On Tuesday, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska cited anonymous sources in a tweet claiming that John McCain was bitten by a cobra, and “after five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.”
While these claims can’t be validated by a quick Google search, given Senator McCain’s grit and toughness, would anyone really be surprised he gave a cobra the business?
I can’t think of a man who better embodies the phrase “down, but not out.” John McCain was a boxing champion at the U.S. Naval academy at 180 pounds before boxing was separated into weight classes. In Vietnam, his plane was shot down from the sky. He spent over five years as a POW in North Vietnam, regularly undergoing extreme torture and beatings. During his congressional campaign in 1981, he walked to over 25,000 houses in the sweltering Arizona heat. In his presidential bid of 2008, amidst campaign troubles and traumatic defeat, he responded with dignity and integrity.
McCain’s over five decades of civil service has been consistently thematic: he’s tough as nails, and life is always going to need a bigger hammer if it wants to knock him down. His actions Tuesday are the latest testament to that motto.
Only 11 days after a major surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain and the devastating diagnosis of aggressive brain cancer, John McCain stormed the senate floor. After being lauded and welcomed by colleagues, McCain cast his vote in favor of proceeding to debate on repealing and replacing Obamacare. Because two Republican Senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted no on the motion, his essential vote brought the final tally to a 50-50 tie. This allowed Vice President Pence to vote in favor and pass the motion. Without McCain’s resilience, Tuesday would have marked the biggest failure to date in a string of failures from the GOP’s repeal and replace efforts.
Even after he saved the vote on Obamacare, McCain wasn’t done. From there, he went on to give a 15 minute speech, full of vigor and well-timed quips that seemed to stoke the coals of a Republican coalition whose momentum was growing cold.
After a nearly exclusively partisan vote, McCain pressed bipartisanship in his speech. With a large, stitched incision over his left brow, he reminded the Senate of its statesmanly customs, and how the chamber is currently failing the American people. He informed the Senate he would be in D.C. for a few days to manage the debate on the bipartisan defense authorization bill to allocate more funds to the Pentagon. Before he yielded the floor, he told colleagues he has “every intention of returning here and giving many of you cause to regret all the nice things you said about me.”
The implicit message was clear: statesmanship should be strived for, but when your democratic opposition is completely negligent and stands in the way of forwarding the American people’s wishes, you serve the American people before all else.
With that being said, tell Senator Sasse I heard a rumor the cobra died in three.
Bradley Devlin is a student at the University of California Berkeley studying Political Economy and serves as the secretary of the Berkeley College Republicans.