Horowitz: McCain Plans to Be Heard Even After He’s Gone
Tuesday, May 08, 2018
In a series of orchestrated media leaks, close associates of the former Republican Presidential candidate have let it be known that the White House has been told that Vice-President Pence is welcome to attend his funeral, but not President Trump. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will deliver eulogies, visibly symbolizing the bi-partisan cooperation that McCain has championed over his years in the US Senate.
Obama and Bush both defeated John McCain in presidential contests. As a result, their prominent speaking roles also send a strong message that one can respect and work with political opponents. Demonizing opponents as enemies, McCain believes, is not only counter-productive; it makes it more difficult for our democracy to function well.
Given McCain’s generous embrace of former adversaries, it is difficult to argue as some Trump allies unpersuasively did on television this past weekend that McCain’s decision to exclude President Trump is a matter of personal pique, resulting mainly from then candidate Trump saying that McCain wasn’t really a war hero because he was captured. While I am sure Trump’s outrageous comments didn’t help, especially given that he has never apologized for them, McCain’s main motivation is to hammer home his view that Trump's daily assault on democratic norms are dangerous for our nation.
By not inviting Trump to the funeral, McCain is consciously using the marking of his death to dramatize the contrast between his generous vision of leadership and our democracy and the self-involved, small and divisive actions of the current president. He knows that his disinviting of the president and why will be a major part of what promises to be wall-to-wall media coverage.
Unveiling his funeral plans, provided the added benefit of generating more interest in McCain’s forthcoming book, “The Restless Wave” and an HBO documentary about the senator, both slated to be out later this month. In a front-page article about McCain in this past Sunday’s New York Times, Jonathan Martin describes these projects: “The film and the book, a copy of which The New York Times obtained independently of Mr. McCain, amount to the senator’s final say on his career and a concluding argument for a brand of pro-free trade and pro-immigration Republicanism that, along with his calls for preserving the American-led international order, have grown out of fashion under President Trump.”
In his new book, McCain criticizes the president’s shallow, faux toughness: “He seems uninterested in the moral character of world leaders and their regimes The appearance of toughness or a reality show facsimile of toughness seems to matter more than any of our values. Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity.” Additionally, he points out that Trump’s penchant for calling news he doesn’t like “fake news” has given autocrats around the world cover to crack down on any independent media outlets in their own countries.
I expect Senator McCain’s book and the documentary will get a wide audience. At this time of testing for our democracy, his principled and clear-eyed voice will elevate the debate and better enable us to face hard truths. As the apt slogan of his 2008 Presidential campaign asserted, Senator McCain continues to put country first.
And you have to hand it to the so-called “maverick” and genuine American hero. He has shrewdly figured out how to make sure his views echo beyond the grave.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political
Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017
Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?
Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...
Definitely be voting: 78%
Probably be voting: 13%
What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?
Jobs and economy: 21%
State budget: 9%
Corruption/Public integrity: .8%
Don’t know: .9%
Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?
Net: Approve: 28%
Definitely approve: 15%
Probably approve: 14%
Net: Reject: 67%
Probably reject: 19%
Definitely reject: 48%
Don't know: 4%
The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).
$50,000 or less: 27%
More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%
More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%
More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%
$150,000 or more: 13%
Don't know/refused: 17%
What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?
Black or African American: 6%
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