Manipulating the Memory of John McCain

Liberal luminaries cut short their summering last week to fawn over the memory of “profile in courage” John McCain, a self-serving spectacle made worse by the complicity of the late senator himself and his family.

In a week when the mainstream media suddenly reversed their reticence to cover the Mollie Tibbetts story when her father condemned Republicans for “politicizing” his daughter’s kidnapping and murder by an illegal alien from Mexico, they were busy doing exactly the same thing at the McCain memorial.

That’s because, in the Democrat’s dictionary, a “profile in courage” is defined as a Republican willing to put conscience before politics and vote against his own party’s interests.

A “traitor” is defined as a Democrat willing to do the same.

We’ll see if these beltway bloodhounds, ever hot on the trail of Republican hypocrisy, stand in tearful admiration if West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin courageously answers their constant call for bipartisanship by casting the deciding vote to seat conservative Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

They’ll be tearful, alright, with tears of rage.

And their McCain-inspired nostalgia for an era of political “civility” that supposedly existed before the Trump era will suddenly evaporate.

Not only is this remembrance a fantasy, by the way, few in Congress have had a more uncivil, explosive temper or a more foul-mouthed way of expressing it than the senior senator from Arizona.

All President Trump did was take private incivility public — something these pearl-clutching pretenders are as shocked about as Captain Renault was about gambling in Rick’s Cafe Americain.

Unfortunately, John McCain was so consumed with hatred for the President — yet understandably so, beginning with Trump’s irresponsible and unretracted “hero” remark early in the campaign — he was complicit in fashioning his memorial in a way that has tarnished everyone in the Republican party just before the midterm elections.

And who can blame the Democrats for taking from the silver platter McCain served up to them — from Barack Obama, a former president with nothing to lose, to Joe Biden, a presidential hopeful with everything to gain?

As for eulogizer George W. Bush, he’ll no doubt start painting oil portraits of John McCain to help assuage his guilt about the 2000 South Carolina primary, when he sent out slanderous flyers, emails and telephone push polls claiming that McCain was mentally unstable from his five years in captivity, treasonous for his coerced torture confession of crimes against the North Vietnamese people, and morally unfit, fabricating a list of marital infidelities, including the illegitimate siring of a black child.

It was the beginning of an unprecedented barrage of libel that foreshadowed the end of front-runner McCain’s quest for the presidency. And George Bush’s tribute at the memorial last week certainly said more about McCain’s ability to forgive than Bush’s ability to atone for his sins.

As for Joe Manchin, or any other embattled red state Democratic senator, chances are they may not even be needed to change the balance of the Supreme Court toward conservative ideals, thanks to the singular foresight of Harry Mason Reid, Democratic Senate Majority Leader and legendary “Father of the Nuclear Option.”

His filibuster-busting rule change opened the door for a simple majority of 51 on judicial appointments, empowering the senate’s 51 Republicans to follow his lead and remake the highest court in their own image and likeness for generations to come.

You can bet that when Senator Reid passes, conservatives will be dreaming about returning the “McCain favor” with their own dissembling speeches about Reid’s “extraordinary vision” and his “political prescience” in beginning to end the 60-vote barrier forever.

In the meantime, let’s stop the manipulation of memorials for political gain, starting with a straight talk moment about John McCain.

I don’t know that he was a political “profile in courage,” but he was certainly a profile in complexity — and sometimes contradiction — a righteous conservative on abortion, a pragmatist on immigration, an idealist on campaign financing, a bulldog on energy independence, a compromiser on the environment, a deficit hawk and tax-cut champion simultaneously, and a defense department evangelist who saw an American military solution for just about every problem facing the world.

And like those who lauded him, McCain could also be a profile in self-promotion, his curmudgeonly persona garnering more television exposure than any senator in history — a brilliant branding that culminated in McCain’s exquisite orchestration of his own final appearance on the national stage.

Yes, John McCain was arguably the ultimate McCain manipulator, and for that reason alone he will long be an inspirational figure to his political friends and enemies alike.