So Maybe John McCain Found Some Courage In Between A Couch Cushion » VSB

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So Maybe John McCain Found Some Courage In Between A Couch Cushion

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Earlier this week, I wrote that by receiving government-funded health care to deal with his terminal brain cancer, and returning to D.C. to vote for a measure that would snatch benefits away from millions of people, John McCain — whose entire career is built on a maverick/hero narrative — exhibited a level of cowardice unique even for a city drenched in pervasive coward.

Considering his military history, there were quite a few people who disagreed with this characterization. Some vehemently. Because he has exhibited bravery in battle. But what those people fail to realize is that physical courage and moral courage are distinct concepts. Risking your body, your health, and your life requires a different type of bravery than ignoring peer and political pressure and saying and doing the right thing. And while McCain has possessed the former, the last decade of his political career — where he, among other things, shamelessly pandered to the worst of the right by making Sarah “My Arms Are Too Short To Box With Science” Palin his running mate and repeatedly swallowed his pride to support a president who exists as the antithesis to everything McCain wants us to believe he represents — has been severely lacking in the latter.

But early this morning, in a surprise to nearly everyone in Washington, McCain voted against the GOP’s skinny repeal plan, giving the Affordable Care Act a reprieve and keeping millions of Americans insured.

This, of course, doesn’t negate him giving Palin a national platform and the Darth Cheeto his support. But it does suggest that perhaps, in what may be the last year of his life, John McCain might have found the moral courage that has been missing for the last 10. We’ll see.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • PDL….HE still working on me

    I also love the fact that for all opposition Obama got and all the blame Trumps tries to lay on him, not a single person in congress can do what he did or come with something better. Not a nary one.

    • Kas

      Obama was nowhere near perfect, but he is the best president we have had in my lifetime.

      • The idea of a “Great POTUS” isn’t realistic. The measuring stick we use to assess the office is all over the place. Even one’s deemed as “good” like FDR are guilty of foul sh*t like putting citizens in concentrations camps.

        • I think Lincoln is the only one who approaches the “great” characterization. Saved the Union. Freed the slaves.

          • Michelle

            Lincoln would’ve supported slavery, even if it kept the union intact. He didn’t care, one way or the other.

            • Your statement is at odds with Lincoln’s behavior and actions.

              From his earliest political speeches Lincoln expressed a disdain of slavery. As a Whig, he believed in capitalism and free labor; slavery, he felt, was antithetical to the competition that is central to capitalism. While he felt blacks were inferior, he also felt that their free labor would be a boon to the economy (Eric Foner’s, “The Fiery Trial,” is an excellent text detailing his political views throughout his life and how they developed). His famous “house divided” quote, mostly famously used against his debates against Stephen Douglass in 1858, actually began cropping up much earlier in his political speeches.

              Too few people see Lincoln as a military commander. But this position colored all his actions. Lincoln was committed to gradual emancipation of slaves, as that was the only way he felt he could stave off civil war. The war came anyway. He held on to that option out of military necessity; four slave states (Maryland, Kentucky, Delaware, and Missouri) remained part of the Union and provided important springboards for the southern and western campaigns. While signaling that slavery was coming to an end, he could not make emancipation immediate. Otherwise he risked opening up a new southern front that was too close to the vital railroad and supply lines of the Mideast.

              Lincoln’s views on slavery evolved during the war. At first only seeing the war as a bloody debate about the role of the federal government, he realized that none of this would have happened if slavery had not existed. The original sin of the Founding Fathers was now taking its blood toll on the nation. The rest of the Western world was also moving away from slavery- they saw it now as the evil we all see it as today- and nations like Britain and France was loathe to ally themselves with the Confederacy. Now realizing the bleakness of slavery, he sought to destroy it. The Battle of Antietam gave him the military victory needed to give the Emancipation Proclamation a sense of destiny.

              And through it all, he developed a friendship with Frederick Douglass, so far as to publicly greet and embrace him in a gathering of Washington’s elite (James Oakes’ “The Radical and the Republican” documents their friendship). Douglass change his view on black people. Lincoln now realized that the only reason why black people were inferior was because slavery denied them the education and opportunity to elevate themselves. As a lifelong Whig who beloved in self improvement, he was disgusted.

