McCain Still Up for a Fight, Even in Ill­ness

The Jewish Voice - - NATIONAL - By: Wal­ter Me­tuth

John McCain is not sign­ing off qui­etly. As in so much of the sen­a­tor's ex­tra­or­di­nary life, the re­bel­lious Repub­li­can is fac­ing this chal­leng­ing chap­ter — bat­tling brain can­cer — in his own rule-break­ing way, stir­ring up old fights and start­ing new ones. Rarely has the sickbed been so lively.

McCain is pro­mot­ing a new book, de­liv­er­ing a coun­ter­punch of ideals con­trary to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's run­ning of the White House. McCain's long-dis­tance re­jec­tion of CIA di­rec­tor nom­i­nee Gina Haspel's his­tory with tor­ture goaded former Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney into a fresh de­bate over wa­ter­board­ing and other now-banned in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques. On Fri­day, friends ral­lied to de­fend McCain against a White House of­fi­cial's cruel joke that his po­si­tions don't mat­ter be­cause “he's dy­ing any­way.''

If this is Wash­ing­ton's long good­bye to a some­times fa­vorite son, it's also a reemer­gence of old re­sent­ments and po­lit­i­cal fault lines that con­tinue to split the na­tion.

Per­haps no one should have ex­pected any­thing less from the 81-year-old sen­a­tor, who can be crotch­ety and can­tan­ker­ous but is also seen by many, both in and out of pol­i­tics, as an Amer­i­can hero, flaws and all.

Former Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den said Fri­day as McCain “fights for his life, he de­serves bet­ter — so much bet­ter.''

“Our chil­dren learn from our ex­am­ple,'' Bi­den said. “The lin­ger­ing ques­tion is: Whose ex­am­ple will it be? I am cer­tain it will be John's.''

Said House Speaker Paul Ryan, “His le­gacy is so long that John McCain is a hero to us all.''

McCain was di­ag­nosed in July with glioblas­toma, an ag­gres­sive brain can­cer. He left Wash­ing­ton in De­cem­ber and few ex­pect him to re­turn. Upand-down re­ports of his health shift ev­ery few days.

A steady stream of vis­i­tors have stopped by the McCain fam­ily ranch in Ari­zona — in­clud­ing Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, on Fri­day.

Close friend and po­lit­i­cal ally Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., vis­ited McCain this week, and the two watched an old movie and talked about McCain's im­print on pol­i­tics.

Gra­ham said he told McCain he will leave be­hind a long list of Repub­li­cans — and Democrats — he has men­tored, Gra­ham in­cluded.

“Your le­gacy is the peo­ple you af­fected,'' Gra­ham said he told his friend. “John McCain's go­ing to have a hell of a le­gacy.''

Not ev­ery­one, though, is so keen to lis­ten to McCain these days.

Most Repub­li­can sen­a­tors are not heed­ing his advice to re­ject Haspel, who was chief of base of a de­ten­tion site where ter­ror sus­pects were wa­ter­boarded. McCain lived through years of cap­tiv­ity dur­ing the Viet­nam War.

Trump has sug­gested re­viv­ing the now-banned bru­tal in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques. And Cheney, who was an ar­chi­tect of the post-Sept. 11, 2001, strat­egy, said he would keep the pro­gram ac­tive and ready for de­ploy­ment, and doesn't think it amounted to tor­ture.

“Peo­ple want to go back and try to re­write his­tory, but if it were my call, I'd do it again,'' Cheney told Fox Busi­ness.

One re­tired Air Force gen­eral, Tom McIn­er­ney, called McCain “song­bird John'' on the same sta­tion this week for al­legedly pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to the North Viet­namese while he was a prisoner of war. McCain has said he gave in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion af­ter be­ing tor­tured. Fox said McIn­er­ney would not be in­vited back on its busi­ness or news chan­nels.

Still, one of McCain's long­time spar­ring part­ners, Sen. Rand Paul R-Ky., re-af­firmed his op­po­si­tion to Haspel on Fri­day.

In ex­plain­ing his op­po­si­tion, Paul said, “We shouldn't re­ward some­body who par­tic­i­pated in tor­ture, re­ally still has trou­ble say­ing and ar­tic­u­lat­ing that it's an im­moral thing.''

Ari­zona Sen­a­tor John McCain is pro­mot­ing a new book, de­liv­er­ing a coun­ter­punch of ideals con­trary to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s run­ning of the White House.

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