Arizona Republican Senator John McCain took another swipe at Trump administration policy, and America in return in a speech to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he slammed both isolationism and nationalism.
McCain said these ideas are ascendant within President Trump’s White House.
In the speech to the midshipmen in Annapolis, Maryland, on Monday, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman ripped into the White House’s policies, although — taking a Voldemort-like approach (“He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”) that’s become habitual among anti-Trump conservatives — he never mentioned the president by name.
The Senator contrasted the “hopeful atmosphere of 1991” after the fall of the Soviet Union with “the current circumstances of our world,” according to USNI News.
“We have gone from an interval when the global success of democracy seemed assured to a time in which the seductions of authoritarian rule find favor with many; when self-interested leadership excuses naked aggression with weak rationalizations; when ethnic grievances haunt the old and religious fanaticism fires the minds of the misguided young,” McCain said.
“We are asleep to the necessity of our leadership, and to the opportunities and real dangers of this world,” he continued.
“We are asleep in our echo chambers, where our views are always affirmed and information that contradicts them is always fake. We are asleep in our polarized politics, which exaggerates our differences, looks for scapegoats instead of answers.”
Senator McCain then went on to attack attributes (isolationism, protectionism) and straw men (conspiracy theories, propaganda) commonly associated with the Trump administration.
“I believe in Americans. We’re capable of better. I’ve seen it,” the Arizona senator said.
“We’re hopeful, compassionate people. And we still have leaders who will uphold the values that made America great, and a beacon to the oppressed.
“But I don’t take that for granted. We have to fight. We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism.”
In a part of his speech where he contrasted the values of post-World War II statesmen with the current administration, he refused to mention the latter by name — although he did take aim at one of its most identifiable slogans.
McCain said that the statesmen had come to the conclusion “that the American example and American leadership are indispensable to securing a peaceful and prosperous future. Our failure to remain engaged in Europe and enforce the hard-won peace of 1918 had made that clear. There could be no more isolationism, no more tired resignation — no more ‘America First.’”
McCain, of course, is equating — possibly deliberately and dishonestly — Trump’s “America First” with the America First Committee, a WWII-era anti-war, isolationist group. This group, led by Sears Roebuck executive Robert E. Wood and aviation hero Charles Lindbergh, vociferously opposed entry into the war against Hitler’s Germany that were not always admirable or moral.
The comparisons between a slogan meant to emphasize what many conservatives feel was the Obama administration’s excessive accommodation to internationalism and globalism with a discredited movement that sought to stay out of an active war between fascist, racist, genocidal powers is, one would hope, nothing more than rhetoric.
Judging by Senator McCain’s recent history with the Trump administration — he’s killed the Republican bill to replace Obamacare and intimated he found the Obama administration more up to his liking, for instance — one is not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
McCain has done some good in his past for the GOP. We wish him the best in his fight against cancer. However, I’m getting a bit sick of having to append those caveats onto the end of every single story involving something the Arizona lawmaker has done to blight the conservative cause or blunt the edge of the Trump agenda.
Let’s face facts: McCain has become an incorrigible RINO, wholly determined to act as a roadblock to his party’s efforts to undo the damage of the Obama era. Part of this seems to involve smearing the president at every opportunity possible.
If John McCain really wants to do something great for America, we have a simple suggestion for him: Retirement.
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