By Jon Keller

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.”

mccain1 Keller @ Large: Will John McCains Call For Bipartisanship Happen?

Sen. John McCain returned to the U.S. Senate July 25, 2017. (WBZ-TV)

“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.

Comments (2)
  1. The hyper-partisan nature of the Senate began in earnest with the ratification of the 17th Amendment which allowed for the popular election of senators. This had the effect of turning it into the “beauty” or “popularity” contest instead of the selection by politicians of a politician of skill and congeniality who could achieve a consensus of the very political bodies from which the selection was made.

    Having the state legislatures select the senators allowed for the selection of “statesmen” instead of dedicated partisans, compromisers instead of ideologs, and delegates who knew the interests and needs of the states and their state’s people/

    Does anyone really think that Ed Markey, our Third Senator from Maryland. or Elizabeth Warren, our Okie Cher’e’okee, would have been the choices of our legislature to representatives in that august body?

    Does anyone really think that Ed Markey or Elizabeth Warren are going to be the leaders if cooperative legislating efforts in to pass meaningful and helpful legislation.

    Does anyone REALLY think that Ed Markey or Elizabeth Warren are ever going to rise above “political hack” actually to become “statesmen”.

    If you do, there will be a bridge sale at the site of the now-removed tolls on the Tobin Bridge at 6:00 am on July 32nd.

  2. David Keith says:

    “The hyper-partisan nature of the Senate began in earnest with the ratification of the 17th Amendment which ALLOWED FOR [my emphasis] the popular election of senators …”

    “Allowed for”? How about “required”?

    That aside, do you seriously contend that partisanship began in earnest only in the 20th century???

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