              Lincoln, more than most men with power, continued to be a participant in the evolution of his soul. He was not free of racism, but white people today still aren’t; but he used his mighty power to free 4 million black men and women and children in bondage. Only those who do not know their history dare to say that he was a true and unreconstructed racist who is no better than the ones that kill our people dead today.

      • PDL….HE still working on me

        Mine too.

      • nillalatte


    • Gibbous

      The Rs are 0 for 2

      1) They’ve had 8 years to come up with a better plan than the ACA*, and this was literally pulled together the day before it was due!!! Talk about procrastination.

      2) No matter what I think about HRC, if you haven’t found something to indict her for in the last 20 years of looking and yelling, you’re either incompetent or there is no there there. At this point in the game, she is irrelevant. Stop talking about her and move on.

      *Did you see the article where Cantor actually said that they never expected to pass a repeal of ACA, so it was 7 years of just noise and nonsense?

      • PDL….HE still working on me

        Agree. I didn’t see the article but I believe. Utterly ridiculous

  • Damon Young

    also, to be clear, i’m not here to give him any cookies. but my piece earlier this week was written specifically because i thought he was going to do something that he actually didn’t do. so i have to acknowledge that.

    • i hear you D Money but… him voting no in the eleventh hour doesn’t make him “maybe not a coward after all”. so while you and many others expected him to do A and not B, that doesn’t change him being C.

      • PetiteKBee

        THAT PART!

      • Janelle Doe

        As I read Damon’s post I was thinking of Chris Rock and drawing similarities.
        No awards for doing what is reasonably expected.

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    • Junegirl627

      My question is this. How much of this is about securing legacy and seeing the reaction to his last vote affected this vote?

      • NonyaB?

        Detective June asking the important questions!

      • Mary Burrell

        I guess someone saw him getting dragged on the inter webs. Maybe someone in his camp said look you don’t want your name to be tarnished as someone who $hitted on all the poor folks who need access to health care. “Nah, You don’t want to be that guy.”

      • SororSalsa

        When you’re looking death in the face, it might make your choices a little more clear for you. And I think he is indeed trying to secure his legacy, and this would make a lovely feather in his cap. I noted that he kept everyone in suspense and said “watch the show.” He KNEW he was making a moment. It would’ve been nice if he could’ve found his spine BEFORE he had one foot in the grave though.

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      Ohh..tbh Damon, when I read the previously artvcle I thought you meant he actually did decide to vote for the new healthcare plan. I was so confused.

      • Asa Randolph

        I did further research on what happen Monday and it was a vote to have a discussion on the bill that was presented last night. It was a procedural vote but it was made out to be something it wasn’t.

      • raul

        Pretty sure that is what Damon meant and this is the closet you’re going to get to a “I was wrong” from him. Damon much like the cheetoed one isn’t big on admitting mistakes.

    • Sarah “My Arms Are Too Short To Box With Science” Palin.. but aren’t HIS arms really the short ones? lmao

      THAT TOOK ME OUT!! And it’s fair that you acknowledged it..


        You’re right. LOL.

        • Mary Burrell

          Good afternoon Truth.?


            Good Afternoon Sister Mary Burrell. TGIF.

    • Asa Randolph

      I think this is where having an understanding of political procedures is key when a person has a large platform like VSB if not you someone you know to help lay people (like myself ) know what is going on. So many people ( myself included) where calling this man a political coward for various reasons based the strong arguments presented by you and others it was easy to say HEY IS RIGHT. But after talking with a couple of people who have a better understanding of the political process I was able to get clarity on what was taking place a couple days ago as far as that being a procedural vote. The last two votes were actual Bills to end Obama care and to my surprise a couple Republicans not just McCain voted those bills down. VSB is a very powerful platform for our Community maybe it is time to bring in a political expert with the same creative ability you guys have to make us laugh and think critically about our culture? Just a thought

