Jeet Heer: McCain's Funeral: "McCain's funeral was very moving and appropriately political (as befits the funeral of a major political figure)...
....But it also reflected the weakness of a certain type of politics, Decency Resistance or Ancien Régime Resistance. To say the funeral was political is not to insult it—I'd argue the funeral of any major political figure is inescapably political, an occasion for staking out a legacy and laying claim to a heritage. McCain himself designed it that way. The overriding message of the funeral was to contrast, by barely disguised subtweets, McCain's decency & patriotism with Trump's squalor, selfishness & bigotry. The problem with the staging of the funeral is that it was designed to draw a contrast between the old establishment (bipartisanly embodied by Bush & Obama) with the off-stage Trump.
But that's false dichotomy. That old establishment created Trump. As I've been arguing for the last 3 years, Trump wasn't created out of an immaculate conception but is the true heir to generations of bad politics, notably GOP "Southern Strategy" of race-baiting. McCain himself illustrates the true complex dichotomy here: yes, he stood up to Trump & offered an alternative nationalism. But McCain, by picking Palin & also fostering conspiracy theories about ACORN, helped pave the way for Trump.
Beyond the Southern Strategy & Palin, think of all the other elite choices that led to Trump: the lies of the Iraq war, the mainstreaming of Islamophobia, the casino economics that led to the 2008 meltdown, Obama's failure to prosecute bankers. We've had decades of elite failure, elite impunity, and elite coddling of racism, elite promotion of anti-intellectualism (think of climate denial). Are we surprised that the end result is President Trump? And also elite tolerance of corruption. Figures like Paul Manafort skirted the law for decades and were welcome by the likes of Reagan and Dole. Any surprise they would take the next step & elect, with foreign help, Trump?
The message of the funeral was "The American establishment has a bipartisan contempt for Trump." What was missing was any sense of responsibility by that establishment for creating Trump. The failure of the elite to come to terms with its own responsibility vitiates everything at the funeral—Meghan McCain's righteous anger, Obama's eloquent thoughtfulness, Bush's cutesy candy-sharing. The message of the funeral was "once we get rid of Trump, the grown-ups can take over again." Sorry, won't work. You had your chance and you muffed it. "If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?"—Anton Chigurh. That's the question we have to ask the establishment. The rules they followed brought us here, and now they want us to return to those rules.
The American elite really thinks they can subtweet their way out of a fascist crisis. It's not so easy, my friends. John McCain was admirably blunt & forthright. We owe it to his memory to be no less honest in our appraisal of him. His complex legacy is that he both helped create Trump & resisted him...