His vote against the Obamacare “repeal” bill last night, which sunk the measure, and his betrayal of the will of so many Republican voters, was not about the content of the bill. It was about process. The process wasn’t great, it’s true – Republicans were ramming repeal through just like the Democrats had rammed through passage – but most people not so rigid about their “honor” and so forth could just let it go and decide that Republicans have been promising to do this for seven years, it’s best for the country, and let’s move forward.
There are, indeed, times to stand on principle. This principle was not big enough for it given the enormity of the stakes.
But not John McCain. He had to show he adheres to higher standards than the rest of the Senate. And maybe there’s a bit of “screw you” to his GOP colleagues, latent liberal sentiments, a middle finger to Donald Trump – who said something about liking people who don’t get captured – and a desire for one last dramatic John McCain moment. “Wait for the show,” he told a reporter earlier in the day when asked how he’d vote.