Is it petty to remember all the times those who praise McCain today derided him as “Crazy Grandpa Warmonger”?
A lot of us remember 2008; it wasn’t that long ago. Would it kill those political figures and those who covered McCain over the decades to contemplate if they were fair to the man, particularly in the 2008 presidential cycle? Because maybe no national figure in the modern era flipped so quickly from the hero to the villain column in his media coverage and back, depending upon whether the majority of the mainstream media agreed with his stances or not.
Chuck Schumer offers a particularly vivid example.
Back during the 2008 campaign, Chuck Schumer was telling the press, “It’s John McCain who wears $500 shoes, has six houses, and comes from one of the richest families in his state . . . he doesn’t particularly empathize with the plight of the average person.” During the Wall Street meltdown, Schumer said that McCain’s presence in Washington would only make things worse: “He has not been involved except for an occasional, unhelpful statement, sort of thrown from far away, and the last thing we need in these delicate negotiations is an injection of presidential politics.”
Now Schumer tells us, “He always, always had an incredible moral compass, and he spoke truth to power,” and he wants to rename the Russell Senate Office building after him. What happened to the complaints about the expensive shoes?
You could measure the coverage of McCain by who he was being contrasted with at that moment — against Bush in 2000 he was a hero, against Barack Obama in 2008 he was a villain, and against Trump in 2016 he was a hero again.
Weird that so many people discount the press’s opinions nowadays.
And let me add that while McCain the war hero was a great war hero, McCain the politician was actually a lot like Trump: Often petty and personal, obsessed with media coverage, and prone to treat agreement or disagreement with his own positions as a moral issue rather than a political one.
But hey, in 10 or 20 years, they’ll be making unfavorable comparisons between Trump and whoever the new GOP figure is. It’s been that way at least since Reagan.