Even Democrats are mourning John McCain
By Patsy Nicosia
John McCain was remembered Sunday as a patriot and class act who served his country in both Vietnam and the United States Senate for 60 years in what for anyone else, might be the unlikeliest of places:
Schoharie County Democrats’ summer BBQ.
The BBQ serves as a traditional kick-off for November’s elections and speakers included Antonio Delgado, who’s challenging incumbent Republican Congressman John Faso, and Aidan O’Connor, who is taking another shot at the 102nd Assembly seat won by Chris Tague in April. (See coverage on page 13.)
Senator McCain died Saturday from a malignant brain tumor.
His insistence on putting country before policy has both Republicans and Democrats mourning his passing.
In an email statement issued Saturday, Congressman Faso called Senator McCain “an American patriot dedicated to our Constitution and the ideals it represents.
“His courage as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton will be long remembered. America has lost a dedicated and loyal son. May he rest in peace.”
“He’s someone I always had respect for,” Sharon Supervisor Sandy Manko, a Democrat, said at Sunday’s gathering. “I didn’t always agree with him, but I respected him as a man. It didn’t matter that he was a Republican. I couldn’t have liked him any better if he was a Democrat.”
Chatting at a nearby table with fellow Democrats Dolores and Jim Newell, Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe agreed.
Both Mr. Skowfoe and Mr. Newell are veterans and contrasted the Arizona prisoner of war’s service with that of President Donald Trump, who’d made light of the five years Senator McCain spent in captivity and torture, calling him a war hero only “because he was captured.”
“I like people who weren’t captured,” President Trump said during his 2016 campaign.
“It’s not about the party, it’s about representing the people,” Mr. Skowfoe said.
“I had nothing but respect for John McCain. “I think he was the last one left in Washington, red or blue, who always put the country first.”
“That’s the way it’s supposed to be,” agreed Mr. Newell. “We were just talking about it. How can you be Commander-in-Chief if you’ve never served? Senator McCain was a true patriot.”
Other Democrats spoke to Senator McCain’s willingness to take on President Trump over health care, while still others wondered what might have happened in his own Presidential bid if he hadn’t chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
In his remarks, Mr. Delgado had a long list of grievances against his opponent—contrasting him with Senator McCain as he blasted Congressman Faso over his vote against the Affordable Care Act, criticized him for refusing to hold town hall meetings, and accused him of using “misinformation to divide and muddy the waters.”
And like the other Democrats at Sunday’s gathering, he said what’s needed most in Washington is “bi-partisanship, respect, and accountability.”
“It’s not about Republicans or Democrats or even independents,” Mr. Delgado said.
“We need someone with our convictions and principles to lead the way.”