Donald Trump has engaged in so many outrageous statements and conduct that it has become very difficult to remember which of those were really the most outrageous, the most morally contemptible, the ones that should have led his supporters to have abandoned but they did not, the ones that merited above all others the most Extreme Contempt.
The events of the last 24 hours have clarified for me what was the moment in 2016 when Trump crossed the line, when he committed an act of Extreme Contempt that should have lad to every Republican worth anything above a sewer of morally contemptible and disgusting garbage to have rejected this worst of all people to have occupied the White House. That moment was when he dissed John McCain as a loser for having been captured by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. I think the only way fervent Trump supporters can justify their existence on this planet after that particular outburst is to simply ignore it and forget about it, which is what I am sure the vast majority of them have done, But the events of the last 24 hours have brought this matter back into focus, and while I really do not know, I think that it is quite likely that when we get to the bottom line, and we are indeed now at a very serious bottom line, Donald Trump’s ultimate desecration of any moral consciousness when he dissed McCain for becoming a deeply tortured POW has come back to haunt him and defeat his pathetic and incoherent effort to overturn the Obama health care legacy.
Let me be clear that I have many disagreements with McCain, and many things he has done personally. But the man’s days are now shorter than most of ours. Yeah, maybe it will all go away and he will still be a Senator a decade from now. But more likely he will follow the late Ted Kennedy, who apparently had the same sort of “aggressive” brain cancer he has, and, well…
So, let me confess that I know John McCain. About a decade ago I sat next to him on a long airplane flight and we discussed climate change. He had a reasonable view in my mind, and indeed when he ran against Obama, his position was only marginally less progressive/reasonable than Obama’s. I actually gave him my card offering to give advice, although I never heard from him later. Of course he has gone silent on this issue more recently as his party has gone off the deep end on denying the very existence of global warming, on the list of many others where, well, tsk tsk.
So, let us get to the really serious. McCain has been going back and forth on the heath care issue, a man about to die and having surgery on taxpayers money, a man who is by far the most serious Republican senator there is currently by several orders of magnitude, and not just because he is a former presidential candidate of the Republican Party in 2008. No, he is serious beyond all of them for his experience, much bragged about by his party in 2008, as a POW in Vietnam, where he experienced Extreme Torture, leading him to stand unequivocally and without a shred of doubt that torture is completely unacceptable, morally and practically. I applaud his declaring and maintaining this position throughout the Bush admin when torture got approved during the Iraq War. On this matter he has absolute and unassailable credibility beyond all critics, and I applaud him for this. I shall add that this is a matter that is personal. My wife was tortured by the former Soviet government, and I have also been tortured in a distant land I shall not name and of which I shall not speak. Unsurprisingly, my wife and I have deep personal support for McCain’s unequivocal position on this matter to totally oppose torture in all circumstances everywhere period.
As regards the Extreme(ly) Beneath Contempt Trump, he got out of going to Vietnam by claiming a phony ailment, something he had on his foot, or was it on his knee? Some sort of obtrusion or extrusion, that nobody in the known universe ever heard a word of ever after (or before). So, when Donald Trump had the unmitigated and astounding and immoral nerve and gall to criticize McCain for being shot down out of the air over Vietnam to be profoundly tortured far beyond anything either my wife or me remotely experienced, well, this was so far beyond the pale that when Trump’s remarks were first reported, I thought “this it is.” But it was not. His supporters just kept on supporting Soh we live with the consequences of this profound moral degradation of America.
And to conclude this post, I think that for all his wobbling and vacillations, when it got down to it, and John McCain looked at the bottom line of the “skinny repeal” proposal, well, he may have been looking at the facts on the ground, but, personally, I think it got down to Trump finally getting his punishment for his utterly morally unacceptable Extreme Contempt when he fundamentally and hypocritically mocked John McCain for being shot out of the sky and profoundly tortured.
Barkely, You and your wife have my sympathy for what you have endured as does McCain. I find his actions in stopping the GOP efforts to end the ACA somewhat less heroic than Collins and Murkaski and he plainly bailed out half a dozen of his colleagues who did not want the bill to pass but were afraid to vote against it because of their personal interests instead of the country’s interests. McCain at 80 should have had no problem putting country over personal interests, but I am sure the cancer diagnoses really brought it home to him. Against the stark reality of his career soon ending, I suspect McCain would also like to be remembered as more than a failed presidential candidate and a partisan warrior during the most dysfunctional period of national government in his lifetime. And so there is no mistake I hold Democrats equally accountable even if it was Gingerich who brought principles of total war to party politics, principles which McConnell and now Trump have elevated to an art form. I expect to see at least a dozen Democratic Senators reaching out to Collins and Murkaski as well as Heller and Portman and the GOP Senator from West Virginia to come up with some plan to improve the ACA including renaming it if need be and calling the bill a “repeal” which will actually do the country and its citizens some good even if it means that endangered Republicans win re-election and I expect the same willingness of Pelosi to get her troops to support a decent bill in the House even if it hurts the Democrats chances of retaking the House. The parties came together on sanctions for Russia, North Korea and Iran–Trumps greatest achievement so far–and they should be able to come together on health care.
