Thursday, January 15, 2009

John McCain: Tap Dancer


The only one in the McCain family allowed to dance in public

When I'm looking for accurate news or unbiased reporting Rick Santorum's column in the Philadelphia Inquirer isn't exactly the first place I turn. However, when I want to gage the rumblings on the far right fringes of the Republican Party, Santorum is perfect. Never a fan of John McCain, Santorum was on the rampage against his party's latest presidential candidate today. He starts with a warning: Obama's popularity with ordinary Americans combined with the "Democrats' beefy congressional majorities, which can pass whatever the new president proposes, and a nation looking to Washington to ease its economic woes, and Obama seems poised to take Washington as the Allies took Paris."
But a close look at Capitol Hill makes plain that Team Obama has put the Staples "Easy" button in the drawer. In this climate, it would be easy to leave Republicans out of the debate and still pass a whopping stimulus package. But, as the media have repeatedly noted, Obama the statesman has offered the olive branch to his impotent potential adversaries.

How noble of the president-elect? No, how politically smart.

Obama was a candidate of scant accomplishment but grand promise. Promise won, but promising to be a unifying, transformational force creates high expectations. Rolling Republicans right away would shatter that Hollywood story line.

Obama also faces the reality of needing at least one Republican senator to join him to break filibusters. Many speculate that three moderate Republicans will provide the necessary Senate votes and the imprimatur of bipartisanship.

Still, Obama and the GOP moderates will not produce the kind of post-partisan harmony that Obama promised and the public now expects.

But I believe Obama has an ace in the hole among Senate Republicans. This unlikely ace can deliver not only the GOP moderates needed to break a filibuster, but also the stamp of bipartisanship: the 2008 GOP standard bearer, John McCain.

McCain was once the mainstream media darling, back when he joined Democrats on a host of issues. He prized his maverick moniker and used it to propel himself onto the national scene in the 2000 Republican presidential primary. Early in the Bush years, he shored up his status as the media's favorite Republican by opposing Bush on taxes and the environment.

The rest of the column is devoted to Santorum's sleazy screed against McCain; if you want to bother, you can read it at the link above. Instead I want to point out a few things about McCain that Santorum didn't mention. First of all, McCain is up for re-election in 2010 and Arizona Governor/Secretary of Homeland Security designee Janet Napolitano is more popular in the state than he is. We have to ask ourselves who he fears more among the voters, the moderates and independents or the hard right GOP base?

So far the Senate has had four post-election roll calls. The first two were clotures to shut down extremist Republican obstructionism on Tom Coburn's assbackwards attempt to bottle up popular environmental legislation. The majorities against Coburn were overwhelming. Coburn and his fanatic buddy DeMint were only able to garner 12 Republicans on the first vote, all the hard core radicals like Inhofe, Isakson and Sessions, including McCain. Yesterday a similar vote was held and the Republicans managed to find 24 No votes, again, all the radical right nuts plus McCain. Today the bill itself (S. 22) passed 73-21 and again McCain stuck with the lunatic fringe of his party, voting against every single Democrat and all the mainstream conservatives.

A few minutes ago cloture was brought up to stop the filibuster against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The GOP was successful in killing this bill in 2008 but today even McCain couldn't vote to continue the filibuster. Cloture passed 72-23, all the Democrats plus 17 Republicans including even Mitch McConnell, who had sabotaged the same bill last year! Only the most radical right Neanderthals, led by DeMint and Kyl voted to filibuster equal rights in the workplace for women this time around.


McCain voted with most of the wing nuts today against allowing Obama to use the $350 billion that the Bush Regime hasn't spent yet in the financial rescue package. The resolution to kill the second half lost 42-52. with several principled liberals like Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Russ Feingold (D-WI), joining with the reactionary Democrats like Ben Nelson (D-NE), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) and the bulk of the Senate Republicans. The only Republicans voting to let Obama use the money were Lamar Alexander (TN), Judd Gregg (NH), Jon Kyl (AZ), Dick Lugar (IN), Olympia Snowe (ME), and George Voinovich (OH). It came down to a matter of "trust me." Those who voted to kill the package don't trust Obama to do it right and those who voted against the resolution are giving him the benefit of the doubt (and our money). Hard to imagine, though, that anyone-- like say John McCain, fer example-- could trust George Bush but not Barack Obama. I guess that's what makes him the partisan hack he's always been, the one enough people saw right through to give him a lopsided electoral vote loss to the tune of 365-173.

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At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Philadelphia Inquirer gave that pos a job?? If I had a subscription, I'd cancel it.


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