A Selective Kudos

I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with gender bias (cough, cough), but during the fevered coverage of the GOP’s “repeal and replace” efforts, there was virtually no media coverage of a heroic Senator who–despite suffering from Stage Four cancer– came to Washington last week to cast a vote against repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

She got no standing ovation. She got no mainstream media lauds for her heroism. She got no kudos for leaving home, a much longer journey than that other senator, the one from Arizona, to get to DC, and there are no mainstream media stories on it that I can find… I only found out from a friend who spotted it on Twitter.

She didn’t do it for publicity.

Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii was just doing her job as a good politician, voting not to repeal the ACA so as to protect her constituents. She has Stage Four kidney cancer — that means scarce chances of survival — is recovering from a second surgery to remove part of a rib, and made sure she got to her seat in the Senate Chamber to vote “no” to whatever Republican wealth-care crap was thrown at her.

But you’ll only find out about it on social media. Because she’s not a pale male, maybe?

After this post ran on Daily Kos, a few media outlets did pick up the story (in an “oh by the way” fashion).

I’m as grateful as anyone for John McCain’s vote, but I’ll admit to being annoyed by the disparity between the overwhelming and laudatory coverage of his vote and the votes of Senator Hirono and especially the equally dispositive (and far more steadfast) positions of Senators Collins and Murkowsky.

I think I want a bumper sticker that says: If you still have healthcare, thank a woman! (Not a woman from Indiana, however….our female Representatives both voted for the obscenity that passed the House– they supported Paul Ryan’s efforts to destroy Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, eviscerate Medicaid and use the money saved to provide tax breaks for the rich. Jackie Walorski and Susan Brooks have both been reliable, enthusiastic Trumpsters. In a sane world, that would be enough to guarantee them ignominious defeat in 2018.)


  1. Thank you, Senator Hirono, for speaking out with your vote for all Americans to have health care as you suffer through your own cancer treatments.

    Was all of the hoopla about Senator John McCain’s “no” vote because of his brain cancer, because Trump ridiculed him in the past, because he is a Republican…or because he is a man?

    No need to answer and no need to question why Senator Hirono’s presence and vote were ignored…there have been no women involved in the ACA “replacement” from the beginning, nor will there be as Trump continues to force it into the Congressional agenda. He is now demanding they just repeal the ACA; will his new Chief of Staff, Gen. John Kelly, allow him to continue with this demand or will he do his job and rein him in. None of yesterday’s chaos, or that of all last week, has distracted Robert Mueller or the general public from Mueller’s investigation into the Trump/Putin/Russia connections. Trump himself was the one who injected his praise for Putin over President Obama and Russian government over the United States throughout his campaign rants. Trump brought it to our attention repeatedly and has kept it there continuously.

    He continues his fear-mongering attacks on our health care and unless and until the Republican members of Congress do their job, he will succeed in forcing that repeal with no replacement through..like you-know-what-through-a-goose. The women of both parties need to unite; women have always been the caretakers, it is needed now from those with the power to take care of all Americans.

  2. To their credit, NPR did run a story/interview with her right at the time of the vote. Her name was unfamiliar to me at the time.

  3. Senator Hirono’s efforts weren’t considered ‘heroic’ or newsworthy, simply because she was voting her party. If she’d been a ‘maverick’, and voted against her, and her constituent’s, best interests and voted in favor of this monstrosity, then you’d have seen plenty of coverage.

  4. Senator Hirono has been interviewed on MSNBC a couple of times. Her story is very compelling, and she’s a delightul personality. Thank you for helping to spread her story. It sounds like she needs our prayers as much as she needs expert healthcare.

    Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski did receive considerable attention on MSNBC, CNN, NBC and sometimes Fox before John McCain flew back to Washington and made headlines. These two heroines were steadfast throughout the debate of ACA repeal and replacement, and they made it easier for other Senators to sometimes vote no.

    One vote I could NOT understand was that of Senator Capito from W. Virginia. She had expressed earlier objections to the bill but ultimately voted for it. Her state has among the worst opiod epidemics and highest dependence on Medicaid and the ACA in the country. Additionally, many coal miners would lose their insurance coverage for black lung treatments without the ACA. A televised town hall meeting in a county that gave Trump a 70% margin revealed that local voters were NOT willing to surrender their health insurance and their lives for him. Senator Manchin from W. Virginia voted against the repealer. Senator Capito had every reason to vote against it too and did not.

    As for the attention John McCain received, he attracted out-sized media attention for many years when he was expected to run for president and still does as a former nominee for president. His cancer diagnosis and flight back to Washington to vote added drama to the health care drama, and then he cast the 51st vote against the bill. A Hollywood script wouldn’t have made it any more dramatic.

    You are right on target that the two women senators made it possible for him to be the 51st ‘nay’ vote. I’ve sent them all thank you notes as well as a note of thanks to Indiana’s Senator Joe Donnelly. (My letter of disappointment to Senator Todd Young was MUCH longer.)

