McCain – already a loser – raises his Senate voice
Much of the old presidential campaign gang has moved on. The governor he made famous — Sarah Palin, his vice-presidential pick in 2008 — is the one exciting crowds these days. He is facing the possibility of a primary challenge at home, one more reminder of his uneasy relationship with his own party.
Yet at the age of 73, one year after his defeat by President Obama, Senator John McCain of Arizona is trying to make the most of the platform where he has always been most comfortable, the United States Senate.
The Republican Party’s leadership vacuum has given Mr. McCain an opening, and he is charging through it, tacking right on some issues and loudly embroiling himself in battles with the White House and Democratic leaders over health care, stimulus spending, foreign policy and the style of the Obama presidency…
He doesn’t do loud very well.
Mr. McCain has cut back his dealings with many of the people who were at his side while he was running for president. Steve Schmidt, his campaign manager, has returned to California, while Mike Murphy, a longtime adviser, has not talked to him since last summer, according to associates of both men. Mark Salter, his closest aide, alter ego and book collaborator, has left Mr. McCain’s Senate staff and gone into private business, and now speaks to him about once a week…
Don Bivens, the chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, said he believed that Mr. McCain would be vulnerable in a general election…“I think he’s taken a hard turn to the right,” Mr. Bivens said of Mr. McCain. “There’s no maverick left. There’s no bipartisan guy left. He’s just sort of a Republican attack dog, and as a result I think he’s made himself vulnerable here because we’re pretty much a middle-of-the-road kind of state…”
But Mr. McCain has also distanced himself from some long-held positions: he once backed measures to deal with climate change, which made his criticism of Mr. Graham’s bill so striking. He denounced efforts to curb Medicare costs by Congressional Democrats a year after he said such cuts were critical.
I think McCain has returned to the inevitable fold that wraps together most Republicans: hypocrisy, anti-intellectualism, anti-science populism, just another corporate lapdog.
He thinks that saying the same crap as his peers – but louder – will make him sound different. If he wasn’t trying so hard to grab support from teabaggers, I’d almost feel sorry for him.