News & Politics

At McCain's Funeral, 'The New Yorker' Gets Religion

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Nothing like a state funeral for the enemy of your principal enemy to help the secular Left come to Jesus:

Donald Trump’s name was never mentioned. It didn’t have to be. The funeral service for John Sidney McCain III, at the Washington National Cathedral, on this swampy Saturday morning, was all about a rebuke to the pointedly uninvited current President of the United States, which was exactly how McCain had planned it.

Of course, there were fulsome tributes to Senator McCain’s bravery and courage and public service, stark reminders of the torture he endured as a prisoner of war, and of the policies he fought for (and against) in his many decades as a Republican politician from Arizona. But McCain knew that would not be the headline from the grand service, whose many details he personally oversaw. This was to be no mere laying to rest of a Washington wise man, nor just another funeral of an elder statesman whose passing would be marked by flowery words about the end of an era. It was a meeting of the Resistance, under vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows.

So much for the idea that the McCain funeral had nothing whatsoever to do with the current president, and was simply a celebration of good old-fashioned bipartisanship, the way it used to be when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill would sort out the problems of the nation over a couple of beers. You know, like this:

And, as if further proof were needed:

A little after 9 a.m., President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, made an entrance in the packed Cathedral, embracing Republican senators, nodding earnestly, dressed in black like everyone else. Trump’s national-security adviser, John Bolton, was there, too, along with John Kelly, the former Marine general whom Trump has enlisted as his White House chief of staff. All eyes were on them, and, after the service, that is much of what the buzzing knots of people outside the cathedral talked about: What were they thinking as they heard the speeches? Why did they come? Were they embarrassed? Ashamed? Should they be? They should not be under any illusions, and I imagine they weren’t: this was a room full of people who hate much of what their boss is doing, and that they are letting him do it. Was a tax cut for the wealthy worth it? A few dozen judicial appointments and two Supreme Court seats?

The answer, of course, is yes, but there’s no way to explain that the Left in a way they can understand. And now for the grand finale:

I thought back to the beginning of the service, when the choir had sung the beautiful words of the Navy Hymn: “Oh Holy Spirit, who didst brood upon the chaos dark and rude and bid its angry tumult cease and give, for wild confusion, peace; oh hear us as we cry to Thee, for those in peril on the sea!” I have heard those words at many funerals before, but never did they seem to speak to the room in quite the same way.