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John McCain & J.D. Hayworth:
or, why the Arizona Senator will continue to tack right

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:06 am - October 19, 2010.
Filed under: 2008 Elections,2010 Elections,Media Bias

The only reason I bring up the name of the politician who tried to resurrect his long dead political career this year by running against John McCain in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat from Arizona is as a reminder that sometimes the alternative to an imperfect politician is worse than the flawed incumbent.  And on the issue driving American voters this fall, out-of-control federal spending, J.D. Hayworth was a johnny-come-lately if this johnny come at all.

And while Hayworth was wallowing in earmarks, McCain, as the senator told Terry Moran of ABC News’ “Nightline” in a recent interview, is “the one that fought against earmarks since it wasn’t popular to do so“.  And the Arizonan was always solid on national security.

To be sure, he did disappoint conservatives on a number of issues, often grandstanding in front of the cameras when he was at odds with his party.  And I wonder sometimes if he did this in order to curry favor with the media, assuming that he could so win, what no Republican has enjoyed perhaps since Eisenhower (if not before), favorable treatment when he ran for president.

He assumed media folk were honorable men and women, operating as do most decent individuals.

He just didn’t account for the depth of their partisanship  — and their natural antipathy to a Republican nominee (as opposed to a Republican attacking another Republican).

When McCain saw how they treated him in the presidential campaign, when he saw how they treated his running mate behind whom he still stands*, he realized his attempts to secure favorable media treatment were futile (at best).  This guy’s not go to bend left as he did in the best.  He knows that it just won’t redound to his benefit.

*McCain on Palin:

“I haven’t seen anyone since Ronald Reagan that with certain individuals and large groups of individuals who really have this passionate belief and support for her,” he said, “It’s really a remarkable thing to observe.”



  1. Departing from the party-line, I don’t see earmarks as necessarily such a big deal. Earmarks are, basically, elected politicians telling bureaucrats how to spend money, instead of letting the unelected bureaucrats decide that for themselves. And they are a drop in the bucket compared to entitlement spending. The earmark hysteria is much ado over not much.

    I would like to see more reverse earmarking going on in the next Congress; with Congress specifically forbidding bureaucrats from spending money on stupid sh-t.

    Comment by V the K — October 19, 2010 @ 6:14 am - October 19, 2010

  2. V, The spending addiction has to stop somewhere. If you can’t stop spending the 5, 6 or 7 figure dollar amount to get a hundred votes you can’t stop spending anywhere.

    Comment by Delusional Bill — October 19, 2010 @ 8:00 am - October 19, 2010

  3. I e-mailed John McCain’s president website & told him specifically why I’m voting for him:

    * I voted against Senator Obama
    * I voted for Sarah Palin

    I then ripped him for being a RINO “maverick” who is addicted to television & the spotlight; apparently, he is willing to sell his principles for so-called “bipartisanship” where he gets the short end of the stick.

    I also told McCain he needs to retire.

    He must have received similar e-mails too because he did not come to Sarah Palin’s defense when McCain’s people kept slagging her.

    Obviously, he didn’t listen, but the current political environment makes McCain a target as well, although he survived the primary. The Tea Party is willing to throw McCain under the bus since we don’t trust him. I still don’t trust McCain. He took Arlen Specter’s knives & will have them to stab any Conservatives when he finds it to be politically expedient.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — October 19, 2010 @ 9:20 am - October 19, 2010

  4. IF McCain has learned that the media is no friend, then he proves the old axion that “we grow too soon old and too late smart.”

    I still see him as McQueeg obsessed with the strawberries.

    Comment by Heliotrope — October 19, 2010 @ 9:28 am - October 19, 2010

  5. “To be sure, he did disappoint conservatives on a number of issues”

    …like his repeated frontal assaults on the First Amendment, his bold and brave work to insure the continuous reelection of every incumbent, and his attempt to simultaneously betray the Constitution he swore an oath to and insure a permanent Democratic majority by overriding the will of the nation and making citizens of 12 million criminals who grew up on cradle-to-grave socialism…

    …yeah, little petty things like that. But hey, that mean ol’ Hayworth took earmarks!

    Comment by DaveP. — October 19, 2010 @ 10:40 am - October 19, 2010

  6. It’s a shame to see the unchecked venom for McCain is still as potent as it was when it kept “conservative” so-called patriot 2008 voters home on the sofa dippin’ the chips in Velvetta and popping open another Schlitz.

