On April 8, 2008, at 2:17 p.m, the Senate agreed to a motion to invoke cloture on the Dodd Amendment No. 4387. Senator John McCain voted yes. So did Senator Barack Obama. This was an historic moment in the history of the U.S. Senate.
It was not historic because Senators McCain and Obama agreed. It was historic because it was the last time Senator John McCain voted.
Since the earth-shattering, world changing afternoon in early April, Senator Barack Obama has voted on such diverse issues as Medicare, Veterans Affairs, Flood Insurance, and the U.S. Budget. He voted on the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Perhaps you are not completely sure what all of those votes were about. That's okay: it's not as though you cast any. And neither did U.S. Senator John S. McCain.
We [Republicans] believe -- we believe in low taxes, spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk-takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor. We believe... We believe -- we believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life... personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don't legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods, and communities.
Rousing words, indeed. Weighty words. Words of history and substance. Those words illustrated perfectly the weight, substance, and historic dignity of Senator John McCain's zero votes in the U.S. Senate since April 8, 2008, at 2:17 p.m.
We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans, government that doesn't make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself. I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. I will open... I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them.
Epic, stirring, Republican words. Words meant to articulate the philosophy behind Republican Senator John McCain's votes cast since April 8, 2008. The words were grand, eloquent, and utterly necessary, since there were no votes to do the talking.
On May 20, Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Since the diagnosis, Kennedy has voted one time in the U.S. Senate: on July 9, 2008, on Medicare. "Vote 169: On the Cloture Motion: Upon Reconsideration, Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to Consider H.R. 6331; Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008." Senator Kennedy voted "Yes."
Senator Barack Obama also voted "Yes."
Senator John McCain did not vote "Yes." He did not vote "No," either. He didn't vote. U.S. Senator John S. McCain had better things to do. Better things involving "health care," a phrase which appeared four times in his historic acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.
McCain's words were historic because they laid out his Republican vision to capture the Republican White House from Republicans, for Republicans. A vision seen in action when Senator Kennedy voted "Yes" on "health care" while suffering from a malignant brain tumor and Senator McCain had better things to do.
Better things to do on that day like launch a TV ad in which Senator John McCain praised Senator John McCain's love of his country.
It was a time of uncertainty, hope and change. The Summer of Love. Half a world away another kind of love. Of country. John McCain. Shot down. Bayoneted. Tortured. Offered early release, he said no. He had sworn an oath. At home he turned to public service. His philosophy: before party, polls and self: America. A maverick.
Before party, polls, and self. Which is why McCain couldn't be bothered to vote on health care on July 9, 2008. Or to vote on anything else, for that matter, since April 8, nearly half a year ago. What, after all, is a brain tumor now compared to being shot down, bayonneted and tortured 40 years ago?
Nothing, that's what.
John S. McCain. Proud Republican. Seeking to recapture the Republican White House from Republicans, for Republicans. Before public service. Before voting. A maverick.
(Hat tip to Harper's Index for pointing out the Kennedy/McCain voting record.)