JOHN MCCAIN appeared to be about to be the savior of the Republican Party health law when he returned to the Capitol despite a diagnosis of brain cancer. Turned out to be the executioner.
The Arizona senator for a long time surprised almost everyone on Friday by turning on his party and its president and joining two other GOP senators in voting “no” on Republicans’ final effort to repeal “Obamacare.” And he also dealt with what looks like a deadly blow to the Republican Party’s years of promises to get rid of Barack Obama’s health care bill, promises that helped the Republican Party gain control of the House, Senate and White House.
It was an ardent moment of drama, irony and contradictions, playing live on a tense floor of the Senate.
Eighty years old and in the twilight of a remarkable career, McCain lived up to his reputation as a maverick. When he entered the Senate well around 1:30 am and gave a thumbs down to the legislation, there were audible gasps. The Democrats briefly broke into acclaim, that minority leader Chuck Schumer quickly waved his arm to calm.
The majority leader, Mitch McConnell, stood with his arms folded. McCain had just saved the legislative achievement of the man’s signature who beat him for the presidency in 2008, a bill that the senator himself had fought vigorously against the Senate’s sixth term last year.