How McCain Paved the Way for Trump

John McCain's mistakes should not be forgotten.


John McCain held Donald Trump in deserved contempt, and Trump mocked and detested him in return. But in a sense, Trump is one of the best things that ever happened to McCain. He gave the senator from Arizona so many chances to display his admirable qualities that you could forget he had others.

There is no denying McCain's sterling virtues: bravery, service to his country, bipartisan spirit, candor, indomitability, and more. His 2008 campaign yielded two moments that showed him at his best. The first was when he corrected a woman who told him Barack Obama is "an Arab." The second was his gracious concession speech on election night.

But overall, his time as the Republican nominee exposed a different side of McCain that should not be forgotten, even as the nation mourns his passing. Often his campaign was nasty, dishonest, and irresponsible. Worse, it helped turn the Republican Party into a vehicle that could be commandeered by Donald Trump.

The demonization of Obama that plagued his presidency didn't begin on Inauguration Day. It was part of the 2008 GOP campaign, and McCain was more than complicit. He was more than happy to question his opponent's patriotism and disparage his integrity.

When Obama disagreed with his opposition to a bill expanding education benefits for veterans, McCain replied with sanctimonious scorn: "I will not accept from Sen. Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did." McCain had voted to confirm Dick Cheney as secretary of defense even though he got five deferments to avoid Vietnam.

Because Obama favored withdrawal from Iraq, McCain claimed his rival "would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign." Sen. Chuck Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran and Nebraska Republican, rebuked McCain for stooping to this smear.

Rick Wilson, a Republican consultant, praised McCain's attacks: "Obama is always going to struggle with the cultural disconnect. He scans very much as liberal Ivy League elitist. People automatically put him in a box with people who are not like Middle America's view of patriotism." Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), whom McCain revered for his courage in marching for civil rights, accused him of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division."

After slamming Obama for his inexperience, McCain put the country at risk of Sarah Palin, who lacked not only experience but basic knowledge of issues. Her ignorant demagoguery was practically a blueprint for Trump's campaign—and when Trump came along, McCain's running mate campaigned for him.

But McCain's examples of grievous misjudgment didn't begin or end with the campaign. In 2003, he predicted that "when the people of Iraq are liberated, we will again have written another chapter in the glorious history of the United States of America."

This year, McCain finally acknowledged that the war "can't be judged as anything other than a mistake, a very serious one, and I have to accept my share of the blame for it."

But it was a limited lesson, learned late. He was a tireless advocate of military intervention in foreign conflicts, including Libya and Syria. He favored a pre-emptive strike to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and opposed the Iranian nuclear deal.

McCain was wrong on many issues. He opposed allowing gays to serve openly in the military. He opposed George W. Bush's tax cuts partly because they would produce "growing deficits"—and, after they did exactly that, voted to extend them. A champion of humane immigration policy, he changed course in 2008, saying he would vote against his own bill.

Among his favorite crusades was campaign finance reform. But the Supreme Court ruled that major sections of the McCain-Feingold law violated the First Amendment.

Not only that but it didn't clean up our elections. Opponents warned that by barring large individual and corporate contributions to political parties, "it would precipitate a tectonic shift of political power away from the parties and toward outside groups, which were likely to be far more extreme and far less accountable," wrote Robert Kelner and Raymond La Raja in 2014 in The Washington Post. "The critics were correct." It's another way the foe of Trump facilitated the rise of Trump.

McCain, a far wiser statesman and a far better human being than this president, fully earned the praise being bestowed on him. But for the process that brought America to its current disgrace, McCain also earned a share of the blame.

NEXT: More Guns, Less Crime? Reason/Soho Forum Debate in NYC on Sept. 13

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  1. What chickenshit. McCain should be criticized for his warmongering not for daring to run against your messiah. You suck so hard

    1. I always wondered why a man that suffered so much in an unnecessary war started by LBJ's lies would be so eager to send more into the same danger. He had a reason for military intervention any place the dart may hit the map.

      1. Since he was tortured, he wants everyone else to be tortured.

        Like most Socialists, McCain wanted everyone to experience the same hardship. Race to the bottom.

        1. He was rather outspoken against torture actually. Were you?

          1. I'll take a swing at this . Yes ,with reservations . "We" have two eyes , ears, legs, kidneys ,etc. If when the enemy is through with you ,you have only one , or are so severely damaged that only one works, the answer is yes , against it . The torture question in the U.S. dealt primarily with "Water Boarding ." If you had an incompetent do it , there was always a chance of drowning . If a skilled person did it ,you didn't .
            The other consideration - If you remember the series "24" with Kiefer Sutherland- was how great a threat were you dealing with .If a small nuke was smuggled into to the U.S. ,and It had to be found , and neutralized ,I would not have any reservations on any technique .
            You posed an excellent question . I am surprised no one else answered .

          2. He was against it, then for it, then against it, then for it.

            I am 100% against torture for any reason. Its not and American thing to do and not doing it gives the USA the moral high ground.

            We know Tony likes torture. He a socialist, so murder is okay too.

          3. It depends on what the meaning of is/torture is. Proper waterboarding leaves no permanent physical or psychological injury (the definition of torture) and our own Special Forces are subject to it as part of their training.

            1. "Permanent injury" is not remotely a requirement in the definition of torture.

              That people undergo an 'enhanced interrogation technique' as part of training they signed up for, in training for a scenario where they're, y'know, tortured by an enemy, is just a non sequitur.

      2. I always wondered why a man that suffered so much in an unnecessary war started by LBJ's lies would be so eager to send more into the same danger.

        It goes to the core of McCain's personality: he wanted others to suffer like he did. McCain gave me the same kind of creeps that Hillary gave me: I think they are both amoral psychopaths.

        Much as I think Obama's presidency was an abject failure, given the choice between McCain and Obama, I'd still vote for Obama again, no question.

