Monday, August 27, 2018

Remembering John McCain

One of the unique things about being at The Ohio State University is that presidential candidates often visit campus. The student population is one of the largest in the country and being in a swing state makes the campus an attractive venue for candidates to share their message. Plus, Columbus has a fairly large media market, so candidates know that they will get coverage in central Ohio and throughout the state. As a graduate student in 2000, I was able to see Al Gore, John McCain, and Carrot Top (though I don't think the latter was running for president). With McCain passing away on Saturday, this post is obviously about him.

I don't remember if McCain used the "Maverick" label at the time, and I honestly don't remember anything about the speech. It may have just been me learning more about McCain, especially his time as a POW, but I came away from his rally being impressed. He seemed more honest and genuine than many other politicians. McCain ended up losing the Republican primary to George W. Bush, and it's interesting (that's one word to use) to have seen what would have happened if McCain won the 2000 election.

In my opinion, McCain realized that he had to go more to the right to get the Republican nomination. While I don't have a specific example of this off the top of my head, it seemed like he played more to the base between 2000 and when he ran again in 2008. This time, he successfully won the nomination, but lost the general election to Barack Obama.

Over the past few years, McCain has been one of the few Republicans willing to speak out against Donald Trump, even though he ended up voting for many of his policies. I'm actually not sure if I admire McCain or not for not stooping to Trump's level after the ridiculous statement that “[McCain] was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” While I disagree with many of his politics, I admire McCain for his service and being one of the seemingly few politicians willing to work with Senators and members of Congress from the opposing party. McCain dedicated his life to the United States and deserves respect and appreciation for this.

RIP Senator.

Photo from

Proof that McCain spoke at Ohio State on February 26, 2000 courtesy of The Lantern.

Update: Drew Magary of GQ has some thoughts on McCain that is worth checking out.

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