Ah, that's the maverick we all know and love: the one who spends more time publicly criticizing members of his own party than he does the people and policies of the other party.
A joke made its way around the Capitol yesterday: How do you know the 2008 election is really over? Because John McCain is causing trouble for Republicans again.
Two and a half months removed from his defeat in the race for the presidency, colleagues say, McCain bears more resemblance to the unpredictable and frequently bipartisan lawmaker they have served with for decades than the man who ran an often scathing campaign against Barack Obama. In some instances, he's even carrying water for his former rival.
"Mac is back!" one of his devoted friends in the Senate declared as McCain walked into the chamber Wednesday to deliver his first speech of the 111th Congress: a blunt admonishment of Republicans delaying Hillary Rodham Clinton's confirmation as secretary of state.
"I remind all my colleagues: We had an election," McCain noted. "I think the message the American people are sending us now is they want us to work together, and get to work."
Jim Geraghty at NRO remarks:
Mac is back—back to his moral preening about how bipartisan he is, back to his reflexive demonization of his own party, back to his refusal to recognize any legitimate concerns raised by those who disagree with him. If we're going to have Democratic agenda enacted, better it be by a Democrat than a Republican obsessed with avoiding the "partisan" label in the White House.Back in the primaries, McCain benefited from the fact that the conservative vote was divided among several candidates. I could come up with pros and cons for each of the GOP candidates... except McCain. I decided that there was no way I could in good conscience vote for him. By the time the Texas primary rolled around, McCain already had the nomination secured, so my vote for Fred Thompson (who had already withdrawn) was purely symbolic (albeit sincere).
In the summer of 2008 I got one of those window stickers that helped me to express my wholehearted support for the party's nominee:
If I have to...
I was actually going to vote for him in November, but only because the Democrats' choice made him look good. I never got around to putting the sticker in my car window, because in late August McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. I still didn't trust him, but I gave him credit for a little bit of sense. A little. Choosing Palin did nothing to change who he is at his core.
This "real McCain" has finally reemerged, and conservatives have gone back to wondering out loud: Why does he continue to call himself Republican?
Not that "conservative" and "Republican" are synonymous, but still...