        1. Same here. I knew Obama would be checked by a Republican Congress and he was after midterms.

          I suspected that McCain would have been horrible as president because he was horrible as a Senator. He refused to resign while terminally sick and he just showed himself to be a bad person. McCain would have support of RINOs in Congress to get away with more than Obama did before the midterms.

      3. For the record, Congress virtually dragged LBJ into the war in Vietnam. It was Congress that wanted us in Vietnam and browbeat LBJ Into going there. Then when it turned out badly, the very same people like Fullbtight who were most behind the war in Congress turned on the war and claimed it was all LBJ. I dislike LBJ for a lot of reasons. But it was Congress more than LBJ who got us into Vietnam

        1. I would disagree John. LBJ sent more advisors. LBJ allowed American pilots to support South Vietnamese troops. LBJ allowed the CIA to get involved in numerous coups of South Vietnamese leaders. LBJ allowed US ships to get close to North Vietnam and support ARVN Marines attacking North Vietnam islands. LBJ knew that the Gulf of Tonkin incident did not happen like was announced. LBJ listened to his hawkish military advisors. LBJ sent the Marines. LBJ sent more and more Americans. LBJ refused to bomb North Vietnam into rubble.

          Congress did vote for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to authorize military force. Still not a Declaration of War.

          1. Now group of politicians, whether delineated by Party or by where they 'served', comes of looking good over Vietnam. The South Vietnamese government was a fairly typical post colonial government; a kleptocracy with overtones of genocide. The North Vietnamese government, and the insurgency it supported in the South was all that with a thick coating of religious (Communist) fanaticism. The only 'good guys' on the ground were the Montagnards who were caught in the middle.

            Supporting the South was probably better than leaving the whole thing alone. Unfortunately, the Political Left in the US had not yet learned to shy away from direct support of Communist governments likely to suddenly slaughter a few million people.


            The Left is, I devoutly hope, undergoing its death throes. If their 'Blue Wave' fails in November, I think President Trump will have lots of opportunities to lay bare examples of vote fraud by Democrats. A thorough investigation of such will break the Democrat hold on a lot of places. The Progressive Left will be driven back onto our increasingly irrelevant college campuses.

            Not a day too soon.

            1. +1 assessment

            2. You're forgetting that if the bubble bursts while Trump is still in office, it will trigger a massive blue wave?while greatly strengthening the far left socialist wing of the party. Ticktock, ticktock, ticktock, ticktock...

        2. LBJ was a pompous jackass who took the advice of a GM Manager over the Joint Chiefs.


          1. Strange Bob worked for Ford, not GM.

            1. Ford? As in the Dearborn Independent author of "The International Jew"?

          2. Kennedy appointed McNamara.

      4. Vietnam was not LBJ's war?cold warriors like Strom Thurmond and Richard Russell advocated for the war and LBJ gave it to them. Contrast that with Iraq which was the creation of Bush and his neocon advisors with a dash of Democrat blowhards like Biden and Daschle.

    2. What chickenshit. McCain should be criticized for his warmongering not for daring to run against your messiah. You suck so hard

      John McCain held Donald Trump in deserved contempt

      Prior to running for office, how was this contempt deserved?

      1. His 2008 campaign yielded two moments that showed him at his best. The first was when he corrected a woman who told him Barack Obama is "an Arab."

        Jesus Christ!

        "One of my best memories of John McCain was about Barack Obama." - Steve Chapman

        Just... WOW!

        1. Chapman is signalling for that other media job before he gets fired for writing garbage.

          1. And cocktail parties in the meantime.

        2. The only thing McCain did in that campaign that seemed to give him a chance to win, Chapman despises.

    3. McCain only paved the way for Trump by losing to Obama. Obama was the paver-in-chief with his progressive over-reach and disdain for bitter clingers.

      As to this: "McCain was wrong on many issues. He opposed allowing gays to serve openly in the military."

      Wrong based on what? Popular sentiment? I served in uniform for 20 years and unless we're running out of otherwise qualified recruits, the policy to serve openly is based on litle more than Facebook likes while the special accommodations and disruptions that continue to degrade combat effectiveness are swept under a PC rug. Obama did not openly support homosexual anything before he accepted that he could pick up extra votes without losing any by flipping. It's never a good idea to arm or give security clearances to the mentally ill (as defined before a small activist group of gay psychiatrists was able to excise homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders back in the 70s/80s...see Bradley Manning). Spare the civil rights argument because gays are born that way, while gender is a fluid social construct. Party of science and all that.

  2. "John McCain held Donald Trump in deserved contempt,"

    Every article at Reason must begin with ceremonial 2 Minutes Hate for Trump.

    "I am one of you! I hate Trump too! Please hire me, Salon!"

    1. As has been said, no named writer hopes to write for Reason,

      Every single writer here would shiv their mom to write for The Atlantic,

      1. Dear Atlantic,

        I just wanted to point out a phrase I used in a column at Reason today:

        "McCain, a far wiser statesman and a far better human being than this president..."

        Is that what you were looking for? Please let me know. I truly do NOT want to spend another winter in Chicago.

        Dreaming of D.C...


    2. Interestingly enough Trump through all the rest is appointing more judges that would defend the constitution than anyone in history. Ironically judges that are very likely to rule against is authoritarian instincts.
      This legacy will last longer than Trump and it will be a good one.

      1. +1

      2. He is also the first President since Reagan who has actually reduced the regulatory state and not gotten us into a new war. He is the first President since forever who has shown genuine interest in prison reform and is a half hearted drug warrior at best. But he is not pro open borders and that is literally all reason really cares about anymore

        1. But...but...his TWEETS!

        2. "and not gotten us into a new war."

          We aren't even halfway through his first term. Give him time.

    3. If my libertarian news site's comment section was flooded with authoritarians, I'd make sure to distance myself from them, too.