    For those who did exactly that, thanks for saddling us with Obama.

    McCain deserved much better than what he got from the ignorant ingrates on the reactionary farRight. Shame on those who still need to spitefully kick his can a few feet farther down the gutter.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — October 19, 2010 @ 11:00 am - October 19, 2010

  7. Hey, Matt Michigander, I always vote. I held my nose and voted for McQueeg. As to where we would be now if he had been elected is not clear to me. Bush got sucker punched by Paulson and McQueeg openly announced that economics was not his strong suit. I can easily imagine him just kicking the TARP can down the road and working things out in a friendly, compromising way with Nancy and Harry and Barney and Chris.

    But Monday morning quarterbacking has never been appealing to me. I carry no affection for McCain and I do not find any reason to blow his horn for him. He has been a legend in his own mind and has always made time and space to take care of his own PR.

    Comment by Heliotrope — October 19, 2010 @ 2:02 pm - October 19, 2010

  8. MI Matt,

    The problem with the ‘hold your nose and vote for McCain’ part is seen now in Alaska and Deleware as the largest examples. The ‘moderate’ Republicans, who have always told the conservatives to suck it up and vote for the lesser of two evils, are dragging their feet and not practicing what they preach. Look at Lisa M keeping her senate seat, and look at O’Donnells primary opponent not endorcing her.

    All we’re seeing is the ‘establishment’ being shocked when the people vote out their favourites, and throwing their own Levi-like temper tantrums.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 19, 2010 @ 2:29 pm - October 19, 2010

  9. Helio, the difference between McCain’s real life and the imagined Hollywood character you’d like to play him off as is that McCain served his country with honor and distinction, rotted in a Hanoi cell and came back to continue serving his country with honor. I thought “conservatives” valued military service?

    He wasn’t my GOP choice in 2008, as some here might recall. But I honor his service and record and that, frankly, trumps the petty political sniping from the cheap seats. And as a GOPer, I also appreciate his effort in the 2008 race –go find me a politician in Washington that isn’t self-centered and ego-justifying… it’s a character trait needed to fight for election and win office. Palin’s got it as richly as Teddy Kennedy or John Dingell or Harry Reid have it in their characters.

    If the TP Movement rank and file had shown up on E-Day 2008, Obama would be in office and the TP’ers would still be sitting at home, listening to Rush and venting at the radio.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — October 19, 2010 @ 2:35 pm - October 19, 2010

  10. Live, I think before you cast about to tar moderates not supporting poorly chosen candidates, you have to come to terms with the spitefilled antics of “conservatives” staying home on E-Day 2008 and literally helping to elect Obama.

    What you propose and call out as happening in Delaware and Alaska is a fiction of the TP’ers “conspiracy-24x7x365 crowd”. The GOP establishment in both states and in DC have maxed out their campaign $$$ to those 2 campaigns… even accepting that either or both candidates are piss-poor candidates who will lose the race and still think it’s a win because moderates aren’t in office… it’s exactly the kernel of stupidity that allowed them to not vote for McCain and hazarded America with Obama.

    Your claim is like hearing Bill Clinton get mad and preachy because he learns some ol’ Joe isn’t being faithful to his wife… or Spitzer giving lessons on marital fidelity.

    But then, you guys are the ones who claim moderates ruined the GOP brand –even tho Delay and company were conservatives. I’m guessing any kind of mental gymnastics should be applauded and encouraged in that crowd.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — October 19, 2010 @ 2:45 pm - October 19, 2010

  11. Mich Matt,

    My close friend, now deceased, was the second longest resident of the Hanoi Hilton and at McCain’s side. He was an Academy Navy pilot. No need to tell me about McCain. My friend had great praise for him as well as for dozens and dozens of others. It is McCain you know most about ….. for whatever reason ….. but there were plenty of men who went through as much and more as McCain did. I would not diminish how McCain handled himself, especially since he was a the trophy prisoner son of an acting Admiral in the war. No other prisoner had that monkey on his back. But hear this, there are men you don’t know by name who deserve every bit of credit and esteem owed to McCain.

    Good on him for how he conducted himself. That was then. I do not owe him any special consideration for his troubles. If that were true, I would say that the left had the right chicken when they crowned Kerry.

