Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Josh Marshall asks for theories of Hero McCain. I have three:

  1. After 10 years of being a largely-destructive Republican—most notably in his injection of Sarah Palin into our public sphere—he simply decided: f--- it, it's time to be an American and a senator again.

  2. Roid rage: steroid doses to reduce brain swelling after surgery put him in a temper.

  3. There are fourteen Republican senators—Susan Collins, R-ME, Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, John McCain, R-A, Dean Heller R-NV, Lamar Alexander R-TN, Shelley Moore Capito R-WV, Rob Portman R-OH, Bob Corker R-TN, Tom Cotton R-AK, Lindsey Graham R-SC, Mike Lee R-UT, Jeff Flake R-AZ, Ben Sasse R-NB, Jerry Moran R-KS—plus 50 Republican representatives who would rather that this ObamaCare repeal thing crash. Murkowski and Collins could oppose repeal and strengthen their local political standing. The question was who else would join them—and would it be better to oppose it in a group or to simply put up one of their number so that McConnell could say "I really tried hard", and they decided that it was better for it to barely fail, and then McCain wanted the Mr. Smith role.


Josh Marshall: Taking Stock Of Trumpcare’s Epic Collapse – Talking Points Memo: "I had a very hard time believing the result would be what it turned out to be...

...A big part of that was my read of John McCain. I’ve frequently criticized McCain for many years, especially as he moved more decisively into being a reliable GOP vote starting in the build up to his 2008 presidential run. In most cases, I think those criticisms were right and merited. He earned them. But he surprised me last night. And it will be very hard for me to ever forget that moment, especially in light of what we have heard about Sen. McCain in recent days.

What is still unclear to me is why he did what he did. I don’t imply any cynical motive. But did he at the final moment simply refuse to support a bill that would have such devastating consequences for so many? Or was it more a matter of procedure and process, as he seemed to suggest? I don’t know and for the moment at least it doesn’t matter terribly. But his choice was decisive and it feels like a defining moment. It was almost cinematic drama...