      • Mary Burrell

        Good points

    • RB

      DY: JMC did exactly what he said he would do… he didn’t grow balls overnight. He had them all along. It was only your ignorance and poor reporting that make you believe that.
      It doesn’t look like you listening to JMC speech at all. Please let me copy / paste some excerpts from it and if you really want to make it up to him after your unjustified defamation attempt just click in the link at the bottom and read his whole speech:

      “I voted for the motion to proceed to allow debate to continue and amendments to be offered. I will not vote for the bill as it is today… If this process ends in failure, which seem likely, then let’s return to regular order”

      DY: It’s clear that you didn’t read / listen to his speech and you are blissfully ignorant of how our democracy & senate works. I guess you have NO idea what his call to “return to regular order” means… that would have save you the ignominy to have to retract your words.

      Regular Order: NO… it’s not a word shift for a white conspiracy theory. Until Mitch McConnell decided to make a circus of a procedural vote in the Senate every bill brought to the floor will have a “vote to proceed to debate”… every bill deserves the opportunity to be debate (that’s how democracy works) even if the other party new they will oppose it completely or even if the president already say he will veto it; they will give a “Yeah… let’s debate vote”. It was always a 10 seconds / 100% unanimous vote and then the fun will begin.

      Let me be more clear: If I bring a bill to the floor of the Senate saying that I want to repaint the Statue of Liberty neon fluo PINK in a “regular order times” they will give me a 100% both parties / all senators YES Vote To Debate and then probably all of them will tell me that Liberty Lady looks much better in green…

      That was before MMC decided to make a circus of a simple procedural vote that nobody cares because he knew the bill will never pass and this silly vote was the only thing he could hope he could “win”…

      Wow… look at this… This is what a well-informed journalism looks like.

      I recommend you to watch MSNBC “All In with Chris Hayes” / “TRMS The Rachel Maddow Show” and especially “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell”… Yeah. I know… They are all white; she is a lesbian, one is too young and the other is too white and old… but you would have not penned such hate filled biased P.O.S. For a Very Smart Brotha… it wasn’t very smart :)

    • Shay-d-Lady

      yeah.. but he did vote to even get to this point, when he could have stopped it. Which makes me think. he may not be a coward but definitely a f!ck n!$$a because i just think it was the backlash he received that forced this hand.. vs him actually being like. a decent human being….

    • Mary Burrell

      Well at least you corrected yourself.

  • T-Roy

    Honestly, he is trying to redeem himself with his vote. He laid the groundwork for a Trump presidency to happen. Back in 2008 when he realized he was losing to Obama, he did a Hail Mary and brought us the loony, unpolished Sarah Palin, which led to the Tea Party. That was the foundation to this obscene amount of craziness in politics, we didn’t know it at the time but the craziness became normal. McCain is the blame for all of this. Can’t redeem yourself now that you have cancer.

  • Tarik

    Nope. Still no courage, cuz he voted YES earlier this week. Want to talk about courage? Let’s give some ink to Mazie Hirono, Hawaiian Senator who rightfully voted NO from the jump…as she battles stage 4 kidney cancer.
    Let her live, let him die painfully.

  • I still am adamant about relishing in the day that his illness takes him off this planet. I do not care about his vote this morning. The rest of the people who voted yes can all die slow too.

  • Kas

    Color me aggressively unimpressed. He could have killed the bill before it got to this point. Republican tribalism is going to be the death of this country.

    • Wendy

      YES! This all day! I’ve been saying this all morning and it’s only 9:30! The level of hero worship for this guy is incredible and disgusting. It was all a stage show to him.

    • NotToday

      Eggggsactly! He handed the gasoline to a bunch of pyromaniacs and we’re supposed to be grateful that dude has the decency to withhold the gotdamb matches?? Shiiiiid.
      We should be applauding the other 2 Repub ladies who’ve held to their no vote. ??????But up is down and down is up, I guess. ¯_(?)_/¯

    • nillalatte

      But, Kas, that is not how you play the game.

    • Zil Nabu

      How could he have killed it?

