Yes, even in death, there is no rest for the wicked in terms of blog audits reviewing their most deplorable records in a lightly amusingly-worded manner.
As other writers across the internet with a much more nuanced and comprehensible understanding of stock market jargon examine the Gamestop adversity and subsequent short position losses occurring within U.S. firms, I intend to continue making strides to shake those with apparent short-term memory loss out of their daze, and shed some more light on individuals of the days gone by that were “rehabilitated” or seen as examples of “human decency” during the Trump Administration.
It’s easy for many to generate sympathy for ol’ “maverick” John McCain in the wake of his passing, or when looking back at his period as a prisoner of war in Vietnam (you know, that only came about because McCain was in the process of trying to level a light-bulb factory), where he even rejected repatriation unless every prisoner captured before him also was released. But after Donald Trump kicked off his campaign for President in 2015, and subsequently bashed McCain during the campaign trail, McCain became an outspoken critic of his party’s nominee; he declared that he was bothered by Trump’s questioning of integrity and character of other politicians, and that he found it “impossible” to continue to support his candidacy one month before the 2016 election.
The neoliberal establishment pounced at the opportunity to exploit McCain as an example of another Republican who was supposedly not married to towing the party line, and therefore, somebody who, instead of Donald Trump, should be embraced and celebrated by Republican voters. As recently as September of last year, former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg took to FOX News to demand that viewers make the choice as to whether they would like to be remembered as a “John McCain Republican” or a “Donald Trump Republican”.
And now even at the end of Trump’s presidency, over two years after McCain’s passing, the media continues to lavish tribute and homage onto McCain, citing him as someone with “personal courage” and “old-fashioned civility”, as someone who has “wise counsel” and would do “everything he could” to manage the Covid-19 crisis. He was called “a true American hero” who deserved praise, and frankly, deserved it just as much from the media even before Donald Trump took the country by storm.
And even former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush (don’t worry, we’ll get to him one day), and Bill Clinton lavished sentiments such as that he was a “patriot” and someone who would always do what was right for the country.
But to anyone who didn’t just tap into the political news cycle once Donald Trump was inaugurated, you can be forgiven for feeling a sense of utter whiplash at this type of white-washing of McCain’s record.
McCain was a longtime advocate for destructive regime-change conflicts all across the globe during his tenure as Senator, and would even go personally to combat zones to encourage of U.S. “allies” aggressive imperialism against global adversaries. Let’s not forget about McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham being captured on video inciting hostilities towards Russia from the Ukraine military, traveling to Syria to meet U.S.-backed extremists, or venturing into Libya to encourage oppositional forces to fight back against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, a conflict that ultimately resulted in Libya becoming a failed state following Gaddafi’s execution.
And his penchant for imperialism only extended as well to the advocating of interventions or bombings (or both) in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Yemen, and Sudan, and any ensuing critiques about such advocacy or complicity would be damned by him.
When protestors affiliated with CODEPINK, a women-led grassroots organization, called for the arrests of war criminals such as Henry Kissinger, McCain denounced the activists all as “low-life scum”.
To declare McCain as an example of “human decency” is like witnessing Hannibal Lecter slice the face off of a police officer, cannibalize his victims, and then designating him as an example of someone who is only “passionate about their craft”.
At the same time, in the wake of the capitol riots, there has been a tenacious and fast-paced effort occurring in Congress to impeach now-former President Trump yet again, which, if successful, would prevent him from ascending to the presidency at any point in the future. Among several other Republican Senators, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, following her declaration that she would vote to convict Trump, has received a fierce backlash from GOP affiliates and politicians alike still married to the Trump brand.
Following this declaration and subsequent breakaway from supposed GOP-orthodoxy, media outlets touted Cheney’s disagreements and breakaways with Trump in the past, namely on foreign policy, as though it was something to actually applaud.
Maybe that’s because Cheney’s attitude towards troop presence in Afghanistan and Germany was something much more bipartisan than it should have been. When Trump signaled he may actually withdraw an ample amount of U.S. troops from the Middle East, House Democrats actually supported Cheney in her efforts to block such a maneuver.
The Washington Post hailed Cheney as a “…Klieg light, illuminating [her colleagues’] bad faith and contempt for the Constitution” and that she represents a faction of the GOP that “recognizes right from wrong, rejects White supremacy, operates in the real world and upholds its adherents’ oaths of office”.
This image of Cheney as a respectful, humane, morally righteous figure is only that, an image conjured up by resistance liberals to stick it to the GOP that there is in fact another faction of the party made up of individuals like Cheney that are worthy of being commended. An image that is based squarely on one theoretical vote and the occasional rebuttal to Trump, and in fact starts to make the Washington Post look like they don’t operate in the real world when you recall that Cheney signed a letter addressed to xenophobe and war-criminal Benjamin Netanyahu to validate Israel’s relationship with the U.S. and support the nation’s decision to further annex Palestinian territory.
Huffington Post writer Matt Fuller even insinuated that sexism animated the GOP’s backlash against Cheney, and that it was “apostasy” to push back against a strong female leader putting her foot down against Trump.
All I can say is that I weep for the future of political discourse when comments like that are all that people feel are warranted to ascribe praise onto politicians, especially the ones that label considerations to pardon whistleblowers who exposed illegal surveillance methods as “unconscionable”.
As I had previously alluded to with my recent breakdown of the left’s apparent newfound applause for Mitt Romney in the last four years, a similar crossover of appeal has been found within McCain and Cheney to much of the neoliberal establishment, and even to a few progressives here and there. It isn’t just that McCain’s or Cheney’s less bombastic mannerisms when compared to Trump are what touches the hearts of resistance liberals and cable news pundits – it’s a crossover of doctrines and frame-of-minds. And if they can be rehabilitated, then so can Donald Trump ten years down the line.
But as Mehdi Hassan put it, we cannot and should not allow that to happen.
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