A phase that would pass

Does it make sense to see McCain as The Good Wing of the Republicans? The New Yorker toys with the question:

McCain spent the months after Trump’s Inauguration on an international reassurance tour, telling overseas allies the story that some Republicans in Washington were telling themselves—that Trump’s authoritarianism would be constrained by those around him, that this was a phase that would pass.

Or to put it another way, “It’s not our fault.”

“He has a lot of faith in Mattis,” Salter said, of James Mattis, the Secretary of Defense. In February, 2017, at the Munich Security Conference, an annual meeting of Western military officers and defense officials, McCain, without naming the President, delivered a broadside against Putin, Trump, and the national retrenchments across the West that struck some valedictory notes. “I refuse to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries,” McCain said. “I am a proud, unapologetic believer in the West, and I believe we must always, always stand up for it.”

Salter said, “That speech was really, ‘Hey, this thing we’ve done together is the greatest thing an alliance of nations has ever done in history. Be proud of it. It’s worth preserving. Don’t give up on us.’ ” Of course the nativism he so despised had taken hold of his own political party, and his choice of Sarah Palin as his Vice-Presidential nominee marked an obvious pivot toward Trumpism.

Indeed it was. His repudiation of it came a good deal too late.

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