Commentary: John McCain’s Betrayal of the Conservative Grassroots is Treasonous

by Jeffrey A. Rendall


Treason; it’s a difficult concept to grasp. The dictionary indicates the word means “betrayal of country – a violation of the allegiance owed by somebody to his or her own country, e.g. by aiding an enemy.” It also means treachery and/or act of betrayal.

Similarly, a traitor is defined as “betrayer – somebody who is disloyal or treacherous.”

By definition then, Arizona Senator John McCain is a traitor, guilty of treason. No, a mob isn’t now forming to drag him in chains before a court of inquisition and no formal charges will be filed by anyone in a federal or state jurisdiction to indict him for a crime. But make no mistake, what McCain is doing to sabotage the efforts of about half of his fellow senate members (and President Donald Trump) to deal with a serious big government problem istreasonous.

McCain is a traitor within the Republican Party and by extension he’s betrayed the American people because he refuses to even consider a proposal to pass the last-ditch Obamacare “fix it” (I can’t get myself to call it a repeal) bill that his good friend South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham conjured up as the GOP’s final attempt to address the failing Obamacare situation.

No one can persuade McCain otherwise; he listens to no one but himself. The “enemy” thanked him. Jimmy Kimmel loves him. He’s a hero (again) to Democrats. Meanwhile, his constituents feel let down and lied to. Can you think of any other words that better suit McCain these days than traitor and treason?

Emily Jashinsky wrote on Friday in the Washington Examiner, “Consider [a] statement issued by McCain…after the Senate voted in December of 2015 to repeal and not replace much of Obamacare.

“’The legislation we passed today would unburden Americans from the harmful effects of this failed law and build a bridge to health care solutions that work for families in Arizona and across the country,’ said McCain. ‘It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and I will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Arizona to achieve it.’”

McCain isn’t fighting; he’s sold out to the adversary.

The difference in McCain’s attitude between December, 2015 and now can only be reconciled by one, the fact he was facing an intense internal party struggle to win re-nomination in the 2016 Arizona GOP primary and two, heading into a difficult reelection fight in what appeared at the time to be a very unstable presidential election year.

McCain the sleazy “maverick” politician once again subdued his traitorous leanings in order to make it look like he would be a good soldier (or in his case, sailor) this time and go along with the greater GOP efforts to get rid of Obamacare. Instead McCain’s now thrown everyone who believed in him under the proverbial political bus because he alone thinks there’s some kind of magical “bipartisan” solution to this problem hovering in the halls of the senate somewhere.

Jashinsky concluded her piece, “If he truly believes that ‘any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare,’ McCain knows there is no bipartisan solution to reform that meets his own standards. After voting for repeal, and arguing legislative attempts to achieve full repeal and replacement were essential, McCain is now moralizing about the importance of bipartisanship, after conservatives compromised to deliver on their promises and save a failing system.”

Yes indeed, therein lays the crux of the problem. With Graham’s bill the senate’s principled conservatives – with the possible exception of Senator Rand Paul – have all agreed to put their concerns to the side in favor of securing the half a loaf that so many rejected for so long. It’s safe to say the current proposal pleases no one entirely which is probably a good indication that it’s the only way to assemble a large enough coalition to pass it.

Further, it’s also more than a little curious that not a single Democrat is in the conversation to go along with the Graham Obamacare fix bill — so much for President Trump’s recent praise of North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp — or what about West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who was even rumored to be considering a switch to the Republican Party after last year’s election because his state went so heavily for the GOP?

Relatedly, none of the other Trump state Democrats up for reelection next year is rumored to be wavering on Obamacare either. Are they all so confident this is a bad political deal that they’re willing to join with Senators Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to hold out on Obama’s signature legislative legacy, one that is failing so badly that a high percentage of Obamacare participants have only a single choice in health insurers?

