(This article is much like the post I wrote after learning that McCain had stopped treating his brain cancer. You can read that here.)
Courtesy of Vox:
The party of Donald Trump began almost 10 years ago to the day when John McCain tapped Sarah Palin to join his ticket.
It’s one of the most important moments of McCain’s career. He proved willing to empower a demagogue when he thought doing so would improve his political fortunes, exactly the sin so many of his colleagues in the Republican Party have committed since Trump won their party’s nomination.
“She’s not from these parts and she’s not from Washington, but when you get to know her, you’re going to be as impressed as I am,” McCain said when he announced his decision. “She’s got the grit, integrity, the good sense and fierce devotion to the common good that is exactly what we need in Washington today.”
Palin’s big moment in front of a national audience was the first live vice presidential debate with Joe Biden. Her big opener was to ask the crowd: “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?” Her answer: “Lipstick.”
Things went downhill from there. She dodged questions, offering no real or substantive answers. And still, the event drew 70 million viewers — the largest audience for a vice presidential debate in history. She dazzled conservatives.
Palin’s run solidified the Republican Party’s comfort with a candidate who would say absurdities. When Katie Couric wanted to know what newspapers she read, Palin answered, “Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.”
Even though McCain and Palin were bested by Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Palin inspired a slew of copycats, unleashing a political style and a values system that animated the Tea Party movement and laid the groundwork for a Trump presidency.
The unfortunate, yet unavoidable truth is that people will soon forget the McCain Feingold bill which sought to regulate campaign financing.
They will also forget his heroic vote against the repeal of Obamacare.
But what will live on for decades in the public memory, and for much longer in the history books, is that he helped to usher in the Trump presidency.
It may not be entirely fair, I am sure his family would argue that it is not, but without McCain, there would have been no Sarah Palin, and without Sarah Palin, there would have been no Donald Trump.
That is simply inarguable at this point.
So yes let us celebrate the many accomplishments of this man’s career, but also let us not ignore the legacy that he stuck us with due to his overwhelming desire to be the President of the United States.