Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Push to rename Senate office building for McCain fizzles: 'We are left with a monument to bigotry'. (Washington Times)

At age 17.5, as a freshman and sophomore at Georgetown University, my first government office was working Sen. Ted Kennedy's mailroom and main office in the Old Senate Office Building a/k/a "Old SOB," named for the late Georgia segregationist Democratic Senator Richard Russell.

I am okay with renaming that building for Senator John S. McCain, a genuine American hero.

In the spirit of bipartisanship and compromise, Senators could even call it the Russell-McCain building or McCain-Russell Building.

I am not happy with Senate Democratic Leader Charles Ellis Schumer playing tease, saying he was about to introduce a resolution renaming the building, then failing to follow through on his promise.  That's unSenatorial -- making a promise to introduce legislation, failing to do it, and never explaining why.  Pitiful.  This reflects why the Democratic Party is now in the minority in the United States Senate, the organization that Gladstone called "the world's greatest deliberative body."

As Will Rogers said, "I don't belong to any organized political party.  I'm a Democrat."

Push to rename Senate office building for McCain fizzles: 'We are left with a monument to bigotry'

By Stephen Dinan and Gabriella Muñoz - The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Richard Russell survived another scare.
The segregationist Democrat’s name continues to adorn the Senate’s oldest office building, despite promises by top senators that this would be the year they finally erased it and replaced it with the name of their newly departed colleague Sen. John McCain.
“Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain, but so that generations remember him I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said on Twitter just after McCain’s office announced his death.
Four months later, the resolution was never introduced.
Mr. Schumer’s spokesman clammed up when asked what happened.
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican floor leader, had seemed cool to the renaming idea, instead promising a bipartisan committee to look at other good ways to honor their departed colleague.
His office said it is still in touch with McCain’s family and some senators but isn’t ready to announce anything.
McCain, who often confounded colleagues in life, continues to do so in death as senators search for an acceptable honor.
They named the annual defense policy bill after him just before his death. But that’s almost a pedestrian honor at this point, with plenty of lawmakers liked by their colleagues getting similar treatment on legislation that was dear to them.
Sens. Chris Coons, Delaware Democrat, and Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican, have suggested enhancing an existing bipartisan human-rights caucus in the Senate, turning it into a commission and naming it after McCain.
“Meaning, elevate it by giving it more resources, some staff, and a broader charter to be the convening place for conversation and action about human rights in the Senate,” Mr. Coons said.
A similar commission in the House is named after former Rep. Tom Lantos, a California Democrat who was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.
But the McCain commission legislation has not advanced out of committee.
Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who served with McCain and who had backed Mr. Schumer’s idea to rename the Russell Building, said it was his own fellow Republicans who scuttled that plan.
“We need a lot more support if we were going to do it,” he said.
McCain does have some memorials.
The Navy announced in July, a month before his death, that the John McCain guided-missile destroyer, already named after his father and grandfather, both admirals, would henceforth also be the senator’s namesake.
The Phoenix City Council last year voted to rename one of the terminals of Sky Harbor International Airport after McCain.
And Google Maps jumped the gun on names in the wake of McCain’s death, following Mr. Schumer’s idea and changing the name of the Russell Office Building to the McCain Building in the online maps app. Google said map information is crowd-sourced and blamed an overzealous McCain fan — or Russell opponent.
Matt Bennett, co-founder of Third Way, a think tank, has been eager to ditch the Russell name for some time and had hoped McCain would be the one to do it.
He said that hope fizzled out “like almost every other good, worthy idea in Trump’s Washington.”
“Rather than rename the building for an American hero and Senate titan, we are left with a monument to bigotry and civil rights obstructionism. It’s appalling, but it’s not surprising,” he said. “A human rights commission sounds like it might be a good idea. But John McCain deserves something big and chiseled in granite.”

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