Cindy McCain To Inherit Senate Seat? That'd Be ... Fine, Actually!
After John McCain's death Saturday, there was fulsome praise and warm remembrances of the senator from pretty much everyone but... you know... that guy, and maybe Wonkette. However, there's now the practical matter of who will replace McCain in the Senate and continue fully supporting Donald Trump's agenda (except for the occasional high profile vote that President Petulant will never get over).
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will
appoint someone to fill the open seat until the next general election in 2020. Ducey's a Republican, but that doesn't matter much because Arizona law requires that the senator's replacement be a member of the same party. That's not such a bad idea, I think. If Ohio and New Jersey had similar laws, we might've seen a Clinton/Brown or Clinton/Booker ticket in 2016. Ducey has said he's not announcing his choice until after McCain's laid to rest on Sunday. That leaves us a week of rampant speculation!
McCain's widow Cindy has emerged as the likely frontrunner. She's already inherited a major stake in Hensley & Co., an Anheuser-Busch beer wholesaler, so why not a Senate seat? If they wanted to keep it in the family, I kind of hoped they'd convince Meghan to move back to Arizona so I could watch "The View" again.
Here I agree with imaginary Capone vault opener Geraldo Rivera. Mrs. McCain has put her best heiress foot forward in philanthropy, and she's been a visible proponent for gay rights, appearing in the 2010 "NOH8" poster campaign against California's Proposition 8 – a law banning same-sex marriage. She also probably totally voted for Hillary Clinton. John McCain's official statement when he withdrew his endorsement of Trump asserted that "we will not for Hillary," but the white pantsuit Cindy rocked to the polling place boldly declared, "What do you mean, we?"
So, "we" are OK with Cindy McCain joining the Senate, but on the other hand, it's not like she doesn't have other stuff going on. She's still the chair of one of Arizona's largest privately held companies. When John McCain ran for president in 2008, Cindy refused to comment about her family's business or release her tax returns.
"I don't think I'm very mysterious," she said on ABC's Good Morning America. "I'm not the candidate. I've never been front and center. I do the things I enjoy and that are important to me. And [I] do them in the way I like to do them."
Yeah, she really didn't want to release those returns.
"This is a privacy issue. My husband is the candidate," Cindy McCain told NBC's Ann Curry. "I'm not the candidate."
The point I think Cindy McCain wanted to make here is that she was not the candidate. She did eventually release a partial 2006 return that year, which had limited details other than she was rich as fuck. (I think she even took the standard "rich as fuck" deduction.)
There's also the fact that while John McCain was a popular national figure, Arizona itself is crazy conservative. Remember when Jan Brewer was governor? The Republican voter electorate in the state is so extreme Jeff Flake basically quit because he couldn't see how he could win the primary and continue looking at himself in a mirror. What would Cindy McCain have to gain from giving up her career and private life to enter politics and have a Trump-painted target on her back?
Look at these assholes just a day after John McCain died. Why would Cindy McCain want to expose herself and her family to another two years of this shit? I'm sure she respected McCain's devotion to public service, but that doesn't mean she wants to personally jump into the maelstrom. Did we mention how rich she is? The relevant question is not whether she wants to replace her husband in the Senate but whether she likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
Let's also not forget Tuesday's Republican Senate primary, which Rep. Martha McSally is expected to win because she's neither a convicted criminal that Trump recently pardoned nor a complete raving asshole. Ducey could pick one of the losers, but that seems unlikely given how comically awful they are. Dr. Kelli Ward especially seems like she's not running for the Senate nomination but for the title of "candidate who's actually worse than Sheriff Joe Arpaio."
Seriously, lady, do you have human parts? The senior senator of your state just literally died of cancer. This shouldn't be so hard. Ducey has better options, including Rep. David Schweikert and former Reps. John Shadegg and Matt Salmon.
But even if Cindy McCain remains a private citizen, the up side is either McSally or Krysten Sinema (donate here) will become Arizona's first woman senator. By the way, if you Google "first woman senator," the Wikipedia entry for McSally is the first thing that pops up, which I think is a tad overconfident.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).