Senator John McCain from Arizona is an increasingly polarizing figure on the American right these days. A decorated war hero, McCain served his country as a fighter pilot and spent five and a half years in captivity at the hands of the North Vietnamese. McCain has often been one of the most popular GOP senators. He won the GOP nomination in 2008, losing to then Senator Barrack Obama. But these days, McCain has found himself at odds with President Trump and, in turn, his long time supporters.
President Trump’s feud with McCain dates back to the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary. McCain accused Trump of “firing up the crazies” in regards to his July, 2015 rally in Phoenix. Trump then fired back a few days later with his infamous “he’s a war hero because he was captured” remark about Senator McCain’s time as a POW. President Trump drew widespread criticism for the remark, but it was clear that the two men had been solidified as enemies.
Since then, relations between the two have only continued to deteriorate. McCain withdrew his support for candidate Trump after the Access Hollywood tape dropped in October and they never really got on the same page after Trump’s eventual election victory. McCain criticized Trump for his friendlier tone towards Russia because, as we all know, McCain loves nothing more than a good war.
It all culminated in McCain’s decision to vote against “skinny” repeal and replace of Obamacare. McCain lackey “Slick” Lindsey Graham tore into the bill on the floor but then voted “yes” so he could put his name on a campaign ad saying he did. We see you Slick Lindsey, and this is why we call you “Slick Lindsey”. Anyways, McCain let his personal feud with Trump get in the way of his promise to the American people. Skinny repeal was a weak bill that nobody truly liked. We can thank Republican incompetence for this. Still, McCain did the opposite of what he talked about for years with his “no” vote. For this reason, many of McCain’s supporters are turning away from him.
McCain was praised by swamp monster Chuck Schumer following the failure of the bill and recently continued his push towards the left with an op-ed in The Washington Post where he again hammered president Trump. The late career trajectory that McCain is currently on draws striking similarities to that of the late Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania.
Like McCain, Specter served his country as a pilot in the Korean War. He would go on to serve the majority of his political career as a Republican Senator. While he had an “R” next to his name, Specter was always sort of a Democrat at heart. After all, he only became a Republican because top Democrats did not want him as their candidate when he ran for Philadelphia DA in 1965, a race he would eventually win.
Specter was oftentimes critical of the Bush Administration’s handling of the Patriot Act, The Iraq War, and various social issues, but kept ranks with Republicans on other things and stayed in the party. But in 2009, Specter officially broke ranks and switched over to the Democratic Party amidst the Obamacare battle, giving them a supermajority at the time. Specter stated that the GOP had “moved too far right” and that the Democratic party had become “more in line with his views”.
Specter’s career as a Democratic Senator didn’t last long, however. He went on to be defeated by Joe Sestak in the 2010 primary thus ending his political career a couple years before unfortunately losing his battle with cancer.
The similarities between the two are abundant. Both agitated their long time supporters towards the end of their careers while battling a terrible illness. While we of course wish Senator McCain all the best and pray he recovers, politically we still need to hold him accountable for his actions while he is still in the Senate. By attempting to please everybody, McCain and Specter both ended up pleasing nobody. Time will tell what will become of McCain’s career or whether he will step down amidst his fight with brain cancer. But if recent history is any indicator, McCain’s late career change of heart will not go down well with his base and could potentially alter his legacy in the eyes of those who have supported him the entire time.