      1. God damn Tony you aren't even trying.

        1. I've got actual work to do, so I usually restrict myself to single-sentence nagging. I'm not Tony though.

            1. shh bby is okay

  3. Being a native Iowan, McCain lost me when I learned that he called esteemed farmer Senator Chuck Grassley a "fucking jerk". Is this "heaven"? No, it's "go fuck yourself" you crusty loser prick.

    1. You actually like Chuck Grassley? How embarrassing.

      1. I was joking, Grassley needed to retire back to the farm in the 1990s, but McCain was well known as a bully, and generally a crotchety fucking jerk to most people who even casually knew him.

        1. The irony of that old fucker whining about Trump being mean to him was epic.

  4. But in a sense, Trump is one of the best things that ever happened to McCain.

    McCain was killed by Trump. McCain's slow death spiral happened in Jan 2017.

    McCain is like the wicked witch and Trump's election as President was the bucket of water. McCain slowly melted away into dead.

    1. No, McCain was killed by a brain cancer. The only thing Trump did "to" him was give him extra excuses to betray his own party on his way out.

      1. I know, but its like Trump gave McCain brain cancer.

        1. I thought that was Ted Kennedy?

        2. It's like Trump gave the US brain cancer.

          1. Well, you seem to be suffering from it Tones.

          2. This is why I could never be a prog. The hyperbolic bed shitting statements never end. It's like listening to Rosie Odonell on repeat everyday. The tears are delicious though.

            1. I think that why the Lefty trolls trade off around here.

              Their knowledge of the day's narrative only extends so far. When they get in too deep, they hand off to the next Lefty to post new narrative nonsense from HQ.

  5. There is no denying McCain's sterling virtues: bravery, service to his country, bipartisan spirit, candor, indomitability, and more. His 2008 campaign yielded two moments that showed him at his best. The first was when he corrected a woman who told him Barack Obama is "an Arab." The second was his gracious concession speech on election night.

    I bet Lefties like Chapman would be singing a different tune if McCain had beaten Obama, election 2008.

  6. McCain barred Sarah Palin from his funeral. His running mate who never once criticized him and was the only reason he won a state besides AZ.

    He was an asshole to the end.

    1. Wow, seriously? For all of Palin's faults, she's the only reason McCain even had a whisper of a chance in 2008. The dumb fuck nuked it all on his own with his bizarre "campaign suspension" to run back to DC and give banks a trillion-dollar bailout for their own stupidity. That's like the Cleveland Browns taking on a free agent and blaming the free agent when they end up in last place again.

      McCain banning Palin sums up his entire political career. Zero loyalty and eternal spite and blame of others for his own failures. No wonder the left loved him so much.

      1. Who really knows whether McCain himself didnt want Palin there or it was 'intermediaries'. Either way, Palin and Trump publicly look respectful for trying to pay their respects and they were turned away.

        Election 2018 is going to be a real shocker for Lefties. They dont even see the massive loss of power coming their way.

      2. RRWP, I'm Canadian and knew this. Let's go stay on top of things. /wink.


      3. Palin STILL wont speak ill of him, mind you.

        Unlike everybody who ran his campaign, who have blasted her for years.

      4. First, there was probably no way McCain was going to beat Obama in 2008. He just didn't have the juice.

        Second, the only campaign event that even gave him a puncher's chance was when he/they/whoever nominated Sarah to be his VP. She injected more energy into the campaign than anyone thought possible.

        Third, as has been said, she has remained loyal to McCain throughout even as he tried to shift the blame for his defeat on to her. Hell, he wouldn't even speak up for her in the midst of all the bullshit thrown at her over Trig. Let it be said that all in all she proved herself a better man than he in this whole situation.

    2. I'm just happy to be validated. Yesterday I mentioned how people seem to blame Palin for Trump, and now in this article I get to see it made explicit.

      The demonification of a minor political figure. I'm impressed she is so hated as I cannot figure out either way what is so upsetting about her.

      1. Most Lefties are just delusional about why Trump won. They cannot admit to themselves that Trump is what Americans wanted. Palin had nothing to do with it.

        Palin is a threat because she could beat a Democrat woman into the VP slot. The attacks to prevent that from happening will probably continue until she dies. Since the Democratic Party is dying, they will continue to get more and more vicious and desperate in attacks.

        1. Dumb comment. Trump is what the electoral college wanted. Hillary had more votes. And for the record, I didnt vote for Hillary and I dislike her.

          Also, what do you mean she beat a Democrat(ic) woman into the VP slot? She is not the first female VP candidate.

          1. Shut up dum-dum.

          2. "Dumb comment. Trump is what the electoral college wanted. Hillary had more votes. And for the record, I didnt vote for Hillary and I dislike her."

            So? You don't like a metric that doesn't prove his point, so you use one that doesn't make yours?

            And you call his comment dumb?

          3. Praveen R.|8.30.18 @ 10:26AM|#
            "Dumb comment. Trump is what the electoral college wanted. Hillary had more votes."

            Stupidity. Not worth explaining to an imbecile.

          4. The presidency is determined by the electoral college. Trump campaigned accordingly.

            Far more comfortable when surrounded by coastal elites, particularly the Wall Street, Hollywood, and fawning media types, Hillary was too vain to campaign in the Midwest states. Too many deplorables there, too little money, and too few celebrities in the Midwest, so those critical electors went to Trump.

            If the popular vote selected the president, Trump would have structured the campaign to maximize the popular vote. His victory was the result of his actual campaign; nobody knows what would have been the result if he'd campaigned otherwise.

            Bottom line: Hillary is a loser. She was an awful candidate with a stupid strategy.

            1. Hillary lost in 2008 too.

              Her strategy sucked then too.

          5. Don't trash the Electoral College. The Founders had good reasons for this safeguard: it's the United States of America after all, not the BiStates of New York and California. Moreover, if I recall correctly, wasn't Hillary (and all her luvies in the MSM) bragging in September 2016 about the supposed "Blue Wall" that was going to insure her ascendance to her rightful place in the Oval Office? If that foreordained outcome had occurred, there would moaning about the Electoral College. Apparently, it's a major obstacle to electoral fairness when it doesn't go in the Democrat's favor.

