Complaints about our broken government come in bunches. One item on which all Americans agree is that if it is to be repaired, Democrats and Republicans must work together. That will never happen if the members of the GOP owe his or her allegiance to the TEA Party. They don’t have the ability to negotiate; they demand things their way. When Washington last accomplished the passing of significant legislation is beyond my memory. During that time period the word ‘compromise’ was still in Congress’ dictionary. John McCain is a true Republican; he may be gruff, and a little too eager to rush into war, but he does know how to be a legislator.
In the past it was not unusual for a friendship and mutual respect to exist between members of both parties. McCain has often been associated with Democrats, and today he is allied with another. Arizona Senator John McCain, a 78-year-old Republican, and Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, a 42-year-old Democrat, are holding a joint meeting about Ukraine in Hartford today. Although they are separated by geography, age, and ideologies, they have created a bond.
This is not the first time the two Senators have taken a position on Ukraine. They traveled together in 2013 and stood in Kiev’s Independence Square. They were speaking to hundreds of thousands of pro-European citizens who were demanding the resignation of then President Viktor Yanukovych. Both men described the experience as one of the most moving moments of their lives.
Although they agree on Ukraine, they are far apart on philosophy. McCain jokingly said of Murphy: “I think he’s a communist.” He made another remark referring to Murphy’s appearance. He said: “If I was as good looking as he is, I would be the president today.”
Probably the most well-known friendship in the Senate was between the late Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, and the Republican Senator from Utah, Orin Hatch.
Hatch has served in the Senate since 1977; When Kennedy died in 2009, he had served for 46 years. Although the two men were close friends, they had many battles over the issues of their day; always able to find a solution.
Hatch granted an interview to PBS the day after Kennedy died from his battle with brain cancer. He told Judy Woodruff that although they did have some horrendous battles, politics never interfered with their friendship.
And both Senators helped each other achieve goals for the good of the American people.
Hatch told a story about when he first took charge of the Labor and Human Resources Committee in 1981. Two of his own Republicans were quite liberal; the committee was out of balance. He asked Kennedy to help him find some way to secure an agreement. Kennedy did not hesitate to assist the younger Senator. That was the beginning of a relationship which lasted until Kennedy’s death.
Is the relationship between John McCain and Chris Murphy a glimpse into the future of a ‘working’ Congress? One can only hope.
However, I don’t see it happening with Elizabeth Warren and Ted Cruz.
By James Turnage