McCain mutinies again
I wish I could slot this outburst into the ongoing "establishment vs. Tea Party" battle that's been playing out since the 2012 election, but it doesn't even rise to that level. It's mostly personal animosity from cranky McCain against people he personally dislikes. He's not thinking about damage to the party... or to the country, really, since McCain's wing of the GOP accepts the scope of Obama-style government, and is eager to enter service as the tax collectors for it.
Sometimes I think McCain's attitude is shaped by his sense that he was the Ultimate Republican, and his defeat in 2008 means all political discussions in the United States were settled for good, or at least for a generation. Quite a few members of his political team were eager to blame the loss, in whole or in large measure, on Sarah Palin and the conservatives she represents. That's a political epitaph Maverick can live with.
On the surface, you wouldn't think the "moderate," establishment wing of the GOP has much to recommend it, since they ran the most moderate Establishment "electable" candidate they could find in 2012, and lost. To a significant degree, they lost because their voters were even less enthused about Mitt Romney than Obama's base was about him. There was plenty of thunder and lightning among political junkies, but for much of the electorate, 2012 was a downer, reduced-turnout election, and the Democrat system is always going to prevail in such an environment. Big Government's clients will trudge to the polls and churn out votes pretty much on automatic pilot, no matter who the Democrat nominee is, and those big-city ballot machines don't require a lot of political energy to keep churning out results - not when the gears are coated with a century of grease.
Republicans should therefore conclude that they need to draw a sharp contrast with the Democrats, and they need to rally around exciting, high-energy candidates to remind a morbid electorate that there really is a choice, a reason to hit the polls in November. The Left understands that danger, which is why they launch all-out nuclear pre-emptive strikes on anyone who has a bit of sizzle. And those attacks are aided immeasurably by useful old-guard Republicans who sound almost indistinguishable from Obama campaign operatives when they attack fresh-faced conservatives.
This really should be Party Politics 101. It's exactly what Reagan's "Eleventh Commandment" was all about. He wasn't saying that internal disputes between Republicans should be strictly forbidden; he was cautioning members of the party to avoid all-out public smackdowns that would damage the party itself. And he was really just borrowing that philosophy from the Democrats. It's no coincidence that Reagan knew their strategies well.
Here's a contrast to mull over: you don't hear former Democrat congressman Bart Stupak savaging Barack Obama, even though Obama made an utter and complete fool of him. Ted Cruz has never said or done anything to John McCain that could compare to the way Obama made Stupak into a useful idiot, to keep the weak but not insignificant pro-life wing of the Democrat Party on board with ObamaCare. It cost Stupak his political career, but about the most fiery thing you'll ever him say about it is that he's left "perplexed and disappointed" by Obama's betrayal of the agreement they reached about contraception and abortion mandates in ObamaCare.
But John McCain stops just short of accusing prominent members of his own party of treason, just because they take the fiduciary duties of Congress seriously, instead of passively rubber-stamping a debacle like ObamaCare? He doesn't have anything to say about Obama's shock troops evicting World War II and Vietnam veterans from their memorials? He's untroubled by the President putting death benefits for veterans' families in jeopardy, until a surge of public outraged forced him to back down? McCain can't retire soon enough. I look forward to thanking him for his service to the country one more time on his way out.