      • Gibbous

        He voted to go to procedure on a non-bill. It wasn’t even a piece of legislation to be debated, and never should have reached the floor. You vote to debate when you have something to debate – that’s not how you WRITE legislation.



  • nah. he *still* wants to repeal Obamacare and strip millions of healthcare. its fck that limited range of arm motion having ngga then and now.

    • Marge!!!

      What I don’t understand about ACA opponents is that they will not take time to actually write a bill that doesn’t come off as some Dickensian or punitive to those who aren’t rich. They want to scrap everything and come back with piece-meal efforts that hurt everyone, yet their supporters seemingly love this sh*t. America confuses me. Have a real moment of political honesty and just admit they want to burn it all down.

      • Kas

        The truth is they don’t think the federal government should provide healthcare. That doesn’t make them evil. It’s the lies they tell to try and get their way that makes them evil.

        • Sounds evil to me. They enjoy free healthcare and don’t want anyone else to have it.

          • It actually sounds really evil.

            • Again. I hope they all die slow. Hearing about them getting cancer or having a loved one get cancer will be the highlight of my days in the future.

            • Kas

              I’m for everyone having a basic standard of living, and I’m willing to pay more in taxes to achieve it. I can’t call someone evil because they don’t. Selfish motherfuckers on the other hand . . .

              • Enjoying free healthcare for self and denying it from others isn’t evil?

                • Kas

                  Not how I define evil.

            • LMNOP

              A serial killer who tortures and kills people sounds more evil, but whether you kill people with a gun, a knife, or a piece of legislation, they’re dead all the same.

              • Serial killers actually seem very sane and humane to me right now. At least they’re honest about what they’re doing.

                • LMNOP

                  I mean I think serial killers are typically pretty dishonest about what they’re doing too.

                  You can’t really just walk up to someone and be like “hey, come take a walk with me so I can torture and eventually kill you.”

              • We can agree they are somewhere between people who microwave fish in the break room and serial killers.

          • King Beauregard

            I for one am sick to death of not calling people evil. I have heard too often “oh that’s just how he was brought up” / “you have to understand Republican philosophy” / “they don’t have the wealth of world experiences that” … how about, if they weren’t shtty people through and through, they would not be as they are. They COULD change, but they see no reason to.

            • Republicans deserve every foul thing that the universe has to offer them.

            • 44isnojoke

              You said a WORD. Change??? Didn’t Obama represent that? How can they align themselves with something that doesn’t directly enrich/affect them.

            • nillalatte

              I’d second the shytty people motion. Do we have a majority? ;)

              • Gibbous


            • MsKeisha23

              McConnell, Ryan, Cruz, Rubio, Hatch (who I am always surprised to discover is still actually alive)….evil. pure and simple.

        • LMNOP

          See, the way you put it sounds unevil, but wanting poor sick people to suffer and not be able to go to the doctor sounds pretty evil.

          Words are sneaky little things.

        • Tam

          Morning Kasito

          • Kas

            How is your Saturday going?

            • Tam

              I awoke tired and the heat is sucking every ounce of energy. What about yours?

        • PDL….HE still working on me

          But but but they have government funded healthcare. Feeling like folks OUGHT to be able to provide their own when you aren’t is wrong. Selfish bastids

        • Mary Burrell

          Don’t the tax payers pay for their health care and they trying to pass a bill to deny millions of Americans access to affordable health care? How is that not evil?


            The GOP extremists have no shame in their vile rhetoric. The Constitution allows the federal government to tax and spend. The government should be made up of the people and support the interests of the people (not an oligarchy).Many of them don’t care if people die as long as they advocate an unfettered, privatized system.

      • King Beauregard

        They don’t want to cede anything to the Democrats, not even the observation that the government could and should get involved in health care.

        • That’s a problem. Anyone willing to die on a worthless hill for the sake of saving face is beyond problematic. That sounds like the Chinese Army in Korea. That would also play into my idea that GOP is trying to see how far the Dems will go to win state elections in 2018.

          • preserving whiteness is amazing, aint it?? smh

            • It is a heIIuva an undertaking but the modern American version of preserving whiteness is akin to being attacked by a passive-aggressive mob armed with lobbyists and money.

