He tapped a clearly unqualified Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running-mate, and now can’t seem to walk back from that disastrous decision … he veered so far to the right during his re-election campaign, few recognize him anymore … he’s increasingly incoherent on everything from climate change (he now doubts it) to immigration reform (he now opposes his own bill) to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, even breaking from his best friends in the Senate (or is that his only friends) Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, and now, John McCain blows of a 9/11 hero. Is it time to start questioning the Senator’s mental health?
The latest episode, as chronicled by the New York Daily News, which added the above, colorful headline:
WASHINGTON – Tow truck driver T.J. Gilmartin, who hauled ruined FDNY vehicles away from Ground Zero and now suffers from breathing problems, headed to Washington this week to lobby for the $7.4 billion James Zadroga 9/11 health bill.
The 50-year-old Brooklyn native came down with a display of 29 badges of cops who’ve died from 9/11-related illnesses. With 30% of his lung capacity gone, he was huffing and puffing as he trekked across Capitol Hill in hopes of swaying a host of GOP senators, John McCain among them. It didn’t go well.
According to the NYDN, Gilmartin was able to meet with a few Senators, including Alabama Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, and while they didn’t agree with him, “they were gentlemen.” And then, Gilmartin approached McCain…
“I couldn’t get to see McCain at all. I went to his office four times, and it was all like ‘you need an appointment.’
“They gave me an email address of some guy.
“I thought I could talk to him. I mean, he’s a real hero, not like us. We’re just little half heroes.
“Our country took care of him when he came back. He was a POW. I respect that.
“I wasn’t stalking him or anything, but then I saw him in a hallway going to an elevator near the rotunda.
“It was a floor up from where they have the badges.
“I stepped in front of him, and I was very respectful. I told him who I was and I asked for his help on the Zadroga bill.
“It lasted maybe 10 or 15 seconds.
“He said ‘Thank you for your service.’
“And ‘I can’t help you.’
“Then, bang, he stepped around me and onto the elevator.
“If his eyes were daggers, I’d be dead. They’d all be in my heart.
“John McCain was pathetic. I would have thought more of him. …
(Apparently, Scott Brown blew Gilmartin off, too, but it was the encounter with McCain that left a lasting impression. Per ThinkProgress:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated that, this coming week, he will bring a 9/11 first responders bill up for a vote. The bill, which has been passed by the House, would provide $7.4 billion in medical treatment and lost wages for workers who weresickened and injured by their service at Ground Zero.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) office indicated that the chances for invoking cloture (ie, getting 60 votes to overcome a filibuster) hinge on getting more Republican support. “We still need one more Republican to come on board,” said a Gillibrand spokesman.
Clearly, McCain will not be that one more Senator. But his attitude toward Gilmartin, and his deteriorating mood almost on every issue, is starting to make McCain look a bit unhinged. He’s clearly angry and disappointed at not becoming president, first because he was stymied by George W. Bush, and then being beaten by a junior Senator from Illinois. But jeez, McCain, what gives?
The deterioration started during the 2008 campaign, and continued through the recent election, to the point that he disowned ever having called himself a “maverick.” And there have been several in depth pieces written questioning whether the McCain most of us thought we knew was really a fiction created by a credulous media. McCain has always had a reputation for getting nasty — hell, his Naval Academy nickname was “McNasty.” But over the last couple of years, he has gone from prickly to nasty to downright erratic.
And he’s got six more years in the Senate, during which time he could theoretically continue to serve even if he’s literally babbling on the Senate floor. There is, after all, no rule that I know of against Senatorial incoherence. But the people of Arizona — who already have a governor who appears to be increasingly sadistic and insane – they have one Senator, John Kyl, who’s willing to blind the U.S. to the Russian nuclear arsenal, and another, John McCain, who’s going off the deep end.
Maybe I should have titled this post “what’s the matter with Arizona?”…