“It’s easy for me to go to Washington and, frankly, be somewhat divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have.”
Those words were spoken by Senator John McCain on September 11, 2008… and now it appears they may finally be hitting home for his long-suffering constituents. In fact, courtesy of Citizens United, we have a poll to prove it.
Kellyanne Conway, who conducted the poll and analyzed the results, says that “GOP primary voters actually prefer three very different Republicans to McCain on the ballot. In Arizona, only 29.3% of ‘likely 2016 Republican primary voters’ agreed [that] McCain deserved re-election, while 64.2% agreed that ‘it’s time to give a new person a chance to do the job.’ The other 6.5% did not know.”
Time for the Changing of the Guard?
Senator John McCain is easily the conservative movement’s least favorite senator, not just because he has the most liberal voting record, but because he fancies himself a deal maker. He’s the guy who likes to strike big political bargains; and at times, he rescues flailing liberals with his antics.
Conservatives also don’t like dealing with McCain’s compelling biography. You see, John McCain is a certified war hero. Born into a Navy family, he started down his career path early by attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Then, after being shot down over Vietnam during his 23rd bombing mission, he spent much of the Vietnam War as a prisoner in the infamous Hanoi Hilton.
In 1981, McCain left the Navy and went to Arizona to run for political office. In 1982, he was elected to the U.S. Congress. In 1986, he was promoted by his constituents to the U.S. Senate. Finally, in 2008, he had the honor of being the Republican nominee for president. Of course, as we all know from history, Barack Obama toasted him in the election.
Yet in spite of his presidential setbacks and advancing age – McCain is nearing 80 years old – he’s preparing to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2016.
The long-serving senator recently gave an extended interview with Phoenix’s daily newspaper, The Arizona Republic, in which he acknowledged that many voters would like for him to retire. The fact is, voters are tired of him after more than 30 years of service. But when questioned about potential Republican primary opponents, McCain said emphatically, “You know me: A fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed… I know that I will be very well prepared.”
Indeed, it’s unusual for a senator to be making such aggressive moves this far ahead of a possible campaign; and McCain’s rotten poll numbers are likely the reason. That said, McCain still has plenty of resources at his disposal. He recently held a fundraiser at the swanky Phoenix Ritz-Carlton, near Camelback Mountain; and the guest list reads like a “Who’s Who” of Arizona.
The list included current Governor Jan Brewer, Senator Jeff Flake, former Senator Jon Kyl, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Governor Fife Symington, Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring, former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, and Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver.
McCain may be an underdog for the first time in 30 years; but any challenger needs to understand that, even in old age, McCain is a formidable campaigner. In the senator’s own words, “Bring it on.”
This commentary originally appeared at WallStreetDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (Flickr)
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