      2. For me, it's because she's the dumbest "conservative" person I've ever heard speak after Trump and Sean Hannity.

        1. I'm sure you heard Marco Rubio once or twice.

        2. Notice he didnt say dumbest person speak. Then he would have to acknowledged dumb people like Obama, Booosh, Pelosi, Sanders....

      3. Reread the column for a clue. Obama was deified in 2008 any one who criticized was attacked. Joe the Plumber,Tuffy Thomas Gessling the Rodeo Clown, Palin. Look at the hysteria that ensues over Birtherism.

    3. That is so disgusting. What a vile family, every last one of them.

  7. The only good thing McCain has done is act as fertilizer now.

    1. You're an idiot because he hasn't even been buried and then he's in a coffin when he is buried so it won't even contact the soil. You're just so dumb. It's painful reading comments here.

      1. It's a figure of speech. Pedantic much?

      2. Curse the funeral industry for ending McCain's one possible human service.


      3. Your comment is proof that McCain was the shitlibs' pet Republican.

        You and your ilk all deserve helicopter rides.

      4. Jesus Christ, get this man some new pearls, he crushed these into powder!

      5. Most coffins/caskets are not sealed, and if they are sealed, the seal is usually broken for safety reasons, because sealed caskets increase the rate of decomposition, which can lead to explosions.

        Sealed vaults are the only method of completely sealing a body from the environment used in cemetaries, and Arlington doesn't allow them.

        1. The chief purpose of the vault is just to prevent subsidence when the coffin decays, nothing more.

          1. Agreed, however, as I stated, it is the only option one has that coould be considered sealed to the environment. Even then, shifting and water intrusion can defeat the seal over time.

            Truth be told, there is no permanently sealed option outside a welded metal casket, and even that would eventually corrode, if it didn't explode first.

    2. They should name the F-35 for him. His name should be synonymous with wasteful budget busting government spending, and blank checks for defense contractors.

      1. They should rename a Lincoln Savings and Loan building after him as well.

  8. LOL. Thanx Stevey, I need a good laugh.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Stevey also believes, like racist Jeffy Tooban, that Antifa is a black group. Why do Progressives always project their own heinous actions onto others?

  9. They should do a movie on McCain and call it the Hanoi Hilton Candidate.

    He was brainwashed into being a Socialists and went to the US Senate to act that way, the rest of his life.

  10. There is no denying McCain's sterling virtues: bravery, service to his country, bipartisan spirit, candor, indomitability, and more. His 2008 campaign yielded two moments that showed him at his best. The first was when he corrected a woman who told him Barack Obama is "an Arab." The second was his gracious concession speech on election night.

    I can't tell whether the author is being sarcastic or serious. Oh, wait, it's Chapman: he's actually serious.

    McCain was an angry fool who used the misfortunes that befell him as a political shield and lashed out at people and changed his positions to hide his incompetence. His actual political stance can be summarized as war monger and authoritarian.

    McCain is the embodiment of what made so many people hate the GOP. He helped Trump only in the sense that people concluded that even Trump, with all his flaws, was a better person than the likes of McCain or Hillary.

    1. He's the very definition of an establishment swamp creature.

      And from what I'm reading, his war record is, erm, spotty and dubious (besides the torture part of course). I don't know how accurate they are about his behaviour in the military.

      1. They called McCain 'Songbird', if that helps.

      2. My interpretation of McCain's military career is that it was a set of calculated career moves: his family had an expectation of children assuming high positions in the US military or US society. You can see that in his current family as well.

        McCain's refusal of early release was likely a cost/benefit calculation: he was obligated under the military code of conduct to refuse release and had he accepted, his family would have strongly disapproved and his career would have been over.

        The more I read about the McCain family history, the more I dislike the entire dynasty and their ambitions and motivations.

        1. +1 assessment

      3. Even if one were to accept every detail of his hagiography with respect to his Vietnam experience, McCain was still a repulsive character at every step of the way after his return.

        - Cheats on the faithful wife who waited almost six years while he was POW.
        - Marries a pretty, rich daughter of a mafia-connected, convicted felon, crony capitalist beer distributor.
        - Establishes connections with the sleaziest businesses in Phoenix.
        - Gets elected to House. Keating treats the McCains to free private jet travel, holiday stays at the Bahamas estate, sweetheart real estate deals for Cindy, etc., plus major fundraising and direct contributions for the campaigns.
        - Pressures FHLBB regulator to relent investigations of Keating's Lincoln S&L, which was engaged in major bank, real estate, and securities fraud.
        - Gets caught, and figures that the best way to save his hide is phony campaign finance reform that abolishes 1st Amendment when it relates to political speech.
        - Continues to rake in millions of dollars from defense contractors, and supports every opportunity to involve the US in war anywhere and everywhere except Haiti.
        - That's just for starters ... 25 years of the some sort of crap: the list is endless.
        - Caps off his illustrious career by casting the deciding vote to preserve ObamaCare.

    2. It's the gracious concession speech that did the deal for him. There's nothing like losing graciously for endearing a Republican to the scribbling classes.

  11. "...McCain, a far wiser statesman and a far better human being than this president, fully earned the praise being bestowed on him. But for the process that brought America to its current disgrace, McCain also earned a share of the blame."

    This beyond retarded even by Chapman's standards.

    I see no value in his articles from a libertarian/classical liberal perspective if he's going to write garbage like this.

    1. America's current disgrace? Compared to what other country? Head scratcher of the year at Reason.

  12. McCain WAS,...a media FABRICATED darling and he happily MILKED it, at his Constituents and NATIONS expense!

    1. The media does that with RINOs and attacks actual non-Lefties like Trump.

    2. From what I've read, his military record was mediocre at best until he was shot down and captured. Had that not happened I doubt anybody would have known his name.

