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John McCain: A View from the Hill© Marc Shapiro 2018

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Digital ISBN: 9781626014787

Print ISBN: 9781626014770

First Edition September 2018


Drive, determination, bravery, passion, character and just plain true grit—are all traits we strive to possess in our lives. Some of us are persistent enough to hang onto them through the years—even decades—and they will be the things people remember us for long after we’re in the ground. Some of us lose our way and are blinded by temptation. John McCain is one of the former. If you’re looking for a role model to guide you through life, look no further than John McCain.

Table of Contents

Author’s Note: More Than Meets the Eye

Introduction: Thumbs Down

Chapter One: Mr. McCain Goes to Washington

Chapter Two: Reagan Country

Chapter Three: In the Public Eye

Chapter Four: A New Sheriff in Town

Chapter Five: Moving On

Chapter Six: See John Run

Chapter Seven: Run John Run

Chapter Eight: Unfinished Business

Chapter Nine: Third Term’s the Charm

Chapter Ten McCain Goes Fourth

Chapter Eleven: Ramping Up to ‘08

Chapter Twelve: Once More into The Breech

Chapter Thirteen: Fighting the Good Fight

Chapter Fourteen: Rules of Engagement

Chapter Fifteen: Playing the Game

Chapter Sixteen: Rough and Tumble

Chapter Seventeen: Back in the Ring

Chapter Eighteen: Body Blows

Chapter Nineteen: The Hard Way

Chapter Twenty: Go Gentle

Chapter Twenty-One: Into That Good Night

Chapter Twenty-Two: Last Days of Summer

Chapter Twenty-Three: Nearing the End of the Story

Chapter Twenty-Four: Plans

Chapter Twenty-Five: Rest in Peace

Epilogue: Last Words



Author’s Note

More Than Meets the Eye

The chances are that even if you have had only a marginal interest in the passing political parade over the past two plus decades, you would know the basics of Senator John McCain’s life and times. Hard scrabble early days. War hero. Prisoner of war for six years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Veteran member of the Senate. Staunch conservative. Republican to the core. Republican presidential candidate. If you know that much, you’ve got the broad strokes of John McCain.

Thanks in large part to John McCain himself.

Over the years, McCain has proven himself prolific in chronicling the important times of his life, both good and bad as he saw them relating to the passing American parade. In several books that include Six Years In The Hanoi Hilton: An Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival In Vietnam, John McCain: An American Odyssey and Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir, McCain has held nothing back in describing the moments that have shaped his life and times, often tugging at the emotional fabric of America and striking at sentimental longings for the good old days. So, in a very powerful sense, when it comes to John McCain, there are no real secrets.

But there are those aspects of the man’s life that have seldom been looked at in great depth, especially when it has come to his decades-long tenure helping to shape laws and policies that have impacted the lives of countless millions. This side of his work has been touched on in newspaper interviews and features that have offered brief insights into his character and the battles he has often waged in the halls of Congress.

He’s a Republican through and through. Name the rightwing cause and the chances are good that McCain has been on board, swinging a persuasive stick in the face of doubters. But he is also a quiet rebel, not cut from any kind of preconceived mold, who can turn on the often maligned and suspect notion of partisanship without warning and cause even those who know him well to do a double take. While the years have shown that McCain’s attitudes have largely coincided with the rhythms of the Republican Party, a good third of the time he has been quick to put aside party lines and to vote his conscience, often siding with the opposition party and willing to suffer the slings and arrows of his decision.

McCain has often crossed party lines and has worked with the Democrats a lot if he saw the end result as just. He had a stoic quiet, self-effacing, humble nature often marked by a sheepish sly smile; his appearance often masked that McCain was risk taker who was not afraid to try, and to fail or succeed on the strength and courage of his convictions. And over the years, he stepped willingly into the unknown waters of politics and had both failed and succeeded. On his own terms. Because John McCain was nothing if not human, a flawed personality who had taken the chances and his lumps but who ultimately emerged triumphant.

Occasionally those traits have painted a picture of McCain as reckless and even arrogant. But when one digs deep, they find a McCain that is well-versed and sure of all the nuances and subtleties that go into making an informed decision. Long story short, McCain had always been big on research. He was a politician who read, studied and absorbed the facts and realities before making his case. It had often been easy to take issue with McCain’s decisions. But never to the process that brought him to his take on life and how, legislatively, it should be conducted for the benefit of the people who sent him to Congress to represent them.

John McCain’s dedication to duty was rife with big, small and historical moments that have shown him to be a man of character, distinction and belief. The days when he walked easily down the halls of Congress, besieged by reporters shouting questions and fellow senators asking for a moment of their time to discuss impending legislation was the pulse of John McCain’s world. To McCain, it was simply another day at the office. But a day when his decisions might well have changed the country for better or worse.

If there was a story that still needed to be told, John McCain: A View From the Hill was the story I wanted to tell. What the world already knew had been told to the point of being old news. For my money, the better stories would ultimately be revealed in the day-to-day workings and interactions of McCain in late-night, tension-filled votes and the moments that turned history, even in a minute way, in the halls of Congress. And when the idea of doing a book on McCain was suggested by my editor, perhaps owing to the success of my last political tome Trump This! The Life And Times of Donald Trump, I was more than a bit interested. The timing was certainly right.

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