Monday, February 27, 2017

Is John McCain a maverick?

Image result for john mccain imagesThat's what a piece in FiveThirtyEight asks this morning. (It also links to another piece, the title of which sums up my feelings on the subject quite nicely.)

It's unclear whether or not Sen. McCain is really a maverick, but I would argue: Who cares? What the Republican Party needs right now -- more than ever -- is a leader, not a maverick, and John McCain is clearly not a leader. 

But isn't McCain a genuine Vietnam war hero? Absolutely. The guy spent five years in a Prisoner of War camp! Doesn't that make him a leader? Not necessarily.

I'll grant you that John McCain is an American hero. (Although I've always wondered how someone who showed such profound courage in wartime could demonstrate so little political courage in his long career in Washington.) And we can argue about whether or not he's a maverick. Neither of which is important. What is important is that what the #NeverTrumpers need, more than anything else, is a leader -- beyond Evan McMullin. Who? Exactly.

And leaders, unlike mavericks, have followers. John McCain appears to have only one: Lindsey Graham. When McCain speaks the next sound you usually hear is crickets. No one in the Republican Party, or Washington, or the rest of the country, seems to care what John McCain is saying. (Maybe because it usually has to do with sending American troops somewhere.) A true #NeverTrump leader in Washington would gather supporters -- beyond just one other senator -- behind him to challenge President Trump and hold him accountable.

So far, the "leaders" of Congress, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, have taken on the role of "Vichy Republicans," mostly collaborating with the new chief executive in the hope they can control him. (Good luck with that!) Will they ever change their tune? Of course; just as soon as Trump's approval ratings start to impinge on theirs. But by then it may be too late.

I don't care if McCain is a maverick or not. What the country needs right now is a Republican leader. And that he is certainly not. 

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