Saturday, August 25, 2018

John McCain (1936–2018)

John McCain, in a speech upon receiving the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal, October 16, 2017:

To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain “the last best hope of earth” for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.

We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil.

comments: 11

The Crow said...

Seems we missed having a good president when we didn't elect John McCain. For anyone to call him a coward is reprehensible, to say the least.

Michael Leddy said...

The possibility of Sarah Palin as president made a McCain presidency unimaginable to me. But no one can deny his courage and dedication to duty.

Anonymous said...

Having sat in a hearing and heard Senator John McCain speak to the witnesses and ask them questions, I will miss him. I didn't always agree with his politics but felt he was interested in learning.

He stated recently that he wishes he had picked Senator Joe Lieberman for his running mate. He listened to his advisors and now regrets he didn't pick him. Imagine what a presidency that would have been!


Michael Leddy said...

You’d appreciate what Russ Feingold writes in The New York Times about a McCain presidency: “His fundamental respect for diverging viewpoints, his willingness to befriend people from different parties and philosophies, his intense desire not for political dominance but to get things done, and yes, his sense of humor, would have served our divided nation and fraught world well.”

The Crow said...

Sarah Palin is the reason I didn't vote for McCain, too. I knew he had been pushed into adding her to the ticket, which is what lost the election for him.

Lord have mercy! Can you imagine a Trump-Palin ticket? (Where did that zombie idea come from?)

Frex said...

Just re-read David Foster Wallace reporting from John McCain's campaign bus in 2000:

I imagine you've read it? Lot of interesting stuff there.

"As one national pencil told Rolling Stone and another nonpro,
'If you saw more of how the other candidates conduct themselves, you’d be way more impressed with [McCain]. It’s that he acts somewhat in the ballpark of the way a real human being would act.'

... The electorate seems so paroxysmically thankful for a presidential candidate somewhat in the ballpark of a real human being that it has to make you stop and think about how starved voters are for just some minimal level of genuineness in the men who want to “lead” and “inspire” them."

Michael Leddy said...

I think the choice of Sarah Palin was a hugely consequential mistake, not just for his campaign but for the country. She paved the way for Donald Trump.

Yes, I’ve read “Up, Simba” (I don’t know where the new title comes from). That idea of realness also seems to prophesy you-know-who, who tells-it-like-it-is, et cetera (but is an utter fraud). And now McCain’s endurance as POW makes me think of Don Gately in Infinite Jest — refusing pain medication so as not to destroy his sobriety. I never thought of that before.

Frex said...

Yes, I thought of you-know-who too--and that hunger for a politician you can trust--(even if you trust them to be awful?).

I loved rereading DFW's piece so much, I may finally break down and read (or try to read) Infinite Jest.

Michael Leddy said...

I’ll offer two bits of advice, or three, one of which has two parts: 1. Don’t skip the endnotes. Mark your place in them with a Post-it. 2. Don’t get mired in looking up every word. I wish you well if you jump in. (Or if you don’t.)

Frex said...

I hadn't finished the DFW McCain piece for Rolling Stone until just now--the "Up, Simba" quote comes toward the end:
"Plus there’s the single best part of every pre-scrum technical gear-up: watching the cameramen haul their heavy $40,000 rigs to their shoulders like rocket launchers and pull the safety strap tight under their opposite arm and ram the clips home with practiced ease, their postures canted under the camera’s weight.
It is Jim C.’s custom always to say “Up, Simba” in a fake-deep bwana voice as he hefts the camera to his right shoulder,
and he and Frank C. like to do a little pantomime of the way football players will bang their helmets together to get pumped for a big game, although obviously the techs do it carefully and make sure their equipment doesn’t touch or tangle cords."

Thanks for the tips---the library copies of IJ are all checked out so I'm not starting today, which is fine because reading the RS piece was enuf DFW for the day.
Good, but enuf.

Michael Leddy said...

As far as I can tell, it’s one book that doesn’t show up used — either because people don’t want to admit giving up, or because they want an impressive prop around, or both. :)