            • Mary Burrell

              You have a nice blog I like the post on Forgiveness.

          • King Beauregard

            The worst part is, their followers are willing to die on that hill too. All the opposition to Obamacare all these years … the Republican fan base is every bit as messed up.

            A part of it, I am forced to admit, is not malice and instead has more to do with stupidity so profound that I’m surprised their brains aren’t literally powered by hamsters running in wheels. Just a blast from the past, here is Rep Andy Harris:


            I’ll save you a click: Andy Harris was a Teabagger who got voted in on a promise to repeal Obamacare, and as soon as he got in office he wondered if there was a public option he could sign up for because he didn’t know what he’d do without health care while waiting for his new plan to kick in. If I wrote this up as satire, you’d reject it as “too blunt and implausible”.

            • The most loyal followers are usually the ones who will die first. They are fodder and too foolish to realize that they have on that red shirt on the away team for a reason.

              • King Beauregard

                “A red shirt means you’re an EXTRA SPECIAL helper! You know how you never see any red shirts on the ship? That’s how extra special you are!”

                (Yes I know the red shirt merely denoted engineering / security and even Mr. Scott wore a red shirt, don’t get me started, whoever was going to go down that road. Full disclosure, I am a nerd.)

                • Scotty wasn’t leaving that ship either.

                  • King Beauregard

                    He left the ship on several occasions, most notably “Who Mourns for Adonais?” and OH GOD LOOK WHAT YOU’RE MAKING ME DO

              • Tam

                But at least they can go down saying the Black dude /nor whoa of Babylon is not there.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                “They are fodder and too foolish to realize that they have on that red shirt on”

                Ensign Ricky!!!!!

              • Mary Burrell

                Please educate me about “red shirt ” Never mind i googled and this seemed to be some kind of nerd thing that Trekkies are into.

            • nillalatte

              “their brains aren’t literally powered by hamsters running in wheels.”
              The visual…. lol

      • it’s not as catchy to say “we just doing $hit because (1) we hate the coloreds and the poors. but we also have nothing else of substance to offer our constituents. and that’s ok because they dgaf and neither do we.”

        • I guess “We’re angry and white” looks better on t-shirts.

      • Gibbous

        And it’s not all Rs who think this way, it’s just the loudest ones who threaten the future other legislators. If anyone wanted to, they could come in and vote how they wanted, and then be OK with losing the next election. Everyone wants to get re-elected and won’t do anything to rock the boat.

        MA had Romney care, (a republican success story) and it still seems to be working out for them.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Soo Dr. Diva Dude, when are we going to see you on C SPAN telling congress that you are the ish and to fund your work?

      • lmao @ Dr. Diva Dude. i don’t have any scientific work to fund but i am working behind the scenes on making sure other’s work gets paid for. plus, CSPAN has such bad lighting, my image must be cast under better conditions

    • King Beauregard

      After the 2008 election, there was a political cartoon I wanted to see: there’s a high shelf on which sits a trophy labeled “electoral victory through respectable ethical campaigning”, and Obama is able to easily reach up and seize the trophy, while McCain can’t even raise his arms above his head.

      For all the harm McCain has tried to inflict on the American people, I reserve the right to make fun of his gimpy arms. They are the least of his defects.

    • NonyaB?

      “Its fck that limited range of arm motion having ngga then and now”

  • King Beauregard

    Or maybe, just this once, his “Marverick” shtick wasn’t working. Normally he makes his principled-sounding noises and that’s what everyone remembers, even as he slinks off and votes like any other Republican.

    Only this time, everyone saw what he was doing, and suddenly the Maverick’s little game wasn’t working; people across the Internet were calling him out on his two-faced cowardice. I think his reputation as a Maverick is the only reason he finally relented and voted for the right thing.

  • 44isnojoke

    It sounds like he’s trying to get into heaven. You get no reward for doing what you’re suppose to do for the people of your state. As a state employee I get nothing but a check for helping these people, cuz that’s what I was hired to do.

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