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McCain’s sermon on how politics should be

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Washington (CNN)In a Washington moment for the ages, Sen. John McCain claimed the role of an aging lion to try to save the Senate, composing a moving political aria for the chamber and the country that he loves.

With a deep-red scar etched from his eyebrow to his temple, the legacy of brain surgery less than two weeks ago, McCain beseeched his colleagues to forsake political tribalism and restore the chamber to a spirit of compromise that had helped forge national greatness.

McCain had flown directly from his home state of Arizona to cast a crucial vote to allow a debate on a health care reform drive to proceed, but he warned that he would not vote to pass the divisive bill in its current form.
“We’re getting nothing done, my friends. We’re getting nothing done,” he said, arguing that both sides were to blame for polarizing the process of making laws and funding the government.
“Our deliberations today … are more partisan, more tribal … (than) at any time than I can remember. They haven’t been overburdened by greatness lately,” he said, offering a lesson of civics and civility as his fellow senators unusually packed the chamber and watched from their desks with rapt attention.
The 80-year-old McCain had been welcomed back to the Senate for the first time since his devastating brain cancer diagnosis with a standing ovation, following an outpouring of goodwill toward him from across the nation. He was mobbed by colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, in a rare show of shared bipartisan sentiment.

It was a speech that harkened back to a forgotten and perhaps mythical age of compromise and comity in the Senate, reminding the nation of the bedrock importance of its founding political principles at a moment of extreme national political stress and recrimination.

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