John McCain’s sense of mischief is mentioned in some of the hagiographies that have greeted his death, but it seemed to desert him at the end.
The senator’s last known wish was that Donald Trump should not attend his funeral. You understand why he wasn’t keen on the tangerine troll, who ridiculed his five-plus years of torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, demeaning his interment.
But he blew a chance for payback by not impishly asking the president to give a eulogy. How long Trump could have stayed on message, praising the war hero he hated with the sincerity of the recidivist draft dodger, is anyone’s guess.
Given his habitual struggle with mock solemnity (“Our hearts and prayers are with you!” concluded his consolatory tweet to the family), mine is 75 to 90 seconds. “A wonderful man, such a great maverick. Not such a great navy pilot. I like pilots who don’t crash. I’d have been a tremendous pilot but for the heelbone spurs. The best pilot..
Then again, perhaps McCain read enough in his final days to regard piling more humiliation on Trump as both inelegant and unnecessary – like the punch Ali never threw as Foreman sank slowly to the canvas in Zaire.