  13. "He opposed George W. Bush's tax cuts partly because they would produce "growing deficits"?and, after they did exactly that, voted to extend them."

    They did no such thing. Look at federal revenues vs. federal spending after 2003. To paraphrase: "It's the spending, stupid."

    1. Yes, historically tax cuts have produced revenue increases; The debt goes up because spending is usually increased faster than the revenue, not because revenue declines.

  14. I'm amazed that there is nothing at all in a libertarian web article criticizing McCain for leading the vanguard to stifle the political speech of organized groups.

    1. Campaign speech censorship is a key goal of the left, and Reason has all but completely been assimilated by the left-wing Borg. They think twice before seriously criticizing anything as central to the left's goals as campaign censorship.

      1. I thought that Reason was generally supportive of the Court's holding in Citizens United.

        1. Reason thought it would help Democrats win.

          Since Trump won, Reason is against it. In fact, many at Reason are against anything that benefits Trump or Trump has done that benefits the USA.

        2. They don't seem to think McCain-Feingold and other attempts to stifle free expression driven by the Left are mortal, unforgivable political sins. Unlike, say, GOP attempts from decades ago to pass an amendment forbidding flag burning as a protest.

  15. Bleah. I know they say don't speak ill of the dead, but that doesn't mean you have to praise an asshole like McCain.

    He'd better have been gracious in losing to Obama; He abandoned campaigning halfway through the campaign, and then spent the rest of the campaign attacking his running mate to abort her future as a federal candidate. Even for McCain it would have been obnoxious to take a dive, and then complain about losing.

  16. >>>There is no denying McCain's sterling virtues: bravery, service to his country, bipartisan spirit, candor, indomitability, and more. His 2008 campaign yielded two moments that showed him at his best. The first was when he corrected a woman who told him Barack Obama is "an Arab." The second was his gracious concession speech on election night.

    Whoo boy.

  17. McCain campaigned on promising to repeal Obamacare only to become the deciding vote against repeal. He was a lying craven asshole. The only reason he was a war hero was because he was captured and was just an asshole even the North Vietnamese couldn't stand him and wanted to give him back. It was a brave service to the country but one that only occurred because the circumstances called for his otherwise lousy character.

    1. For three generations, the McCains seem to have used military service as a path to personal power and fortune. So it's not like McCain sacrificed a promising civilian career and future for his country, he did pretty much the only thing he knew how to do when he signed up. And when generation after generation achieves high positions in government offices (here, the military), statistically, some degree of nepotism is the only explanation, in particular since none of the McCain's seem to have done particularly well during training.

      1. Don't forget that McCain was absolutely last in his graduating class at Annapolis. Probably the only reason he didn't wash out was Admiral Daddy.

        1. No, he was a few spots from last. A minor correction that really isn't any help to him.

          894 out of 899.

    2. He was a terrible pilot, a corrupt politician, and an asshole.

      That should be his headstone.

      1. Every Naval Academy midshipmen who sees the grave and knows about McCain will probably thing something along those lines. I still cannot get a straight answer as to why McCain gets to be buried at the Naval Academy.

        Gen. David Petraeus was speaking at the funeral. Figures.

  18. It's almost funny how delusional the left is. Everything that went wrong in the Obama administration was Bush's fault. Now the Trump administration is the fault of a Republican who lost to Obama 9 years ago

    1. Except the economy, which is totally because of Obama.

  19. McCain was a guy who demanded 100% loyalty to himself and took great pleasure in not returning it.

    1. Yep. A pathologically narcissistic sociopath.

      I'm even more glad he's dead now than I was a few days ago!

  20. This is deeply embarrassing.

  21. Really this is all that needs saying beyond the observation that McCain was a giant opportunistic jackass.

    "He's not a war hero, he was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

    1. That was a kill-shot. I prefer pilots who don't crash regularly.

    2. If one thinks service is sufficient, then he is a hero.

      If one doesn't, then the case is much harder to make, and points in the other direction in my opinion.

    3. It's not at all unlikely that the reason he was captured was that he was a shit pilot. Crappy pilots do indeed exist.

      1. John McCain "hero"

        Poor High School student John McCain gets into Navel Academy with family pull
        Poor Annapolis student John McCain barely graduates from Navel Academy, family pull seems likely.
        Poor Annapolis student John McCain gets fighter jock seat with family pull
        Poor pilot John McCain manages to blow up much of the deck, equipment and planes on deck of a carrier and magically does not get grounded.
        Poor pilot John McCain is very quickly either shot down or crashes his plane over North Vietnam.
        Hero John McCain as a POW is referred to as "Songbird" by the other prisoners
        Hero John McCain returns to US and is put in charge of a training squadron in Florida
        John McCain gets set up with daughter of wealthy beer distribution magnant
        John McCain uses money and connections from his family and that of this wife to get elected.

        They just don't make heros like they used to!

        1. Mob-connected, convicted felon, wealthy beer distribution magnate. Cindy's dad was Jim Hensley.

          Somehow, Jim Hensley, recently released from federal prison and broke, borrowed $10,000 and bought a small Phoenix beer distributorship in 1954. Which is rather strange since he was convicted of felonies involving liquor distribution, but whatever. What's even stranger is how his small Phoenix beer distributorship shortly became the exclusive distributor of Anheuser-Busch brands. It may have had something to do with Hensley's previous "business arrangement" for taking the fall for Kemper Marley, who had previously been a bookie, then owned the liquor distributorship where the felonies had occurred, and would in the future be a suspect in the gangland slaying of a Phoenix journalist.

          Of course, a hero like John McCain would never allow himself to be influenced by organized crime.

          1. Didn't Adolph over at Anheuser-Busch circulate a letter that marijuana is the Assassin of Youth and must be banned by the very men with guns who shot and killed over 1200 people to enforce laws making light beer a felony?

