BOSTON (CBS) – If they’re on the ball over at the Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate there on Columbia Point, they’ve already got Sen. John McCain’s speech on the Senate floor Tuesday on a continuous reel in the lobby.
If you missed it, McCain – just back from cancer surgery – voted to allow the Trumpcare debate to proceed and then delivered a stern lecture to his fellow Senators about how to do their jobs.
It was an impassioned, poignant speech that described how the Senate’s “arcane rules and customs are deliberately intended to require broad cooperation to function well at all.”
“The most revered members of this institution accepted the necessity of compromise in order to make incremental progress,” noted McCain.
“Incremental progress” doesn’t make for much of a bumper sticker, but McCain called it “the most we can expect from our system of government” in a “diverse,” “quarrelsome” and “free” country like ours.
But he also called it “a magnificent achievement” compared with “the injustice and cruelties inflicted by autocratic governments,” a subject McCain had ample time to ponder while being tortured in a North Vietnamese prison for more than five years.
McCain’s plea was for due process and bipartisanship to seize control of the pitiful, hyperpartisan, backroom handling of Trumpcare, but as eloquent as his case is, who among us has any confidence that will happen?
Washington is firmly in the grip of the Baby-Boomers, the “me” generation, right-wing Boomers for now, but still Boomers.
And it seems like the humility and communal sense of mission of Sen. McCain’s generation didn’t make the transition.