CORRECTION: This article erroneously stated that Chris Matthews interviewed Secretary Hillary Clinton. It was actually Chris Hayes who conducted the interview on ‘All In With Chris Hayes’ on MSNBC.
Well, it has boiled down to this. Republicans are so desperate for a win that despite the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already humiliated himself earlier this year in an umpteenth effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, highly respected senator Lindsey Graham has decided to take his own last ditch shot at it. He has decided to sponsor a bill that completely disregards the will of the American people – according to a recent poll only 20 percent of Americans polled support it – and ram it through the senate by midnight September 30, 2017. He is pressuring his good friend in the senate, Senator John McCain, to vote yes on this bill.
With friends like Senator Lindsey Graham, who needs enemies? I say this not because Senator Graham does not have a right to his opinion and a right to vote any way that he chooses to on this (Graham-Cassidy Bill), but because he is bound to know that his reason for sponsoring such a bill is totally irrational and it is solely motivated by politics: and to press a friend to support it? Well, that should explain my friends and enemies analogy. Both Senator McCain and Senator Graham may be highly respected senators but there is obviously at least one glaring difference between them. Senator McCain has scruples. He is an honorable man who places honor and service to country above party and politics. And as a matter of fact, he would likely frown upon me for even implying that his best friend in the senate does not also possess these qualities.
I’m sorry if such an implication raises your hackles, Senator McCain, but why would a true friend press a friend to support a bill like this when he himself knows that it is completely political and void of any value to his own or his friends constituents? Why would he do this knowing that there is not only no value for his constituents or yours in this bill but that it would in fact harm them? Anyway, Senator McCain has said that he will not vote for Graham-Cassidy. This does not surprise me. What would have surprised me would have been if Senator McCain had said that he would support the bill.
I watched Senator McCain’s interview on Sunday September 24th when he was interviewed by Lesley Stahl. I don’t know if you saw it and heard the responses that he gave to her questions; but his overall response embodied scruples, honor, love of country, and service to country and all Americans; Senator John McCain personifies that overall response. He is that man! Love him or hate him, like him or dislike him or anywhere in between he is an honorable man who has earned and deserves bipartisan respect. And accordingly, his position on the various issues that America is faced with and the way forward that our country should choose warrants bipartisan discourse and should be given serious and genuine consideration although we might strongly disagree with him. Then, even if ultimately he cannot convince the majority of the American people and his colleagues that he is right, there is at least room to seek common ground.
Senator John McCain’s scolding of his Republican and Democratic colleagues on the senate floor and his clarion call for a return to regular order makes perfect sense. Although most Republicans are ready and willing to vote for Graham-Cassidy – 49 of them voted yes for a similar bill in July that, based on what little information is available to the public, was less cruel than this one – most of them do not know or even care about what is in it. They freely admit that this vote is based purely on politics and most of them either demur, spin there response or pivot when they are confronted with the strong possibility that their vote is motivated by their hope of sustaining political donations, especially those of mega donors.
They do not want to admit that they are throwing their constituents under the bus in order to help assure that they will have deep-pocket donors who will provide them with all of the cash that they will need to increase their chances of being reelected in 2018 and beyond. The problem with this is that it will reinforce the thinking of those few billionaires and millionaires who feel that they are the ones who should be running the country. And that is exactly why America needs to get big money out of politics… But that is a different article for a different time. However, I have raised this issue before and will continue to raise it until our elected officials effectively address it.
Finally, being the dyed-in-the-wool Democrat that I am I cannot resist the urge to mention that I also watched Chris Matthews’ interview of Secretary Hillary Clinton, which aired on September 25, 2017. Secretary Clinton is smart, knowledgeable, articulate, strong, resilient and relentless. It is not that I was not aware of this before the interview but as I watched her and listened as she responded to Chris Matthews’ questions, the reminder that she possesses all of these attributes combined with her tremendous amount of experience in the political arena, I briefly fell back into that same depressed feeling that I experienced when she lost and I could not help but to reflect on the enormity of the opportunity that we squandered (I am proud to say that I voted for her). She had more experience for the job than did any of our presidents in modern history. Then…we got Donald J. Trump. And now America is barreling back to the past at breakneck speed while exposing our country’s underbelly and ripping off all of the old scabs that were covering our grievous wounds as we worked to heal ourselves.
There is no doubt in my mind that Secretary Clinton would have made a great president. There is also no doubt in my mind that the Republican congress would have continued to throw everything that they had at her just as they had when she was Secretary of State. But just like she withstood their attacks then while continuing to do her job, she would have done the same as president. Republicans feared Secretary Clinton then because she was strong! They fear her now because she is still strong! Both Secretary Clinton and Senator McCain took their service to their country and the American people seriously. And, without doubt, had Secretary Clinton won the election, in the same spirit of bipartisanship that Senator McCain has espoused in calling for a return to regular order in the senate, she would have gladly worked with Senator McCain and any Republican who was sincere in their desire to serve America. It is in that same spirit that all Americans should continue to hold out hope that Republicans and Democrats alike will heed Senator McCain’s admonition that without a return to regular order congress cannot effectively conduct the business of the American people.
In the meantime, all of those who are concerned about the Russians meddling in our democracy and want to assure that we get to the bottom of that meddling and assure that we preserve our democracy as we now know it; and all of those who have been battling relentlessly to preserve Obamacare and Medicaid must continue to fight. Each time that we are knocked down we must get right back up and continue the fight. We must not grow weary because our adversary will not grow weary. So whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent always remember; your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line