    4. "I don't think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president."
      -- General Wesley Clark on McCain, June 2008

      The media didn't get pissy about Clark's reference to McCain's aviation skills, but the McCain campaign publicly demanded an apology from Obama.

  22. There is no denying McCain's sterling virtues: bravery, service to his country, bipartisan spirit, candor, indomitability, and more.

    Please tell me this is sarcasm.

  23. Ha, I didn't expect this narrative, which is making the rounds, to make its way into Reason.

  24. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

    1. Funny thing is, they were both right.

  25. dude stole from people's grandmas and skated.

    1. I dont think Reason mentioned Keating 5 at all.

      You did first IIRC.

      1. hopeful it detracts from the glory bestowed upon him this week

        1. Did you see Gen. David Petraeus speak at the funeral?

          These Washington slimes stick together.

          1. funeral on in the lobby. told receptionist Diane's c-word story ^^^ and how Mc stole from grandmas. funeral turned off

      2. And McCain was so ashamed of his part in that scandal that he decided to attack everyone's rights to political speech to atone for it.

  26. History has a way of setting these things right, and McCain isn't liked well enough for historians to bury his missteps forever.

    1. And the media slurping will stop the day after he's laid to rest. Oh, and where are the prominent Democrats who are willing to "cross the aisle" like the much-praised McCain? Guess that's only a trait to be sought after in GOP pols.

  27. Holy crap Steve Chapman in the village called "Reason" is the village idiot! And that takes some doing because he has a lot of competition.

    Lets see John McCain and Trump had a personal feud that got nasty.McCain arguably treated Obama with kid gloves. McCain let the personal feud between him and Trump affect his policy decisions such as prancing around for two years saying repeal Obamacare but hen not doing to "stick it to" Trump. How honorable.

    Also, how honorable to not resign and just not do your job for basically the last year seemingly to just stick it to Trump. Throwing Sarah Palin under the bus, classy John. (she never retaliated, now that is class)

    More class, writing basically a petty note to instruct his family to continue sticking it to Trump after he is dead.

    McCain did not give us Trump. McCain has a long history of being his own kind of special ass. A war hero and an asshole. They are not mutually exclusive.

    1. A war hero and an asshole. They are not mutually exclusive.

      General Patton being one of the best examples. He was such an asshole some people still believe he was murdered.

      1. Patton is a much better example of a war hero and an asshole than McCain is, having been, you know, actually successful at that whole war fighting thing, rather than an abject failure.

      2. Patton was the kind of asshole that people liked. McCain was not.

        Patton was so good at his job that German generals considered him the only good American general and put more forces to counter him necause they considered him a serious military threat.

        Patton's military reputation alone kept a Germany army group and tank reserves away from normandy for over 24 hours. The germans could not believe that patton would not be involved in the Allied invasion of Europe.

        Patton's forces reached the farthest east on europe, reaching czechoslovakia in 1945.

        1. One might even say that a good general has to be an asshole to some degree. It's war, not an encounter group. Eisenhower had the great good fortune to have Patton to use when he needed an asshole to drive the allied forces and to blame when he needed to look like the compassionate good guy.

    2. Well, no, I think he did give us Trump, in a sense.

      Trump only had an opening because Republican voters are hugely dissatisfied with the Republican establishment. Celebrating someone like McCain, arranging for him to even get the party's nomination, was an aspect of that.

      For years, the GOP establishment arranged, time after time, for Ron Paul to face a well funded primary challenger, and then didn't help him in the general election. He had to get reelected over their best efforts to replace him with a Democrat if a reliable Republican couldn't win the primary.

      Why didn't McCain get that treatment? Same sort of reasons that led to Trump getting the nomination.

      1. @Brett: "Well, no, I think he did give us Trump, in a sense."

        I agree. McCain's nomination was where the Republican establishment revealed that they were so far from core Republican values that they just loved a man who never earned a dollar outside of government work, hardly ever met a government program he didn't like, and wanted to censor political speech. Never mind that he was a terrible candidate, especially against a younger, less white, and more "hip" candidate, and not even Palin could make the Republican base enthusiastic about him. For anyone that didn't get the message, they followed that up with another RINO, Mitt Romney - apparently specially selected to ensure that Obama's most unpopular program, Obamacare, would not become a campaign issue.

        So 8 years after McCain and 4 years after Romney, Republican primary voters picked the man who scared the establishment the most...

  28. I don't see Reason in this diatribe. Some in the comments, though.

  29. McCain and plenty of others had every reason to question Obama's patriotism. Obama sat in Jeremiah Wright's church for years listening to Wright curse the United States. Michelle Obama said that Barack Obama's election was the first time - the very first - she had ever felt any pride in the United States. You know damned good and well Barack Obama felt the same way. Shelby Steele wrote in 2010 of Obama's view that America is a "fallen" nation that needed to be "redeemed", and in 2011 that Obama saw America in decline being a good thing.


    Obama's patriotism was and is very much in question.

    1. The Revolution can not come if people are happy with America.

      Socialists always want turmoil so they sweep into power and take over before people know what hit them.

    2. Also, Obama was good friends with Bill Ayers, who was literally an anti-American domestic terrorist.

    3. Of course it is. But you must remember: Obama was our first Black President and he took selfies in the Oval Office, making him the coolest President evah. 'Nuff said?

    4. Obama started in 2009 with decline being a good thing. How do we know? Because BLS reconfigured GDP to include a brand new basket of things [patent research, etc] to fluff up the numbers within about of month of him in office. He embarked on a zero growth agenda from the word go, and put up a smokescreen because he knew it couldn't be sold as an open policy objective.

  30. More absurd blather from Chapman. Couldn't get through three paragraphs.

    1. I got the headline and the by-line and started on the comments.

  31. "There is no denying McCain's sterling virtues: ... bipartisan ... his gracious concession speech on election night."

