By Brian Cole
While Senator John McCain’s refusal to vote with his party’s last resort to repeal Obamacare (28 July 2017) shocked and angered many of his colleagues and constituents, his maneuver was far from the first time he had abandoned what was supposedly his principles. McCain has repeatedly let conservatives down when they needed his support the most. This article recollects his past actions that have led many to label him as a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only).
In January 2013, four Republicans and four Democrats convened to form the “Gang of Eight,” whose goal was to vastly reform immigration policies across the United States. John McCain was among the four Republicans chosen to serve on the committee, chaired by Marco Rubio (FL), as was McCain’s close confident Lindsey Graham.
Admittedly, bill aimed to secure the southwest border of the United States and decrease undocumented participation in the work force. However, the core goal set forth in the bill – allowing immigrants already in the U.S. prior to 31 December 2011 to work toward citizenship (over an extended period, and likely at a large cost to the taxpayers for enforcement) – amounted to what many conservatives align with amnesty.
While the Senate claimed its immigration reforms had “broad bipartisan support,” only ten other Republicans not serving on the committee would join the Democrats in approving the legislation, 68-32. In the House of Representatives, John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, refused to bring the bill up for a vote.
In January 2014, an overwhelming majority of Maricopa County, AZ Republicans (Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale Metropolitan Area), 1,150 to 351, voted to censure John McCain for his actions while serving as an Arizona Senator State. The reasons for his censure included a “long and terrible record of drafting, co-sponsoring and voting for legislation best associated with liberal Democrats, such as Amnesty [for undocumented immigrants], funding Obamacare, [raising] the debt ceiling, [supporting] liberal nominees, and assaults on the Constitution and Second Amendment.”
The censure furthermore portrays how John McCain repeatedly campaigns as a Conservative to win the GOP Primaries, only to abandon his commitments upon reelection. The group also asserted McCain remained “eerily silent against liberals,” and, in return, “publicly reprimands Conservatives in his own [Republican] Party.” Following the vote, the Republican leadership in Arizona announced that it could no longer “support, campaign for, or endorse John McCain as our U.S. Senator.”
Following John McCain’s defeat in the 2008 Presidential Election, South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint was the first in his party to pin much of McCain’s poor performance at the polls on the man himself – John McCain. DeMint provided a long list, nearly nine years before the pivotal Obamacare vote, of McCain’s questionable “Conservative” credentials.
DeMint referenced McCain’s support of campaign finance reform that “put George Soros in the driver’s seat” by weakening GOP organizations working to return the party to its more Conservative roots. DeMint further mentioned McCain’s support of amnesty years prior to 2013’s “Gang of Eight” Immigration Legislation committee. McCain had spoken in favor of “cap-and-trade” programs to curb “Global Warming,” which risked American jobs. McCain also opposed Arctic oil drilling, at a time gas prices approached $4/gallon. However, DeMint’s insisted McCain’s reversal on the legislation, choosing to bail out the big banks “was probably the nail in our coffin this last election.”
While many of the articles discuss McCain’s betrayal of his own party as one that will timelessness taint his legacy for future generations, some authors have come to some conclusions behind his actions on 28 July 2017. However, even those acknowledge the ultimate hypocrisy of the man who had campaigned upon “leading the fight to stop Obamacare” in the 2016 AZ GOP Primary. John Fund, national affairs columnist for National Review, contends “McCain’s votes represents a complete reversal of the position he won his Senate [Primary] election with,” and then with just 51 percent of Republican voter support.
Some argue that McCain’s disdain for Trump is the Senator’s reason for voting against his party. McCain also may have seen this as his last opportunity to garner publicity before concluding his decades-long Senate career, even though history could now remember him for infamous reasons rather than the decisions he got right. Perhaps, and rather fittingly, McCain’s main nemesis in the U.S. Senate, Senator Rand Paul (KY) announced Monday that Trump will consider executive actions which would allow organizations to work together and lower health care costs for Americans.
While the anti-McCain rancor has probably united Republicans with Trump more than ever before, critics claim McCain was always part of the “more progressive wing” of the GOP. Now, those who repeatedly “primaried” McCain for his RINO actions and stances have the last laugh, as he has shown his true friends in DC were on the left, not the right.
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