Hruska was a highly capable U. S. Senator from Nebraska, who unfortunately, it not remembered for his skill as a legislator as much as he is for a comment he made in 1970 while defending President Nixon's nomination of Harrold Carswell as a Supreme Court justice.
The nomination was criticized by feminists and by the NAACP and Carswell's judicial career was described as mediocre.
Hruska defended Carswell, noting that mediocre people deserve representation, too.
The Senate voted down Carswell, and another Nixon nomination Clement Haynsworth was also rejected, forcing Nixon to go with a third choice, Minnesota judge Harry Blackmun, who three years later authored the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
No one has made the argument for mediocrity on the Supreme Court in the 47 years since it was mentioned by Hruska.
There is still one place, however, where mediocrity has its champion- the opinion page of the Joplin Globe, which some reason offers a platform every Sunday for Geoff Caldwell to offer the same viewpoints being offered by Fox News and conservative talk radio, the difference being- give me a second- the difference being- give me another second.
Forget it. There is no difference except the ones who receive the big bucks for expressing those viewpoints usually do so more coherently.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that one of the few times Caldwell ever strayed from writing about national politics was when he told his readers four years ago what an evil person I was and how C. J. Huff had no choice but to fire me. It always seemed peculiar to me that Caldwell and another example of Carol Stark's Roman Hruska complex, Anson Burlingame, both felt this was an issue they desperately needed to speak on and that they both then felt a need to read my novel No Child Left Alive and give it the lowest Amazon review possible. It could just be a case of like minds coming to the same conclusions. Especially on my book, since another person with similar leanings, Martin Lindstedt, also gave No Child Left Alive a low rating.
So I have no use for Caldwell's joyless style of writing.
His column in Sunday's Globe, headlined "McCain a Political Coward" was a typical example of how Caldwell's slavish devotion to following the dictates of the right wing echo chamber often leads him to ignore inconvenient facts and ascribe evil motives to anyone who does not see things the way Caldwell does.
Caldwell made a point of noting McCain's experience as a prisoner of war, but serving as a conservative version of former Vice President Spiro Agnew's alliterative "nattering nabobs of negativism" remark, he felt compelled to note how poor McCain's grades were at the U. S. Naval Academy, cast doubt on the senator's service record prior to his capture, and ripped into McCain-Feingold (Caldwell refers to it as an attack on the First Amendment instead of as an effort to get the influence of money in elections under control.
Caldwell noted that the courage McCain had shown at the Hanoi Hilton was nowhere to be found.
It appears Caldwell defines courage as whether someone agrees with his point of view.
Whether I would define what McCain did as an act of courage, I don't know.
What I do know is that McCain flew from Arizona where he had just been diagnosed with a deadly form of brain cancer that will most likely take his life within the next couple of years to cast his vote. If that is not courage, it certainly shows conviction.
McCain made no pretense that this skinny repeal actually would do anything to improve healthcare for Americans. While most of his Republican colleagues stayed quiet about the bill, McCain was quick to note just how bad it was.
A number of Republicans indicated they would be willing to vote for the skinny repeal, but only with the guarantee that it would never be passed into law. Now that's an act of courage voting for something you don't believe in as long as the vote doesn't end up meaning anything and gets President Trump and Mitch McConnell off your backs.
And while McCain's vote was not necessarily an act of courage, it was a matter of taking one for his team. If he had not cast the third Republican vote against the amendment, joining Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, someone else was going to have to do it and it would have been done.
Those who stayed up well past midnight to watch the vote could see that several GOP senators did not announce their votes until after the first round was completed. They waited to chime in until after McCain had cast the third vote and had taken the pressure off them.
The senators who held back their votes were ones like Dean Heller of Nevada and Rob Portman of Ohio, who have been highly critical of the repeal and replace bills that have been submitted. Thanks to McCain, none of them had to vote their conscience and strike down a bill they knew spelled nothing but problems for their constituents.
Thanks to McCain, they could all go home and say they voted to repeal Obamacare.
Maybe what John McCain did was not your typical profile in courage, but it certainly showed more courage than a columnist giving lip service to a man's heroism and then condemning him because he had bad grades and did not share his political views.