John McCain has been praised since his passing as a “war hero” and one who according to Joe Biden, “believed so deeply and so passionately in the soul of America.” Those of us who have kept up with McCain and his ventures in politics, aren’t so quick to agree.
Take the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008 for example. McCain used Sarah Palin, one of the most popular governors in the nation at the time, to draw record crowds and to raise millions of dollars for Republican candidates. McCain, in his book The Restless Wave, even went as far as to say that one of his biggest political regrets was choosing Palin over Sen. Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat who supports rights for LGBTQ people as well as abortion rights, as his running mate.
Palin has said that all the news coverage of McCain’s regret of not choosing Lieberman is “like a perpetual gut punch” every time she sees it. ‘I attribute a lot of what we’re hearing and reading regarding McCain’s statements to his ghostwriter or ghostwriters,’ she explained. ‘There were elements of a perfect storm for Barack Obama to have been elected. It worked out the way that it was supposed to work out,’ Palin said.
McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain has also had some choice words for her experience with Palin in her book Dirty Sexy Politics, written in 2010. In an exclusive interview with Meghan on “Good Morning America,” she said that although she’d written in her book that she often wondered whether her father’s election loss “was Sarah Palin’s fault,” that Palin was not the reason the campaign failed. “It’s no secret that I’m so unlike her,” she told GMA.
“I do clearly state at the end that we did not lose because of her, and I’m speaking out now because I do have conflicting feelings about her,” McCain told George Stephanopoulos, on GMA. “She brought so much momentum and enthusiasm to the campaign.”
“Katie Couric’s interview with her before the vice presidential debate had been disastrous. Unhappy with her performance, Palin seemed to blame the interview on the campaign. And she continued to blame other poor interviews and snafus on the campaign too,” McCain writes. “Sarah Palin. She was turning out to be somebody who leaves a wake of confusion and chaos — to the point of dizziness — wherever she went.”“She was not just an overnight success or even a political Cinderella story. She was a sudden, freakishly huge, full-fledged phenomenon. It seemed too much. And it seemed too easy,” McCain writes.
But is it fair to place the loss solely on Palin? Of course not–to be fair, the odds were stacked against any Republican in 2008. With Bush being exceptionally unpopular among Americans, the economy suffering and still in a seemingly endless war, Obama as the dynamic and charismatic candidate who promised CHANGE–something the majority of Americans more than welcomed. We’d had enough.
WATCH: 2008 Debates in order:
In the wake of The World Trade Centers being attacked in 2001, McCain missed a golden opportunity to bank on the hope of the American people and their patriotism being the highest it’s been in many years. Americans wanted to stand together against terrorism and to restore security that was lost on 9/11. Instead, McCain and Palin focused on attacking their opponents, calling Obama a socialist, an extremist and at one point even tried linking him to a terrorist.
The McCain-Palin campaign seemed to be all over the place, and continually playing catch up to their Democratic opponents. Where there seemed to be a much more precise and strategic planned laid out to fix the economy, McCain appeared aloof and apathetic to the issue.
In the economic crisis of mid-2008, McCain and his advisers struggled with how to respond. McCain proposed a $52 billion plan that included new tax cuts on capital gains, write-offs for stock losses, and tax breaks for seniors. During the first presidential debate between McCain and Obama, McCain was asked, “In the middle of a huge financial crisis that is yet to be resolved, how is this going to affect you not in small ways, but in major ways, and the approach you would take to the presidency?” McCain replies, “How about a spending freeze on everything but Defense, Veterans Affairs and entitlement programs? We ought to seriously consider, with the exceptions of caring for our veterans, national defense and several other vital issues.”
McCain simply didn’t get it. Instead of McCain developing some solution for the economic crisis and addressing the public’s fears, he instead attempted to adopt a populist stance against the greed of Wall Street. When McCain finally came up with some sort of plan, it was as if he’d made it up during a short bathroom break right before taking the stage during the presidential debate. His own economic advisers couldn’t explain the mechanics behind it. McCain went on the record for cutting corporate taxes and capital gains, but any opportunity he was given to talk about his positions, he refused to, essentially running from the issue all together. Instead, McCain would say the plan was to “keep taxes low,” which is the equivalent to “No change!”
Now that McCain has passed, what’s really interesting is the way that the media has handled the coverage of his funeral, and to whom McCain stressed were not to be invited.
The coverage hasn’t stopped since we learned of McCain’s passing on Saturday. We haven’t seen this much coverage of any politician’s passing since Ford, or perhaps Nancy Reagan–not even for 1st lady Barbara Bush who died on April 17th earlier this year. It truly is the type of coverage you would expect to see when a president, or former president passes away, not a senator.
While Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush are expected to deliver remarks during a service for McCain on Saturday in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump and former Alaska Governor and McCain’s former running mate, Sarah Palin were not invited. While McCain’s inner circle began to make arrangements for the funeral, McCain said that Vice President Pence was more than welcome to attend but that by no means would Trump be welcome.
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