There’s really no delicate way to put this. John McCain has a distinguished record as a war veteran and a prisoner of war, and his political career has included landmark legislation such as the McCain-Feingold campaign reform act. But based on his appearance before the cameras today during Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, there appears to be something very, very wrong with him – and it needs addressing.
Senator John McCain, who is not on the Senate Intel Committee, ostensibly begged his way into the hearings today so he could ask questions of former FBI Director James Comey. He then proceeded to ask questions that were too incoherent to be answered. McCain couldn’t understand why the FBI’s past investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails is completed, but its current investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal is still ongoing.
There were other Republicans on this day, such as Senator John Cornyn, who strategically tried to use their allotted time to run interference for Donald Trump by bringing up unrelated past issues about Hillary Clinton. But John McCain seemed to honestly believe that the Russia investigation is somehow about Clinton and Trump equally. He didn’t seem to understand his own questions, confusing himself in the process, and Comey was at a loss for how to respond. By the time the chairman gently informed a befuddled McCain that his time was up, it felt like an act of mercy.
It would be an unfair act of ageism to assume that, simply because he’s eighty years old and he had a completely befuddled day, he must therefore be going senile. And that term has a medical definition, which should be left to medical professionals. But today’s performance by John McCain was nothing short of disturbing, and it doesn’t take a medical professional to spot that something is wrong. It may be time to ask why he very rarely speaks publicly anymore without his friend Lindsey Graham at his side.
McCain is set to be in office for another five and a half years, and he holds several key committee positions. For everyone’s sake, we need to hope that whatever was wrong with him today isn’t typical of his current general condition. If he truly has slipped this far, his friends might consider gently talking to him about retiring early, for the sake of his own legacy. Because if you’ve ever been a fan of John Mccain, watching him today was nothing short of painful.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report