One of the bits of latest political news is that Cindy McCain, wife of late Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, will be endorsing Joe Biden for president.
Here in Annapolis, where I live, opinion is divided on McCain. But it has nothing to do with politics. It’s all Navy. Some thought he was a hot shot hell raiser with daddy issues. Others thought he was a hot shot hell raiser with daddy issues until he was captured in Vietnam, whereupon he acquitted himself as a hero. Either way, that guy would not have cut and run from this fight. Thus his family does a disservice to his memory and whatever legacy he has by this cheap move.
Look at the vast majority of McCain’s time in the Senate. There he voted almost a straight conservative line. Only when Trump was elected did he bolt the reservation. It would be better for his legacy to say it was over an issue of grand importance. It wasn’t. It was over a couple of insults. That’s all.
McCain actually voted to retain Obamacare and went about trashing the leader of his party and nation at every turn because he couldn’t get over some tough campaign rhetoric. Hence was the McCain vendetta born, that still lasts today with Cindy McCain’s announcement.
This certainly isn’t the first personal vendetta in American political history. Andrew Jackson made a fetish of them. Woodrow Wilson hated Teddy Roosevelt so much he reportedly laughed when told the former president’s son was killed in WWI. The Kennedys, perhaps the most corrupt and vicious family ever to gain prominence in American politics (only akin to the Borgias for personal and professional depravity), chased down their opponents to the ends of the Earth and then stomped on them hard after they had already beaten them. Robert Kennedy, until his mid-60s makeover as a saint, was known as a vengeful maniac who would let nothing pass his gaze without seeking an opportunity to put the boot in.
Though the real champion in this department is the press. From Jefferson versus Adams, Jackson versus Adams, Lincoln versus his own cabinet, Cleveland and all the way to Nixon and Trump, if the media consensus is against a politician there is no lie too low, no fact too true not to be buried, no rumor too ridiculous to spread to nail the target of their ire.
I would like to think there are those in American politics who can rise above these childish endeavors. And there were. Lincoln, McKinley, Harding, Coolidge, Truman, Ford, and Reagan were all known as decent men who kept politics in perspective and understood when to calm down and put the country first. But apparently John McCain and his family will never make that list. Pity. Because right now America could use some examples of adult behavior.