FoxNews commentator Morton Kondracke was initially a John McCain enthusiast. Writing in the book about his wife's Parkinson's disease, Saving Milly*, Kondracke relates the story of going to see the Arizona Senator about getting $100 million designated to Parkinson's research in the NIH budget. Kondracke said about McCain, "I admired [him]--along with the bulk of the Washington press corps--for his heroism, frankness, independence and availability. I also admired him for his friendship with and loyalty to Mo Udall." (Arizona Congressman, Presidential candidate, and Parksinson's disease sufferer).
Kondracke continued: "I'd written columns comparing McCain to Theodore Roosevelt and urging him to run for President in 2000. But the encounter over Parkinson's convinced me that--noble soul though he is--McCain was not White House material after all."
The encounter Kondracke describes was a meeting with McCain to ask him to co-sponsor, along with Senator Paul Wellstone, an amendment to write $100 million into the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, for Parkinson's research because NIH had been refusing to increase Parkinson's funding. That is, he was telling McCain that making the appropriation was not enough, Congress needed to direct NIH to do the research.
Kondracke describes McCain as becoming "irate", claiming this amounted to pork (although it was going to the NIH), so Kondracke asked him, "if you believed the United States needed a certain weapon to protect the nation's security, but the appropriations committee had refused to fund it, you wouldn't fight on the Senate floor to get the money?"
McCain said, "that's right. That's pork, I would never do it".
So, Mr. Security himself, John McCain, would not even fight on the Senate floor for a weapon he thought necessary to protect the country.
Kondracke went beyond the substance of the matter to make an astute observation on the nature of McCain: "I decided then that McCain, despite his virtues, was simply too rigid to be a good president." Note also how easily and quickly McCain became "irate".
McCain seemed unable to distinguish a bad fight from a good one, pork (bridges to nowhere to serve a hometown interest) from national policy (improving treatment for a devastating illness that strikes randomly and costs the country billions).
Kondracke was unable to save Milly. Perhaps this vignette about John McCain, from an enthusiast, will help save the nation and the world from a McCain Presidency.
*[Morton Kondracke, Saving Milly, PublicAffairs: 2001, p.200-201]