John McCain Isn't the Hero of the Healthcare Defeat

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Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.

Not sure if you caught this one, but Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) cast a decisive final vote to sink his party’s latest legislative effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the early hours of Friday morning.

AKA McCain, who’s currently battling an aggressive brain tumor, did the most baseline human thing to preserve the dignity and right to access affordable healthcare for millions of his fellow Americans, including those battling his same condition. To have done any less would’ve been a death sentence for countless human beings, and it must be noted that he was joined by only two other members of his party—Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, both of whom voted consistently against the bill, unlike him—to tank the vote.


Beltway journalists hailed McCain’s vote as “dramatic” and a “movie script” ending which, of course, is just the framing that the Arizona senator, a self-proclaimed political maverick, wanted. There is absolutely nothing new about this breathless coverage of McCain’s actions. But as journalists were dogging him for how he was leaning ahead of the vote, McCain tellingly urged them to “watch the show,” like the battle to save access to affordable, life-saving care — which was so serious that people in wheelchairs routinely risked arrest to voice their dissent — was an episode of fucking “Jeopardy.”

It was all about ratings, all about how it would play, and all about heroics. It should’ve been about doing the right fucking thing by millions of Americans.

At least that godawful bill is dead, for now; I can appreciate an objectively good thing when it happens. But here’s a novel idea for the future: Let’s vow to never again get to the point where we’re reliant on McCain, or any other Republican, to do the right thing. And let’s thank the actual people who turned this bill toxic: the activists and ordinary citizens who protested, got arrested, and made their senators understand the price they would pay if the bill passed.


And I’m going to keep saying it until I’m blue in the face: the only answer is single payer.


Managing Editor, Splinter

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