It’s been obvious for quite some time that the Republican Party that we knew and loathed — the hawkish, oligarchy-supporting party of Reagan, the Bushes, and Senator John McCain — has been snatched from its crib while nobody was paying attention and replaced with a fascistic, Trumpian doppelganger that retains and amplifies all the worst qualities of its former incarnation while adding a whopping bundle of even worse traits.
The experience has been a nightmare theme park ride for those members of the party’s former establishment who have seen their views sidelined by MAGA-hatted insurgents whose limited grasp of reality is surpassed only by their hateful agendas.
With Trump out of office, these GOP members of the old guard are attempting to regain influence in a party that has mostly abandoned their leadership in favor of a bunch of manipulative pretenders with more vitriol than brains.
While the battle to oust Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) shows that the traditional Republicans are losing their battle for influence in the GOP, Cindy McCain, the widow of former Republican presidential candidate Arizona Senator John McCain, has not yet given up the fight to bring the party back from its foray into Bizarro World conspiracy theories and Trumpian lies.
Appearing on CBS‘s The Late Show, Cindy McCain told host Stephen Colbert that the Republican Party’s demotion of Rep. Cheney from her number three leadership position in the House of Representatives proves that the GOP has “lost” its way and is “rewarding bad behavior.”
“Our party is in such disarray right now,” McCain told Colbert. “It’s odd now, our party seems to be rewarding bad behavior and then trashing those who tell the truth and are honest about what’s actually going on,” she lamented.
McCain has been one of the few Arizona Republicans who have been willing to accept the reality of Donald Trump’s loss in her state, a loss at least partially attributable to the former president’s blood feud with the McCain family who remain influential in the local GOP political scene.
Still, the late senator’s widow still thinks that the Republican Party is redeemable from her optimistic perspective.
She takes faith from the principled stance of Congresswoman Cheney whom she says has “handled herself beautifully” and from her own “great faith in the human spirit.”
“I believe we’ll find our way back. But I think it’s going to take awhile,” McCain told Colbert.
When asked how her late husband might react to the division and turmoil in the present-day GOP, McCain responded without hesitation.
“I feel deep in my heart that John would be very disappointed in what’s going on and the lack of courage on the part of so many of our senators and congressmen to stand up for what this is,” she confessed.
“What we’re seeing is the demise of the party of Abraham Lincoln right now,” McCain continued. “We’ve been compromised in so many different ways and we’re no longer practicing what we used to be, and that was the party of inclusion, the party of decency and debate that was not personal. But we’re so far astray right now, it’s awful.”
“That was one of the reasons I endorsed Biden,” she explained. “There was a lack of character, a lack of decency, a lack of empathy — all the things it takes to be a good leader, and it was nonexistent in the White House.”
McCain’s endorsement of the Democratic candidate earned her a furious censure by the Arizona Republican Party for her rejection of Donald Trump, an accomplishment that she now regards as a “badge of honor” since her late husband suffered the same fate at the hands of local GOP leaders in 2014.
“We’re probably the only husband and wife team that have completely been thrown out of our party,” McCain speculated.
“It’s the way it is right now. Doesn’t bother me,” she concluded.
You can watch the video of Cindy McCain’s appearance on The Late Show in the clip below.
Original reporting by Judy Kurtz at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.