Carroll County Times

Culleton: The life and service of Sen. John McCain

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In the biblical book of Ecclesiastes there is an oft-quoted passage that begins "Let us now praise famous men… .”

Upon his death, the life and service of national hero Sen. John McCain was indeed fully praised beginning on Wednesday in his home state of Arizona continuing in our nation's capitol on Friday and Saturday, and concluding with a private burial service on Sunday at the Naval Academy. He was not a perfect man. As one cleric noted on Saturday, he was not being presented for sainthood. His temper often flared. He suffered defeats in his political career. But no one ever questioned his patriotism.


He made mistakes. His choice of Sarah Palin for a running mate for his run for president in 2008 probably helped elect Barack Obama. Earlier in the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush won the Republican nomination over McCain. At the nationally televised service on Saturday in the National Cathedral, both presidents offered high praise of of McCain, as did President Bill Clinton.

McCain and President Trump had little use for each other. Trump was heavily criticized earlier last week for a number of decisions and remarks surrounding McCain's death, most notably the raising of the flag to full staff after just two days the White House flags that had been lowered to half staff in honor of McCain's passing. The national outrage at this insult forced Trump to lower the flags again. During this series of events Trump managed to look petty to his critics and weak to his supporters.


Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner attended Sen. McCain's funeral service in Washington. President Trump was not invited nor mentioned at any point. However many words of praise made Trump look inferior in comparison. Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Arizona Republican, alluded to a Trump slogan during her tearful eulogy of her father: "The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great," she said at the memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington.

Other words of praise of the deceased senator could be compared to the character of the president with the president coming in last. The fame of John McCain is not restricted to this nation. In Vietnam, where he was imprisioned and tortured, a monument has been erected in his honor.

The mid-term elections will probably result in a significant win for the Democrats and their Independent allies in the House of Representatives. President Trump's historically low approval ratings will help this "blue wave" as will the favorable ratings of the Mueller inquiry. In the primaries, the extreme candidates won over more middle of the road candidates. A plurality of voters favor the impeachment of the present president. But such a move will probably not win the three-quarters vote required in the Senate for removal from office. We may face a steady stream of presidential vetoes and some overrides of some of these vetoes in the Congress. If the economy collapses then all bets are off. If the Democrats win the Senate majority (unlikely) big changes can be expected. Watch the votes for Senate seats and Governors. These will show or not show meaningful shifts in national policy.