The Legacies of John and Paul

No, not those of Messrs. Lennon and McCartney; rather, those of John McCain and Paul Ryan.

Mr. Ryan first. In an item otherwise not widely reported (at least I didn’t see it mentioned elsewhere), the Wall Street Journal reported in late March that the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, whom I have asserted in earlier notes did precious little to protect the sanctity of this nation or maintain a Congressional balance of power in the face of President Trump’s aberrant excesses … has been named to the Board of Directors of Fox Corp., the newly formed corporation spun off from 21st Century Fox when Walt Disney Co. purchased 21st Century Fox’ entertainment assets. Fox Corp. owns, amongst other assets, Fox News and the Fox broadcast network and television stations. Lachlan Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch, is the chairman and chief executive of Fox Corp. In its piece, the Journal circumspectly noted — as all who care are aware – that the Murdoch family is a significant shareholder in Fox Corp. and the Journal’s own parent, News Corp.

Mr. Ryan is undoubtedly making more money today than he ever made in his public career. Thus, perhaps the final meaningful entry to Mr. Ryan’s legacy: If you’re a good boy, keep your head down, follow the party line, smile respectfully and dutifully … you’ll ultimately be taken care of.

Mr. McCain last … but certainly not least. At about the same time that Fox Corp. was announcing the appointment of Mr. Ryan to its Board of Directors, President Trump renewed his virulent criticism of the late Sen. John McCain. Although those that read these pages are probably well aware of the President’s recent attacks on Sen. McCain – then seven months deceased — a link to a New York Times piece setting forth the litany of Mr. Trump’s comments is included below. The article also recounts the vigorous defenses of Mr. McCain and vociferous denunciations of the President that followed Mr. Trump’s declarations regarding Mr. McCain. A huge number of commentators decried the President’s castigation of a deceased war hero who could no longer defend himself.

Although worth reading in its entirety, two passages in the Times piece seem to me particularly noteworthy:

The paragraph citing UT Sen. Mitt Romney, who tweeted: “I can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God.”

And to me the most notable: the comment of Sen. McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, included near the article’s conclusion: “I think if I had told my dad, ‘Seven months after you’re dead, you’re going to be dominating the news and all over Twitter,’ he would think it’s hilarious that our president was so jealous of him that he was dominating the news cycle in death as well.”

Even before reading Ms. McCain’s comments, and while fully sympathizing with and understanding the McCain family’s vehement defense of Sen. McCain and the widespread denunciations of the President’s churlish attacks on a dead man, it had occurred to me that in whatever consciousness exists after death, as tough minded as he was, Mr. McCain would be thinking: “Trump can’t stand it. He can’t stand manifestations of honor, of guts, of sacrifice, of duty, of fidelity to something greater than himself. I’ve gotten in his head. Even when I’m dead, he can’t let it go. Even from the grave, I’ve won …”

That’s … a legacy …

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