One qualification for a U.S. Senator that we should all be able to agree on is that they have good judgment.
Former State Sen. Kelli Ward (R-Kingman) showed this past week that she lacks that good judgment with how she handled the news that Sen. John McCain has cancer and a tumor in his brain.
The world learned of McCain’s illness on July 19. Two days later our editorial office received letters to the editor calling on McCain to resign and urging Gov. Doug Ducey to appoint Ward to his seat.
We suspect other newspapers also received those letters.
That afternoon, about 48 hours after the shocking news, Ward issued a statement calling on McCain to resign. She later suggested in an Indiana radio interview that she would be a “strong choice” to replace McCain.
Here is her statement in full:
“My prayers are with Senator McCain and his family. The medical reality of his diagnosis is grim. Senator McCain has an aggressive brain cancer that is both devastating and debilitating. When the time comes that Senator McCain can no longer perform his duties in the Senate at full capacity, he owes it to the people of Arizona to step aside.
“Senator McCain and his family have a lot of hard decisions to make. As a doctor, I’ve counseled people in similar situations and these end-of-life choices are never easy. I usually advise terminal patients to reduce stress, relax, and spend time laughing with loved ones.
“The Senate has complicated and difficult problems to deal with and Arizona deserves to be represented by someone who can focus on those challenges.
“I hope and pray that Senator McCain will be comfortable as he battles this terrible disease.”
While others were offering prayers and encouragement, Ward was talking about “end-of-life” choices.
The prognosis is indeed grim, but McCain has proven his whole life he’s a fighter and he is a hero.
After what he sacrificed fighting for our nation in Vietnam, to suffering in a prisoner of war camp, to his many years of service to Arizona and the nation in Congress, prayers and encouragement are appropriate. It’s what someone with good judgment would offer.
Telling someone to step aside so you can be handed the job you didn’t earn is not.
Ward lost handily in a primary election against McCain last year. She’s in the early stages of challenging Sen. Jeff Flake next year.
Someday the voters may choose to elect Ward to the U.S. Senate and she will have earned her seat. Let’s hope if that day ever comes that she shows better judgment than she has this past week.