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McCain Praise Drowns Out the Real (Female) Senate Heroes

GOP Senators

Sens. Murkowski and Collins were steadfast in their commitment to healthcare -- but McCain got most of the credit.

There's no denying that Arizona senator John McCain's dramatic 11th hour "no" vote Thursday against repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act helped save insurance for millions of Americans in desperate need of it. But McCain -- who returned to the Senate floor just this Tuesday following a brain cancer diagnosis and cast a disappointing vote in favor of opening up discussion to repeal Obamacare -- did not swoop in and save the day alone.

Throughout the torturous repeal process, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Susan Collins of Maine broke with the Republican party line and voted against repealing lifesaving health care for millions of Americans. Yet, many of the the headlines regarding Thursday's vote singled out McCain as the lifesaver, illustrating that even women in Congress can be denied credit for their accomplishments when a man steps in at the last minute. That's an experience many women can relate to.

Indeed, Collins and Murkowski needed another vote to join 48 Democrats in stopping what was dubbed as "Skinny Repeal," but McCain didn't save ACA alone, and the two GOP female senators have faced slings, arrows, and misogyny throughout the process. Last week Senator Blake Farenthold, angry with Murkowski, Collins, and Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia for saying they would not repeal ACA, made the outrageous and misogynistic assertion that if they were men he would challenge them to duel.

Following Tuesday's vote, Trump attempted to shame/bully Murkowski with a Tweet for the entire world to see, opening the door for others to pile on and intimidate.

Supporting Trump in his decision to air his dirty laundry with Murkowski in 140-characters or less, GOP Senator Buddy Carter of Georgia said, "Let me tell you, somebody needs to go over there to that Senate and snatch a knot in their ass," meaning that someone should go hit Murkowski. Colorful colloquialism aside, Farenthold and Carter both invoked violent imagery to depict how they would handle the women who dared stand up to the GOP's attempt to wrest Americans from their health care.

As Trump and fellow GOP senators attacked her, Murkowski remained steadfast saying, "Every day shouldn't be about winning elections." She added, "How about just doing a little bit of governing around here? That's what I'm here for."

Her response came two days before McCain released a statement explaining his reasons for voting no on "Skinny Repeal," and they were surprisingly in line with what Murkowski had been fighting for all along:

"We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation's governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve."

So while Collins and Murkowski faced barely veiled threats in the form of violence from their male "colleagues," McCain stepped in and got the credit for the groundwork they set down.

Here's a smattering of responses to the phenomenon from Twitter.

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