By maintaining that senate law-writing tradition alone is preventing him from voting for the Graham bill, McCain is basically joining all of the Democrats in stalling that same process. As if “bipartisan” consensus is even possible today with an opposition party that is quickly moving towards calling for a single-payer healthcare system, one that would be so disastrous financially that it would sink the entire government.

For his part, socialist Senator Bernie Sanders was publicly thankful for McCain’s move, with good reason. Sean Higgins of the Washington Examiner reported, “Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a shout out to Sen. John McCain at a rally Friday to support a government-run healthcare system, saying he wished that the Senate’s other Republicans lawmakers were more like the stubborn Arizonan.

“’Thank you, John McCain,’ Sanders, the Senate’s only avowed socialist and a Vermont independent, said at a San Francisco rally hosted by National Nurses United, a leftist union. The comment drew a tepid response from the crowd.”

Of course Sanders wishes there were more Republican turncoats like McCain. If that were the case Bernie would have a fighting chance at achieving what he really craves – socialized medicine and government control of the entire economy.

Ultimately a good share of the blame for McCain’s party treachery belongs to the GOP leadership itself, the people who put conditions in place to allow someone with a flimsy spine to flourish and get re-elected for decades in order to defy everyone time and again.

McCain’s list of traitorous acts is long; perhaps starting with the infamous ‘Keating Five’ in the 80’s, the Arizona senator has been on the wrong side of many top priority GOP issues including amnesty for illegal aliens (Gang of Eight), opposition to the Bush tax cuts and the free speech squelching liberal McCain/Feingold campaign finance law.

It’s not exactly as though McCain wasn’t a known quantity to the party brass. His capacity for treason was well understood and accepted by the Republican leadership. McCain has always been Lucy of “Peanuts” fame promising to hold the football while the party’s Charlie Brown runs up to kick it. McCain’s pulled the ball away every time yet the party leaders never learned.

That makes McCain a traitor – and the leaders, stupid.

Strong language is necessary in referring to McCain because he’s singularly and selfishly incapacitating the compromise efforts of nearly everyone else in the party. Should he be jailed? No; but he should have to answer to the tens of millions of people across the country who expect Republicans to keep their promises.

Even McCain’s friend Lindsey Graham expressed his disappointment. Al Weaver of the Washington Examiner reported, “Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Friday he disagrees with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., over his decision to oppose the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill that Senate Republicans were hoping to vote on next week, but their friendship remains intact.

“’My friendship with John McCain is not based on how he votes but respect for how he’s lived his life and the person he is,’ Graham said in a statement after McCain’s announcement. ‘I respectfully disagree with his position not to proceed forward on Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson. I know Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson is the best chance to repeal and replace Obamacare.’”

Such common sense doesn’t matter to McCain. He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks – except maybe the Democrats.

In playing the lone wolf (though it appears a few other Republicans will also vote “no”), McCain has demonstrated a willingness to be remembered as a traitor. Whereas in his own demented mind he views his stand as principled, the practical effect indicates otherwise. One man’s opinion in this case has real consequences for the multitudes of people who suffer under the burdens of Obamacare’s mandates and regulations.

In effect McCain is hurting the same citizens he promised to safeguard during the campaign all for some distorted notion of protecting federal money for a relative few. And if he’s secretly doing it for the petty purpose of depriving Donald Trump of a significant legislative victory it makes him all the worse.

John McCain is seriously ill with brain cancer. If he manages to beat the usually terminal disease he still will likely never stand for election again. Therefore, the voters he’s infuriated in his home state and across the country have no chance to express their distaste for his brand of selfish politics. The likelihood of impeaching him is nil. McCain lives beyond any means of official accountability, a lame duck senator with years left to do more damage to his party, his constituents and his country.

McCain’s “good conscience” is not enough reason to trample on the desires of his friends and people who put their faith in him to make sound decisions and protect their interests. The man with a storied and respected life will now leave only a legacy of betrayal and distrust; if that isn’t the definition of treason, I don’t know what is.


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