    Figures on the right are always praised for sucking the dick of the enemy. We need more fighters against bolshevism, not collaborators.

    1. "bipartisan" just means agreeing with liberals and selling out the Constitution.

    2. Notice how Dems are never praised for being bi-partisan?

  32. John McCain did one honorable thing, once, and built an entire political career on it, alternating between sanctimonious bipartisanship and outright dishonesty. He was an arrogant, ignorant, little man who went to his grave stabbing his friends in the back and sucking up to his enemies. I won't miss him.

  33. Concession speech? That's so 20th century. Democrats haven't made a genuine concession speech since the beginning of this century; I don't know why Republicans continue that antiquated practice.

  34. McCain campaign for president might have been fine back in 1979, but against Obama, face it, he came across as a chump.

    He gave Obama every possible pass, and at times, I wondered if he wasn't really part of the ELECT OBAMA campaign himself.

    I held my nose and voted for him, to NO effect. It was this election cycle that I started to detest the Republican party for choosing such a feckless nominee. 2012 confirmed my observation with the nomination of Mitt Romney.

    Just for the record, Trump was not my candidate in the run up. That was Cruz. But Trump has exceeded my wildest expectations for giving as good as he receives. The man is not a chump and stands up for the American people. Pugilistic? Yeah, but I was tired of wimp candidates with McCain.

    Kinda like Obama's comment, "They bring a knife we'll bring a gun."

    Fine Trump brings a Dillon M-134 Mini gun, two Bradleys, 5 M1 Abrams, a company of Marines, and a squad of A-10's

    "just in case." I like that.

  35. Your article didn't mention destruction of the FORESTALL.. But!! That was another time and place.. And for those that want to chastise me for the "DISTAIN" for the dead,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I lost 2 shipmates that day.......

  36. McCain's legacy was ruined by a poorly-manned missle defense system.

  37. "[McCain's campaign] helped turn the Republican Party into a vehicle that could be commandeered by Donald Trump".

    Sure, he made something of a contribution, but it all began with Nixon's Southern Strategy, followed by the Republican Party's decades of cultivating the basket of deplorables - religious nuts, racists, and xenophobes. With the help of Fox News, and later other, even more radical right-wing media, the deal was sealed. The Republicans seemed surprised when, after blowing the dog whistle for decades, the dogs not only came running, but penetrated their ranks. All of these bumpkins, who they thought they could merely pay lip-service to as they pushed through their Party of the Rich agenda, took them seriously, and then they took over the party. The lunatic fringe has become mainstream on the Right. Who else but Donald Trump, who tossed out their dog-whistle and picked up a megaphone, could be their leader?

    Don't blame McCain, the whole party has been heading in this direction for a long time.

    1. Weird. I never hear any whistles, dog or otherwise.
      Have you considered that you might just have tinnitus?
      Yet I didn't realize that something like tinnitus is contagious. Is it?
      You know what is contagious: psychosis.
      Maybe get that checked out.

  38. Hmm. Is 'Reason" really libertarian, or just left-leaning and anti-Trump? Sad. Loss of much credibility.

    1. Note to foreign readers: this infiltrator cannot imagine being anywhere but on a unidimnesional line somewhere between Hitler and Stalin.

  39. While I voted for McCain in 2008, I held my nose and choked back a bit of vomit doing so. McCain-Feingold Act was a frontal atrack on First Amendment rights and corrupt "protect the incumbents" bit of "bi-partisanship." When politicians on both sides of the aisle come to agreement on campaign finance "reform", you can bet that it's the foxes agreeing on who gets to raid the henhouse. McCain was just as sordid and corrupt as any other politician.

    And yes, McCain's 2008 campaign did make way for Trump's equally disgusting campaign. But, much as I dislike Trump, the effective monopoly of the left on mainstream media outlets left Trump little choice but the political equivalent of guerilla warfare. Outlets like the NYT, WaPo, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, etc., which spent 2008-16 fawning over Obama, then doubled down by fawning over Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Campaign, acting as if she wasn't pathologically dishonest, irredeemably corrupt, thoroughly incompetent, would never honestly report on any GOP candidate, nor would they ever honestly report on the scandals of their presumptive President, Hillary. Only by going around them and ridiculing their open bias was Trump able to win. We can hate the tactics of Trump, but don't blame Trump for playing the only winning game left open to him by a Fourth Estate that has become the propaganda ministry for the loony left.

    1. Note to foreign readers: the above is injected here by a gutless Republican soft machine voter.

      1. Note to foreign readers: Hank thinks the entirety of liberty consists in the right to force others to accommodate and aid abortion.

        And I, for one, agree with Trump that corporate "news" media is indeed our enemy.

  40. Why does Reason carry this Dem hack?

    1. My thoughts exactly!

    2. Have you seen some of their other writers?
      Still, Chapman is one I can't get anything of value out of due to how blatantly partisan he is for the dems.

  41. " demonization of Obama" What a joke! Nobody demonized opponents like Obama! Just ask Blair Hull his opponent in the Illinois Democratic primary for Senate or his republican opponent Jack Ryan. His demonization of McCain as Bush's third term was no less.

  42. So Johnny the Human Torch was precursor to Trump... by losing? By literally sticking to God's Own Prohibitionists' demand for an Amendment to force them bitches into involuntary labor or bleeding out from coathanger abortions?

  43. Look at that. UnReason is a platform for Democrat journalists to use to slander McCain and Trump. Mr Chapman you're analysis is bull shit. I thought I clicked here to read how Trump used McCain's strategy to bring independents and Democrats into the the Republican Party to win the nomination. Instead it's just another left wing hate rant. Keep it up UnReason, you're slowly rendering this publication unserious and irrelevant.

