(This piece was written 12 hours before John McCain cast a deciding vote in defeating the bill that would have taken health care from over 20 million people. I have read Paul Krugman's perceptive column in the NYT, also written earlier Thursday, long before McCain's vote, depicting the senator's erratic stances.
It's tricky to write about a moving story. On Thursday, Laura Vecsey wrote a glimpse of the Scaramucci family from our town. Later, Anthony became Trump's Trump via his vile rant to the New Yorker. It's a moving spectacle. I think I know where this is all going -- sooner rather than later, one can only hope. GV.)
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This is not the role anybody wanted for John McCain – appearing in public with a red raw line above his eye, from the recent incursion toward his brain.
I have been writing for over six months that I fully expected Sen. McCain to be a pivotal figure in the inevitable dumpsterization of Donald Trump.
I spent a few hours with Sen. McCain in his office for a column during an Olympic hearing in 1999, seeing the cranky side and the generous side.
Sen. McCain remains enigmatic – coming back from an awful diagnosis to cast a vote on health care, temporarily siding with the president who once declared him not a hero, and also supporting the amoral Mitch McConnell, to prolong this foolishness.
But then John McCain did what I have expected of him on his good-John-McCain days: he plainly called the Republican health-care “plan” meaningless, empty.
Now he has viscerally reacted to the pathetic tweeter of the White House by criticizing the call to bar transgender people from the military. This pilot served, was tortured. He knows how things actually work in the service, as opposed to the poseur from military school.
The same goes for Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who lost parts of her legs while serving as a pilot in Iraq. I saw her on TV the other night, talking about the foolish gesture toward transgender military people. She was, as always, so smart, so dignified. So presidential.
John McCain did not get to be president. His best moment during the campaign was to take the microphone back from the bigot in red who labelled Barack Obama “an A-rab.”
It was hard, recently, to watch John McCain stumble while asking questions in a Senate hearing. Now we know what is happening. But I am counting on him to exercise the just part of him. His pals in the mute White Citizens Council posse that materializes behind McConnell cannot pretend things are just fine, when John McCain is reacting viscerally to the disorder.
Unlike Trump, Sen. McCain felt no need to pander to the religious right on the transgender issue.
I originally thought it would take 18 rational months to rid the country of the buffoon, but now I think it could happen by Labor Day. This can’t go on. John McCain can help by calling out a disturbed man.
He flew many missions, but when he and Lindsay Graham pay that visit to the White House one of these months, it will be John McCain’s greatest mission.
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.