  5. Nancy Papas; the opoid epidemic in West Virginia was a major issue on the MSNBC special with Chris Hayes and Bernie Sanders months ago. Along with the fears of losing their health care, the Big Pharma provision of unbelievable numbers of opoids to small town doctors and small pharmacies, learning the truth about the low number of mining jobs to return, in the poorest county in West Virginia. The residents who spoke knew too late they had been lied to and feared total loss of all health care. I THINK Senator Capito was the Senator who spoke for them and that she would support them. I have said before that that this one-hour special NEEDS to be repeated. It is certainly timely now.

  6. What are we to think of the Senators who took to the microphone to say that they would vote for the bill only if they had assurances that the House would take it to conference rather than just vote to pass it? If a bill is so bad that you admit you don’t want it to be the law of the land you should feel obligated to vote “No.”

  7. Peggy; there seems to be no explanation for anything this Congress is doing, saying, not doing and their intentions are not known to the public. I feel we are imprisoned by this current insane administration with no set sentence or chance of parole. How can one man cause so many new problems daily for this entire country and beyond our borders to other world leaders? He is a bottomless pit of chaos and evilness as we have never before seen in our homeland.

    Does anyone out there actually believe Trump will allow a mere United States Chief of Staff to control his children and/or their in-laws? How quickly will HE be gone when he attempts to do the full scope of his job?

    That old adage, “A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.” no longer applies to this Congress; there are dozens of “weak links” who appear to be leading this country by allowing Trump free reign over his kingdom – once known as the United States of America.

  8. There were Republican senators, perhaps a half-dozen, who in their heart wanted to vote no but didn’t realizing it would be political suicide. John McCain understood this and was willing to exercise the single additional no vote needed to thwart the bill. He could do so since his political future and his actual future were limited. McCain also voted from his heart, a man to be admired.

  9. I did read about Senator Hirono’s trip back to the mainland for this vote, in spite of her dire health situation. I agree, if a male with stage 4 cancer traveled that far for this vote he would have been a hero just because he was male.

    I also read (buried somewhere in the news) that Joe Biden was on the phone with McCain until the wee hours of the night talking him into doing the “right thing” for the citizens of the U.S. and voting No. The article mentioned that McCain had every intention of voting Yes until Biden opened his eyes to what he would be doing to the citizens he represents. No heroics from McCain.

  10. I believe some South Dakota wingnuts touted failed Drumpf Don’t Care as a jobs bill. That state’s lone female congressweasel also claimed she could grow the economy by 9%. All the experts- you know them as the guys who don’t know what they are talking about( said 1 – 2 % is more realistic. I guess they don’t understand wingnut math.

  11. A miracle result of the hostile takeover of the Republican Party and then by the GOP of America could be the re-dawning of the realization that governance is hard work.

    That however would require open minds which seems oxymoronic to this new world order that we find ourselves in.

  12. I was watching CSPAN during the vote but alas, I went to bed before the vote. I’m very thankful that McCain voted no but then Flake puts out an Op Ed today with Politico about #45 and he voted Yes for that crap! We need to get rid of both of these senators here in AZ. They don’t represent me!

    The two women Collins and Murkowsky deserve all of the credit because they persisted.

  13. I have never been all that impressed by the McCainiac. He is certainly in the NEO-CON Camp of aggressive AmeriKan Foreign Policy. It is now ancient history but McCain was once part of the Keating Five Senators. He also selected the dim light bulb, Sarah Palin to run as Vice President. As for the reason in casting his vote, I think McCain voted to stick it to Donald Trump for all of Trump’s insults hurled on him. This piece added drama, which is what the McMega-Media press is all about these days.

    The McMega Media press has it’s favorites and the McCainiac is one of them. One important point not mentioned in the McMega-Media was that both of these Senators are suffering from health care problems, but what kind of health care do they have.??? Perhaps the McMega-Media did not want us know we have a Class System in Health Care.

    Here is an article that will tell you. They choose a gold-level Obamacare policy and receive federal subsidies that cover 72 percent of the cost of the premiums. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/25/heres-how-much-members-of-congress-pay-for-their-health-insurance.html

  14. The senators from Arizona and Hawaii, both of whom are in bad health, are to be congratulated with their votes which, I hope, forever ended Republican attempts to foist off a tax bill enriching the engorged rich under the pretense that it was a healthcare bill. It may make a difference when the Grim Reaper is looking over their shoulders, but I prefer to think that these were votes of conscience. As for the future, our next task is to see to it that Trump doesn’t deliberately sabotage the law as it stands to make his point that it will implode on its own. His narcissistic impulse abhors being a loser, though he is the biggest loser ever in the White House, surpassing even Nixon, Buchanan and even Reagan.

  15. NPR did a lengthy interview with Mazie Hirono before the vote took place and discussed her cancer among other things. Never saw or heard a word in other media. I depend on NPR for a truly balanced look at the world.

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