Supplanted by the Three Amigos of Paul, Lee and Cruz, McCain became an informant, collaborator with the Dems, who nurse his fragile ego
In the Democrat-held Senate McCain is the ‘model prisoner’
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It is now clear that Sen. John S. McCain III (R.-Ariz.) has completed his transition from being the Senate’s “maverick” to becoming the upper body’s model prisoner.
It is not just that McCain is a snitch, running to the press or the Senate floor, whenever a rebellious conservative disturbs the good order and discipline of upper chamber. The son and grandson of Navy admirals now meets in secret with the warden, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), to cook up new ways to undermine and thwart conservatives.
McCain was always a sketchy character. But, what really turned him into the warden’s pet was the worldwide phenomenon of Sen. Randall H. Paul (R-Ky.) filibustering the on the Senate floor from just before lunch March 6 until 12:30 a.m., the next morning.
Paul joined in his effort by the two other senators, Michael S. Lee (R.-Utah) and R. Edward Cruz (R.-Texas), the new Three Amigos. But, around 10 p.m., other Republicans senators showed up, including members of the GOP leadership team and the Minority Leader A. Mitchell McConnell (R-Ky.) himself.
The night was supposed to belong to McCain. He arranged for his GOP colleagues to dine that night with President Barack Obama, and because the partnership forged at dinner was brokered by McCain, it was supposed to make him the de facto leader of the Republicans.
But, all his plans were dashed as around 10:30 p.m., McConnell, who worked as hard as anyone alive to keep Paul out of the Senate, asked the other Kentucky senator to yield the floor to him, so he too could be part of the filibuster.
McCain was livid. He was so livid that the next morning he and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R.-S.C.) came to the floor to denounce Paul and the other senators in the filibuster as “whacko birds.”
Soon afterwards, Reid hosted a closed-door meeting of senators to commemorate the 40th anniversary of McCain’s release from his North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp in the old Senate chamber.
After that meeting, whatever loyalty McCain held for the Republican Party or for conservatism was wiped away. The Republicans had moved on from the 76-year-old son and grandson of Navy admirals, but the Democrats loved him and respected him.
Jilted and confused by his loss of status, McCain switched parties without switching parties. In the next battle, when conservatives rallied to defeat new restrictions on gun rights, McCain supported the Democrats and spoke in favor of a background check amendment authored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D.-N.Y.).
Then, came the immigration bill, and McCain stood up for amnesty for illegal aliens and helped deliver another victory to the president.
In July, McCain helped the Democrats gut the filibuster itself in a magnificent surrender of minority rights, by which the Republicans agreed not to oppose the president’s nominees in exchange for the Democrats allowing the filibuster for nominees to stay on the books.
Paul had filibustered John O. Brennan for CIA director in March. In July, McCain made sure it would not happen again.
In the 18 months left in this Congress, conservatives must first recognize that no longer does McCain function as a conservative, nor a member of the GOP. He is a full-partner with Obama and the Democrats.
The primary option is not realistic. In 2010, former congressman J. D. Hayworth challenged McCain. But, Hayworth was not able to make the sale and lost by 24 points. Looking back, we see it was an opportunity lost.
All that can be done now it to treat him like the snitch he wants to be. The reason he does not formally switch parties is the chance the GOP takes over the chamber in the 2014 elections. If that happens, conservatives must be united in denying McCain a chairmanship or hefty boost in staffers that comes with being in the majority.