When asked in a recent interview who he would vote for in a 2016 Presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul, John McCain responded that it would be a “tough choice.” Really? Has the Republican Party standard bearer in 2008 really sunk this low, that he would have a hard time choosing between Clinton and Paul? What is it that attracts McCain to Clinton? Is it because she is pro-choice? Is it because she is in favor of big government? Or is it because she is very famous and really popular with the media? If anything, it is probably the last reason; for John McCain loves the media that has long portrayed the establishment Senator as being a maverick. Indeed, in the interview, John McCain called Clinton a “rock star” when praising her. It is not too hard to tell what is important to him.
How about Rand Paul? Senator McCain famously called Paul and Ted Cruz “wacko birds” for their desire to not march in lock step with the party establishment. Rand Paul has been more of a maverick than McCain ever was, recently casting a gutsy single vote against the nominee for FBI Director in the Senate. His filibuster on drone usage against American citizens also comes to mind. If John McCain can’t choose between Clinton and Paul, it is because Paul represents the forces that McCain has sought to stifle in the Republican Party: libertarians and the Tea Party. McCain works against the heart of the grassroots GOP, all the while still making the rounds on the Sunday shows as a “Republican.” It is time for McCain to put an end to this nonsense and, like Arlen Specter before him, side with the Democratic Party. It would work against the Republicans seeking to gain control of the Senate in 2014, but at least it would save the party from someone who clearly no longer belongs in it.
What else has John McCain been up to? Of course, he has been a member of the Gang of 8, seeking to bring a pathway to citizenship to illegal immigrants. He has been “working closely with the White House and a handful of Democrats.” Why does bipartisanship come so naturally to him? It is because he shares so much in common with the Democrats as opposed to grassroots Republicans.
The time has come for McCain to accept that he needs to cross the aisle permanently on his frequent trips over there. If he doesn’t, he risks seriously diluting the Republican brand of limited government policy-making.
F. Peter Brown is an Associate Editor at the Western Center for Journalism and Editor of the Sound Money Institute. Check out his personal website.
Photo Credit: Donkey Hotey (Creative Commons)