will be his biggest legacy, in my opinion. But his work with Democrats to resolve the POW/MIA issue with Vietnam and to enact campaign finance reform are his best achievements, in my opinion. And he undoubtedly endured hell in Hanoi.

Keating Five, philanderer, left crippled wife to marry rich lady 20 years his junior, Sarah Palin, helped McConnell block Garland and voted for Gorsuch, talked a big brave game but supported Trump with his Senate vote 85 percent of the time. I won’t say he’s in Hell, but he’s going to be pushing crabapples with his nose in Purgatory for thousands of years.

Nope. Didn’t like him. Nossir.

This is Steve Schmidt eviscerating Trump by comparing him to McCain. Its moving to watch. Its worth the couple minutes.