  44. Nothing beats 20/20 hindsight .

  45. Argh. Went to Slate again, accidentally.

  46. I'm getting pretty sick of Reason's never-ending drumbeat of "Trump Is Literally The Worst Ever." Yeah, the guy isn't perfect, he does some dumb stuff and has some bad policies, but he's been doing some good things too and he hasn't turned out to be anywhere near as bad as many of us thought he would be.

  47. I assume that this terrible article was just written as click-bait. I couldn't do it justice without putting the whole thing in this comment and rebutting it line by line - "fisking" it.

    But a few things stand out...

    The Trump hatred is just plain pathetic, and in fact it was one of the things where McCain let those of us in Arizona down, and let his party down, badly. McCain voted to keep Obamacare just because Trump was trying to abolish it. You'd think an article in a Libertarian rag would at least recognize that.

    McCain was right about Obama, pretty much every time. Obama's reflexive anti-Americanism was horrible. We got Trump because McCain wasn't harsh enough!

    McCain was a war hero and served his country honorably in the military, and as a backer of a strong and effective national defense. In his later years, he was a lousy Republican, and a spiteful, bitter man. Consider the he specifically excluded both Trump and Palin from his funeral - the former ignored by the MSM because it gets in the way of their anti-Trump message. McCain did that out of juvenile spite.

    I started voting against him in the primaries when this side of him came out.

  48. McCain was not a hero. He followed military protocol, first captured, first released. That does not make you a hero. He killed the repeal of Obamacare. He never meet a war or invasion he didn't like. He was for open borders. Thank god him and that idiot Palin didn't win. Trump is doing great!!!

    1. McCain undermined "skinny repeal" which resulted in Republicans getting an extra $300 billion in tax cuts by including the individual mandate in the tax bill...I doubt that was McCain's intention but that was the result.

  49. I agree Sarah Palin and the Tea Party were factors in Trump becoming president but I would argue the two biggest developments in 2008 that impacted 2016 were social media and the superdelegates stealing the nomination from Hillary. So Obama was able to rack up delegates in unDemocratic caucuses thanks to college kids organizing on Facebook whereas in 2004 Dean supporters had much more rudimentary forms of social media with much smaller footprints.

    The role of superdelegates in the 2008 election is much less known than Facebook thanks to fake news reported by the liberal media. Hillary received a record number of votes and they came from future Trump counties and the Democrat establishment labeled these voters as racists that should be ignored. Hillary's campaign manager, Mark Penn, was even exiled for crafting a campaign to appeal to these undesirables and lately he has been getting his revenge writing columns in The Hill in support of Trump.

  50. WOW. Shilling for JOHN MCCAIN. I have to admit I never thought I would see Reason stoop so low.

    He is easily one of the worst prominent politicians in American history. He has basically no redeeming qualities. He was soft fiscally, horrible on foreign policy, horrible on domestic policy, etc. Even a lot of Dems you can say genuinely think they're doing the right thing with their bad ideas... I don't think I can say the same about McCain. He was as awful as George W. Bush across the board... Just nothing good to say at all.

  51. "McCain put the country at risk of Sarah Palin, who lacked not only experience but basic knowledge of issues." -- If Palin's nomination put the country at risk, then Obama's election put the country in outright jeopardy... since it didn't, and since "experience" is obviously in the eye of the beholder (what "experience" does Trump have?), this is just it's own demagoguery. If a businessman with several dozen bankruptcies under his belt can manage, so can a mom/mayor/governor. No matter what you think of Palin, she's the only reason McCain got any votes to the right of his personal center... which was pretty far left at the time.

  52. This writer Chapman is insane or ignorant. McCain's virtues are bravery, service to his country, and bipartisan spirit, to cite three in the story? Baloney. McCain spent his time at the Naval Academy accumulating more corrections than any other cadet (but not demerits because of his father and grandfather's rank), was constantly in trouble, graduated fourth from last in his class, was an incompetent pilot who crashed four planes, and was a snitch in the POW camp. Some hero! He enjoyed favored treatment throughout his military career. He was, in fact, a poseur. His bipartisan spirit? Correct that to voting with America's Marxists, the Democrats. Arizona and America are better off with him gone.

  53. "McCain was wrong on many issues. He opposed allowing gays to serve openly in the military."

    Seriously... the first thing they could come up with is gays in the military. Advocating military action against several middle east nations that posed no threat to people in the US isn't at the top of political sins?

    (From a peace-loving homosexual)

  54. The reason Libertarians are a joke instead of an alternative to the republocrats who rule the county is exemplified with this article. McCain was the usual megalomaniac, garden-variety politician. When he was first elected to Congress the national debt was a bit over one trillion dollars. It is over 21 trillion now after him voting for every dollar of it. It is true legacy.

  55. Another progressive giving the safely dead John McCain a tongue bath while polishing his anti-Trump bona fides.

    Chapman, you're a statist asshole.

  56. "There is no denying McCain's sterling virtues: bravery, service to his country, bipartisan spirit, candor, indomitability, and more."....................How can one construe McCain's dropping of bombs on innocent civilians in Vietnam as being a brave act or a service to our country?

  57. "a maverick" = selling out your own party.
    "reaching across the isle" = giving the Democrats exactly what they want.

    One of the reasons he lost to Obama was he was more interested in be liked then actually confronting this ass clown on his socialist bullshit. If there is ever a textbook definition RINO McCain's name will be at the top of the list. This guy should have spent the last ten years of his life at the dog track!

  58. This might be a reasonable summation of the senator from hells service in an all too brief article, but McCain wasn't into laying pavers for someone else to walk on regardless of party: he was all about himself, and the proof lies in holding onto a senate seat with a terminal and debilitating condition that prevented his service [by voice or by vote]. So why did Arizona suffer half their representation in the senate being MIA for almost a year? So he could make the nation bend the knee with state honors. It was always about him after military service ended: first, second and last. So a young hero with great promise ended as a bitter old man, having to force "respect" at the end after poisoning more than one important national discourse. That's pretty small and pitiful, and adds to the case that senators should never serve more than two terms.

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