    By your prescription, I guess McCain would have been three times as esteemed if he were also black and gay.

    I love the Navy and have many personal and close connections with it. However, the McCain mutinies were too numerous not to conger up McQueeg and the importance of duplicate keys and the disappearing strawberries. To wit: political speech is not protected under the First Amendment if it exceeds a certain McCainsian/Feingoldian agreed upon amount.

    Should you find yourself in Bancroft Hall at the USNA, you will find ample credit given to McCain. Also in the Navy wing at the Pentagon. But look around and you will notice that he is one small boat in an enormous flotilla of great men and women.

    Comment by Heliotrope — October 19, 2010 @ 3:16 pm - October 19, 2010

  12. Live, I think before you cast about to tar moderates not supporting poorly chosen candidates

    Which part don’t you like about the choosing, Michigan-Matt?

    Do you oppose people having the right to vote on their own candidates?

    Do you believe that the Party elite like yourself should handpick candidates and that voters should shut up and do what they’re told?

    Or are you just demonstrating how you, just like your buddy Barack Obama, insist that voters are irrational and stupid because they don’t agree with you?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 19, 2010 @ 3:40 pm - October 19, 2010

  13. NDXXX: “Or are you just demonstrating how you, just like your buddy Barack Obama, insist that voters are irrational and stupid because they don’t agree with you?”

    I think we’ve got a bear that OD’ed on velvetta and Schlitz. Climb out of the leopard skin Snuggie NDXXX and stop sniffing your own fumes. It’s making you sound more ass-like than Democrat donkey… and that’s a standard that should be waaaaay beyond most people’s reach.

    “Obama’s” buddy? Really, you need to get out more.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — October 19, 2010 @ 4:52 pm - October 19, 2010

  14. Live, “I do not owe him (McCain) any special consideration for his troubles.”

    I’m sorry that exemplary service to his Country and fellow patriots means so little to you. Sometimes in life, Live, we really do “owe” others more than our short-termed, short-sighted self-centered needs command.

    The continued venom aimed at McCain is shameful and disgraceful and below anyone who thinks himself a patriot or an American.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — October 19, 2010 @ 4:57 pm - October 19, 2010

  15. Until recently, Senator McCain lived right down the street from me. I have spoken to him on occasion, and he seems to be a reasonable person.

    I don’t know if running for president really did much to improve him as a public servant. Maybe excessive ambition can ruin an otherwise potentially-good elected official. From the time that For Sale sign appeared in front of his house on Central Avenue, you could already hear an increase in double-talk and those pathetic attempts to please everybody all the time — yet manage to please nobody.

    The Secret Service, we were told, could not “secure” that house. Thank the Lord McCain wanted to move, because we would not have appreciated having the street shut down every time President McCain came to town. If it meant shutting down the country for him to occupy the White House, that would have been double-plus bad.

    Comment by Lori Heine — October 19, 2010 @ 5:08 pm - October 19, 2010

  16. You may wish to double check your attribution. As to the Republicans supporting the tea party candidates…

    Let’s not forget the initial reactions of the establishment Republicans to O’Donnell, before pressure from the roots caused them to recant.

    And Look at how Jim Geraghty initially disliked Angle.

    That’s just off the top of my head and 5 minutes of research.

    “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean an invisible demon isn’t about to eat your face.” – Harry Dresden.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 19, 2010 @ 5:09 pm - October 19, 2010

  17. Senator John McCain lost the presidential 2008 election when he got boo’ed at his own rally defending then Senator Obama; he told the audience Obama is not a bad person & would be good in the White House. Three trillion dollars later plus ObamaCare McCain suddenly realized the people were right. President Obama is bad for the country.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — October 19, 2010 @ 5:13 pm - October 19, 2010

  18. I don’t think you’re going to find anyone here saying that McCain’s service and conduct in Vietnam were anything but honorable and worthy of admiration. Nobody’s arguing that. They are saying that just because a politician earned distinction in military service doesn’t mean you have to support their *political* candidacy or policies, or smile and pretend like everything’s OK when they do something you detest.

    War heros can make terrible presidents, and men who never saw action can make great ones. They’re two different things. Look at Grant and Reagan.

    Comment by Andcar — October 19, 2010 @ 7:31 pm - October 19, 2010

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