"Shields and Brooks on John McCain’s patriotism, Florida election upsets" PBS NewsHour 8/31/2018
SUMMARY: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including the service and sacrifice of Sen. John McCain, American political icon who died over the weekend, takeaways from Florida’s primary election, plus a warning made by President Trump to evangelical leaders about the stakes going into midterms.
Judy Woodruff (NewsHour): But first of the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
So, gentlemen, you just heard — you were sitting here, Mark, listening to Mark Salter remember his good friend John McCain.
What are you thinking right now?
Mark Shields, syndicated columnist: Well, I mean, Mark Salter was more than a wordsmith or even an alter ego. I mean, he was — he was John McCain. They were inseparable in thought and word.
And I thought he expressed it well. I mean, it’s an outpouring on the part of the Nation, Judy, that is beyond presidential in its admiration, its affection and its sympathy.
And I think it gives everybody in politics, in public life pause. I mean, what is it that this man had that made — that allowed him to touch so many people?
David and I have been lucky enough to spend our company in the — our time in the company of people who run for office, most of whom we like. And I can tell you what everyone’s going through in their mind right now, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans or liberals or conservatives as they look at this outpouring of affection, and that is, damn it, I will never have a funeral like this.
Mark Shields: It’s just remarkable.
Judy Woodruff: And it’s affection, as Mark is saying, David, across party lines.
David Brooks, New York Times: Yes.
And it’s for values. And one of the things that’s interesting about McCain is, though he fought in Vietnam, he’s not really a Vietnam person. He’s a World War II person. He missed the ’60s. He was in Hanoi Hilton. So all the culture war and all the values shift, which was a lot about self, he never had that.
For him, it was about country, about self. And I have been traveling around the country recently. And I found so many people are really attached to their town or their community or their ethnic group, not so many who are attached to nation.
But that World War II generation and the people — the values of John McCain, he really was attached to nation. And it really was service to nation above Arizona, above anything else, above the Navy. It really was service to nation and a sense of, we’re all in the same nation, we must at — all at some level be brothers with one another, and then a life of true sacrifice for the nation.
I mean, it’s worth pointing out the guy could not comb his hair. When they broke his arm, he could not get his arm — his arms up for the rest of his life to comb his hair. And so that’s just a daily bit of sacrifice he did for the country as a whole.
Mark Shields: Could I just add one personal note?
Judy Woodruff: Sure.
Mark Shields: And that that’s this, that Mo Udall, who was the Democratic — great Democratic congressman, environmentalist, and party leader, or Democratic leader from Arizona, befriended John McCain as a young member of the House.
John was in the minority. He didn’t really know anybody in the House of Representatives. Mo was a committee chair and influential. The Arctic National Wildlife to save is his project.
And he befriended John. He included John. And John never forgot it. They struck, forged a great friendship. And Mo Udall, who was a giant, was — contracted Parkinson’s in 1980. He was forced to leave the House a decade later.
And he lingered in the ravages of Parkinson’s for eight years, the last few of which he was crippled, uncommunicative, I mean, that terrible disease, that terrible scourge, on a cot in a veterans hospital in Northeast Washington.
And one person, public person, regularly went to visit him, without cameras, without reporters, to bring with him the news of Arizona, to read, even though he was unresponsive, about sports, about Indian American, national — Native American. It was John McCain.
And that’s — that’s an incredible value. And it’s great. It’s a wonderful tribute to him. And I just wanted to offer it.