John Sidney McCain, Arizona's 77-year-old senior United States Senator, implied this week that he may retire when his current term ends in January of 2017. McCain, who is currently serving his fifth term in the Senate, will have served thirty years when this term ends. I applaud his decision to even talk about retirement - and hope that he follows through.
John McCain has had his moments as a senator. He was still in his first year in the Senate when he got caught up in the Keating Five scandal, an event that could have easily capsized his political canoe. But Arizonans, being Arizonans, didn't let a national political scandal influence their votes. McCain went on to buck his Republican Party on enough occasions that he was able to begin self-promoting himself as a "maverick."
In my estimation, the high point of John McCain's political career was in 2000 when he challenged George W. Bush for the Republican Presidential nomination. McCain came across as a principled outsider who was chewed up politically by the Bush dirty tricks machine and sleazy campaign that rivaled anything from the Nixon era.
If McCain had maintained the integrity that he showed during the 2000 primary campaign, he might be President today. Instead he decided that it would be smart politics to tack right. He wound up becoming a robotic ideologue in the same mold as Bush and Cheney. McCain burned his maverick credentials in 2006 when he traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia, to kiss the ring of fundamentalist huckster Jerry Falwell. Then in 2008, when he was finally successful in gaining the Presidential nomination, one of his first acts as nominee-apparent was to name Sarah Palin as his running mate. For a man who desired to be known for his foreign relations heft, that decision was dumbfounding.
For the past several years since he lost the presidential election of 2008 to Barack Obama, John McCain has made himself a
But all of that aside, thirty years is a full career - a total of eight years longer than he served in the military. There comes a time to hang it up, and for the 77-year-old senator from the Scorpion State, that time has almost arrived.
Pack it in, John - and start spending Sundays with your family.