Trump is an abomination as a President, but he’s no different than thousands and millions of others. The extreme contempt shouldn’t be directed at Trump any more or less than at the voters of the nation who voted for him.
Trump was raised as an elitist racist silver spoon punk bully. What excuse do the voters have who voted for him have? Why is his approval still in the high 30% low 40% ratings? People keep directing their disdain toward Trump but he’s not the problem here as best I can tell… he’s just one of the visible parts of the problem… just the visible symptom of the problem(s).
For that matter I would put the present GOP congress at the top of the extreme contempt list more-so by far than Trump.
I will not challenge your contempt for Trump. Every day is a new “how low can one go” in existing on this planet for Trump. It is mind boggling what spills forth from his mouth. The brain does not engage the mouth and consider what is being said with regard to constituents.
As you know, some of us were around in the sixties. My cousin flew F4s as a Major. My other cousin was a Master Sergeant in the USMC. And this coffee house nineteen year enlisted and rose to the rank of Sergeant over time. There was an intelligent “private joker” in real life. My one cousin went in the Army for whatever reason. We were “no senator’s sons,” nor were we fathered by an Admiral, all serve in WWII, few of our fathers made it through high school, and some like my father never made it out of grade school having to go to work. Most of us came from laboring fathers who laid bricks, tuckpointed, or were steel workers around Buffalo, NY.
As the story goes, McCain broke orders, dropped below deck, and was shot down. There are also conflicting stories about his stay at Hỏa Lò Prison. The story varies depending on who you talk to; but, that was then and today is today. It is too “f*cking” long ago to argue about over a well brewed beer. People live their lives and we all make mistakes. Atoning for them . . .
Susan Collins voted 60% of the time along party lines and McCain voted 87% of the time along party lines. Yes, he voted with Dems for once when it counted to block the “skinny bill,” which would have sent Healthcare to conference in the House if the House rejected the “skinny bill.” It should have never gotten that far or close to passage. Some say he saved other Senators from having to vote no and being threatened by a mealy-mouthed, hard-a** when tweeting, cowardly Trump.
There is a time when people need to stand up and be counted and those Senators failed. And you are correct, McCain voted “no” to get even with Trump and what the man who lied to avoid going into the service 7 times said. I hope their are more failures for Trump and Ihope McCain maintains his “No” votes going forward. Repubs are up to no good.
Susan Collins is the real maverick.
I agree that those strongly and eagerly supporting Trump deserve contempt, and indeed it was after those people failed to budge when Trump came out with what struck me as his incredible slam on McCain last year that I really decided that his super supporters were indeed contemptible, if not beneath extreme contempt. I
I have heard a lot of tales about McCain, and some of his heroism may be exaggerated, and he certainly has done some personal things over the years I disapprove of, although I am not going to get into listing such things at this point.
As it is, I also agree the Collins and Murkowski also, who apparently was subjected to some very serious pressure, were ultimately more important than McCain. Without them, him opposing it would not have amounted to anything.
As a vet of the same era, I would be hard pressed to condemn him on his service. So many of us did things we would have not done normally. There are so many of our generation left the country or did what they felt they should do. I find it hard to pick them apart too. It was strange times in the late sixties.
Even though it helped, I strongly believe the filibuster and the supermajority vote should be eliminated. I also believe the House needs to be brought up to date on the numbers of Reps based upon population and the size of districts. Each change would bring both legislatures back to what the framers intended them to be . . . representation by state and majority rule in the Senate and representation by population in smaller populated districts in the House. No one says the resulting numbers have to meet in D.C.
I was hoping you would not take offense to what I said about McCain. Like other Senators, he has flaws. Like Edward, John was there when we needed him.
I have no criticism of McCain’s conduct as a POW, despite some claims that have been made. I shall keep that to later conduct in other matters and his frequent politically convenient flip flops on various issues. I already noted these matters in general, but remain respectful of his steadiness on the issue of torture, and I applaud this most recent vote, despite his various navigations on the health care issue.