The man who wanted to put Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the American presidency has something to tell us about Brexit
Following swift on the heels of former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton’s welcome words of support for Brexit and the campaign for Britain to reclaim our democracy, Senator John McCain comes charging in to defend the status quo.
From the Times (+):
It is a few weeks before we get Barack Obama’s intervention in the EU referendum debate, but today we get a foretaste of America’s view of Brexit.
John McCain, the US senator defeated by Obama in 2008, has issued a blunt warning after meeting MPs on the Commons defence select committee that the “need for a strong and united Europe is greater than ever”.
Warning that Britain and the US are “confronting the most diverse and complex array of crises since the end of World War II”, McCain claims that “British membership in the EU is a vital contributor to the security and prosperity of Europe and the United States”.
He insists it is a decision for the British people, but notes that “whatever the outcome of the referendum on EU membership, it will send a strong message to Vladimir Putin”.
At least McCain does little to disguise that his view of Brexit is coloured almost entirely by his view of the American national interest, rather than what might be best for America’s strongest and closest ally, or for democracy in general – so in that regard he is slightly better than President Obama, who presumes to lecture the British people on what is best for them.
The Times – which seems to have deliberately ignored Ambassador Bolton’s contradictory intervention in the debate yesterday – goes on to suggest that Brexit supporters might have a difficult time dismissing a decorated war veteran like John McCain, as though a person’s military exploits from close to half a century ago have a direct bearing on their judgement about another country’s internal affairs.
Nonsense. If John McCain’s judgement is a factor at all here, then the failed presidential candidate who selected Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate hasn’t a leg to stand on.
Let’s recall Senator John McCain’s finest hour:
The person I’m about to introduce to you was a union member and is married to a union member, and understands the problems, the hopes and the values of working people; knows what it’s like to worry about mortgage payments and health care, the cost of gasoline and groceries. A standout high school point guard; a concerned citizen who became a member of the PTA; then a city council member, and then a mayor; and now a governor who beat the long odds to win a tough election on a message of reform and public integrity. And, I am especially proud to say in the week we celebrate the anniversary of women’s suffrage, a devoted wife and a mother of five.
She’s not — she’s not from these parts and she’s not from Washington. But when you get to know her, you’re going to be as impressed as I am. She’s got the grit, integrity, good sense and fierce devotion to the common good that is exactly what we need in Washington today. She knows where she comes from and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what’s right, and she doesn’t let anyone tell her to sit down. She’s fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats, and anyone who puts their interests before the interests of the people she swore an oath to serve.
She’s exactly who I need, she’s exactly who this country needs, to help me fight — to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me-first and country second.
My friends and fellow Americans, I am very pleased and very privileged to introduce to you the next vice president of the United States — Gov. Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.
And this is the person whose advice we should be fawning over when it comes to global security, the future of our democracy and our right to self-determination here in Britain?
We have enough politicians and high profile public figures with calamitous judgement and weak powers of prognostication here in Britain, without importing any more uninformed voices from overseas.
I think you can sit out this round, Senator.
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