As the political world processes the news of John McCain‘s brain cancer diagnosis. the messages of support flowing in for the Arizona Senator usually include praise of his reputation for putting straight talk over politics.
People from all sides of the political spectrum are free to debate the level of McCain’s integrity, but what’s undeniable is how he was willing to refute the racist and conspiratorial narrative that emerged against Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, a quality that’s in direct contrast to the Trump campaign’s open embrace of the fringe.
The insanity we’re seeing in the pro-Trump camp in these modern times arguably had its genesis during McCain’s ’08 bid for the presidency. Birtherism, among other conspiracy theories aimed at discrediting then-candidate Obama, began to thrive during ’08 and still thrive to this day. Donald Trump’s main talking point during the run-up to his candidacy was the false claim that Obama’s birth certificate had been forged and that he was born in Kenya — a claim that was first fed to the willing ears of McCain/Palin supporters by grifters and far-right antagonists.
A widely-circulated video from a rally during McCain’s campaign illustrates the contrast between McCain and Trump. During a Q&A portion with rally attendees, McCain handed the mic to a woman who declared, “I can’t trust Obama.”
“I have read about him, and he’s not, he’s not — he’s an Arab,” the women said as a hushed audience listened.
Before she finished her words, McCain knew the angle she was taking and took the mic away from her. “No ma’am,” McCain said. “He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”
“He is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as President,” he told another attendee. “If I didn’t think I’d be one heck of a better President I wouldn’t be running, and that’s the point. I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments, I will respect him. I want everyone to be respectful, and let’s make sure we are. Because that’s the way politics should be conducted in America.”
Watch the video below:
Reminder: When Sen McCain was running against Sen Obama he repeatedly defended his honor and shut down conspiracy theories. As it should be. pic.twitter.com/TK6n17zRHM
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) July 20, 2017
[H/T Yashar Ali] Featured image via screen grab