The Maverick Returns (July 28, 2011)

Had I been a Republican during the 2000 Presidential primaries, there is no doubt I would have voted McCain instead of Bush. At the time, the man came off as relatively uncompromised. As a decorated Vietnam veteran and a legislator who had a record (at the time) for rejecting pandering in order to reach across the aisle and get things done, he had my respect. Had he made it to the general election, I might have even considered casting a ballot in his favor instead of Al Gore.

By the time the 2008 campaign rolled around and McCain had morphed into a man who suddenly wanted nothing to do with immigration reform, labeled Barack Obama “that guy,” and selected Sarah Palin as a running mate, effectively putting an idiot one heartbeat away from the Oval Office, I was glad I was never faced with a real opportunity to punch a hanging chad in his favor. Turned out McCain was just like all the rest. He would say or do anything to get elected.

But all it once it appears that the removal of the Holy Grail chase, the end of his POTUS dreams, have freed John McCain to take a real stand where certain issues are concerned. Or it could be that at nearly 75 years of age, he just doesn’t give a shit anymore what anyone thinks.

And so yesterday, I read this report from Yahoo News’ The Ticket: “John McCain Unloads on the Tea Party,” and my stunned heart sang. Not so much because I care about McCain’s rediscovery of his backbone, but I was enthralled because finally SOMEBODY is pointing out the Tea Party Emperors are not wearing any clothes.

I could care less about his pity for John Boehner’s attempts to cobble together a last minute deficit reduction/debt ceiling compromise, but seriously, what’s not to love about quotes like this:

“The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . . Barack Obama,” McCain said, quoting a Wall Street Journal article. “The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.”

“This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP Senate nominees,” McCain added, still reading from the article.

Squee!!!! I know he’s basically regurgitating the work of another writer, but the fact that he does so on the Senate floor, with C-Span cameras rolling, provides a tacit blessing to the Journal’s indictment. Like it or not, McCain remains a standard bearer of the GOP and though it is unlikely, this should give pause to intolerant right extremists.

Allow me to quote another Open Salon blogger I greatly admire, a gentleman by the name of Cranky Cuss. I published a post this past Tuesday entitled, “The Party is Over,” where I detailed my general disgust with the current “work” and comprehensive ineptitude of both political factions. That said, Crank offered a fairly prescient indictment of the Republican caucus in particular:

“The Republicans would rather have the nation default, with all the devastation it would cause our already teetering economy not to mention the world economy, than allow Obama to be re-elected. I consider that treason.”

Thank you Mr. Cuss for calling a spade a spade, and grazi Senator McCain, however belatedly, for trying to lead your party by example.

And Then There Were 58…Bayh, Bayh Evan (February 16, 2010)

Bayh

http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20100216/pl_bloomberg/a6qybv5vkza4

Aw nuts!

If there is one thing I admire about the hard Republican right, it’s their apparently insatiable appetite for battle. Over the last 12 months, the “Party of No,” has used its spare energy for nothing beyond intense ideological and bureaucratic grudge matches – and seems to relish the confrontation. Like Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple as well as Pixar, the people who have taken you back to the Revolution – literally to the 1770s with the resurgence of the “Tea Party” – seem to thrive on adversity and their underdog status. It’s like they are daring anyone in Congress to actually try something. Democrats are body checked at every turn.

But the bullying gets so much easier when your opponent takes his toys and goes home. It has always stymied me to come up with reasons why those most wed to change (many, but not all of the left leaning Dems) appear to have the weakest stomach when it comes to fighting for it.
Today we learn that Evan Bayh, a former two-term Indiana Governor, and two-term Senator, who has never lost an electoral contest, is leaving the game. His reason: “‘There’s just too much brain-dead partisanship’ in Congress, Bayh told ABC, and the American people need to vote out those who are ‘rigidly ideological.’”

Alright, I feel you there Evan, but how does your resignation help us to achieve that goal? By vacating your formly Democratic seat, aren’t you just opening it up to Republican takeover, a prospect not impossible in semi-conservative Indiana?

It is hard, both as a staunch liberal, and as a lover of the textbook (rather than actual) political process, to find much to celebrate these days. Though I do not place the blame on Obama, who has nonetheless developed into a curiously “lame duck” first term chief, “Change” becomes an ever dimmer possibility with every news cycle. The divided electorate seems more fractured and unwilling to come together to get work done than at any time in our history. And that is dangerous, because we have a comprehensive list of real problems that need solving now.
I would beg Senator Bayh to reconsider, but I am sure he has already fielded calls from Majority Leader Harry Reid, possibly even the President himself.

I am daydreaming of a targeted flood, a la Noah, that could wash away Capitol Hill and give it a fresh start. It appears nothing short of that is going to move American democracy forward. I guess Evan Bayh shares my dream. It’s just that I thought we went through the process of electing officials so they could help us, not get bored/frustrated/annoyed and give up. If Senators get disillusioned and quit, how do they expect us to stay engaged?