So Maybe John McCain Found Some Courage In Between A Couch Cushion

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Earlier this week, I wrote that by receiving government-funded health care to deal with his terminal brain cancer, and returning to D.C. to vote for a measure that would snatch benefits away from millions of people, John McCain — whose entire career is built on a maverick/hero narrative — exhibited a level of cowardice unique even for a city drenched in pervasive coward.


Considering his military history, there were quite a few people who disagreed with this characterization. Some vehemently. Because he has exhibited bravery in battle. But what those people fail to realize is that physical courage and moral courage are distinct concepts. Risking your body, your health, and your life requires a different type of bravery than ignoring peer and political pressure and saying and doing the right thing. And while McCain has possessed the former, the last decade of his political career — where he, among other things, shamelessly pandered to the worst of the right by making Sarah "My Arms Are Too Short To Box With Science" Palin his running mate and repeatedly swallowed his pride to support a president who exists as the antithesis to everything McCain wants us to believe he represents — has been severely lacking in the latter.

But early this morning, in a surprise to nearly everyone in Washington, McCain voted against the GOP's skinny repeal plan, giving the Affordable Care Act a reprieve and keeping millions of Americans insured.

This, of course, doesn't negate him giving Palin a national platform and the Darth Cheeto his support. But it does suggest that perhaps, in what may be the last year of his life, John McCain might have found the moral courage that has been missing for the last 10. We'll see.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Damon Young

also, to be clear, i'm not here to give him any cookies. but my piece earlier this week was written specifically because i thought he was going to do something that he actually didn't do. so i have to acknowledge that.