Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 25, 2010

'THE ELECTION'S OVER'.... The discussions at the health care reform summit today have been broken up into sections. When Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took a turn to speak, the subject at hand was supposed to be insurance reform.

But McCain decided to skip the topic, and instead whine bitterly about process. He complained about not having enough transparency; he complained about things President Obama said during the campaign; and he complained about "unsavory" deal-making in the Senate.

The president, appearing a little annoyed, explained, "We're not campaigning anymore. The election's over." Obama added that "we can spend the remainder of the time with our respective talking points going back and forth. We were supposed to be talking about insurance."

When McCain, appearing even more acrimonious than usual, said, "The American people care about what we did and how we did it." The president replied, "They do care about it, John, and I think the way you characterized it would get some strong objections from the other side. We can have a debate about process or we can have a debate about how we help the American people at this point. And the latter debate is the one I think they care about a little bit more."

It's been a consistent problem all morning. Obama has tried, repeatedly, to focus the discussion on substantive policy matters. Republicans have generally responded with talk about process, legislative mechanisms, and the number of pages in the bill.

Knowing media outlets, this exchange will likely be one of the more talked-about developments of the morning (Obama vs. McCain will prove irresistible). And that's a shame, because the substance of this discussion matters infinitely more than the senator's resentment about losing an election.

McCain, like his GOP colleagues, was given a chance to raise meaningful concerns and debate the policy in earnest. But whining is so much easier than governing, and talking points are easier to repeat than arguments about policy.

For some, the election is never over.

Steve Benen 1:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

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Comments

Crash McCain is a bitter old loser.

Posted by: merl on February 25, 2010 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I've been watching Flyboy during the forum and he's about as disengaged as I've come to expect. God I'm glad that he didn't get elected. No patience or interest in details, just another trust your gut and shoot from the hip Republican.

No wonder he took his opportunity to talk by acting like he was trying to relive a Presidential debate from 2008. The man has nothing else to offer.

Posted by: about time on February 25, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is in serious trouble in his re-election campaign back home, so I'm wondering if he was just trying to portray himself as a victim of the system (again) in a desperate attempt to win a few sympathy votes in Arizona?

Never mind that he was just wasting everyone's time and ignoring the whole reason for the summit in the first place.

Or he could just be losing his mind and forgot what the event was about altogether.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on February 25, 2010 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Sorest.Loser.Ever. Had he a sense of decency, he'd be too ashamed of himself to utter a single word on any topic.

Posted by: JoeW on February 25, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

As much as Obama would like to forget his campaign promises, his backroom deal with Big Pharma is "unsavory" to say the least.

Posted by: cnmne on February 25, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

You know who's not a loser? Joe Biden. He slapped Eric Cantor around pretty good.

Posted by: Cazart on February 25, 2010 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I love the irony of his "we both campaigned to change the way Washington works" comment. So what does McCranky do? Refuses to talk about the problem of reforming insurance for Americans to instead whine about what the other side did or didn't do during the process. Sounds like pretty standard Washington operating procedure to me.

Posted by: oh my on February 25, 2010 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

McCain will now pull the Grand Slam and appear on all 4 Sunday shows.

Posted by: TonyB on February 25, 2010 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'm struck by the editing of this snipit by CBS. It looks like McCain interrupted the president and like he dominated the interaction. Had Steve not put in some elements of the actual discussion, I would've come away with a different impression of the encounter. Sigh

Posted by: lmhk on February 25, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

McAce lost on points (Electoral College amung them) a number of times. I wonder which of the homes he owns is listed as his residene on the insurance company's elegbility /residency forms, like the one I just filled-out for my son who is no longer covered by my policy due to his graduation from college. People like these dorks who think normal folks need to "make a go of it" are stinkers. Unlike their present situation,wealthy, insured, and in power, normal folks, at best, raely have those three words lined-up as qualifiers on their own insurance forms. They instead, are exposing themselves as being uncaring, if not, inhuman. They should be ashamed of themselves. Period. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on February 25, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

@ JoeW

Sorest.Loser.Ever. Had he a sense of decency, he'd be too ashamed of himself to utter a single word on any topic.

Sorry, Joe, no. That'd be one Richard "Torture them All" Cheney.

Not that McCain's not a close second, though.

Posted by: efgoldman on February 25, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

John S. McCain.

The "S" stands for "sore loser."

Pass it on....

Posted by: S. Waybright on February 25, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and George was mean to me too. You know that thing in South Carolina in 2000.

Posted by: J. McCain on February 25, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Sorest.Loser.Ever. Had he a sense of decency, he'd be too ashamed of himself to utter a single word on any topic.
Posted by: JoeW

Except the Sunday morning shows treat him like a policy wonk, how can he not feel special when he is treated special by half the 'liberal' media ?

Posted by: ScottW on February 25, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Actually this approach is going to backfire on the Republicans. The American people want Washington to get 'er done. They don't give a rats backside about all the process whining. I hope they keep it up.

Of course, it all depends on whether the media outlets are honest in their assessment and presentation of the day. They might be able to save cranky and his friends, but if they are honest, complaining about process in the middle of the summit plays into Obama's hand.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 25, 2010 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

The media loves to write process stories. They love the horse race, love the personalities. But writing about substance is just not as interesting to our media.

Posted by: VOR on February 25, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think the way you characterized it would get some strong objections from the other side.

Apparently "the other side" from McCain, i.e. the Democratic side, does not include Obama.

I don't know whether Obama thinks that he is a Republican, whether he truly thinks he is above partisanship, or whether he is just marketing himself as a non-partisan figure for political purposes. In any event, it is extremely annoying.

Posted by: square1 on February 25, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Obama: We're not campaigning anymore. The election is over.

McCain: I'm reminded of that every day.

Jeez, John, really? "This job was rightfully mine, and you took it away from me?" Wallowing much in self-pity and being eaten alive by it?

Posted by: eserwe on February 25, 2010 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

The repubs and the bill's opposition are just trying to muddy the waters. The talk about "transparency" and "what we did and how we did it" are trying to taint the whole health care debate with the hint of corruption. And the centrist Dems opened up the process to such charges by insisting on perks for their states.

Obama could say, "if we want to talk about "transparency" and "corruption," let's start with the biggest source of those, the political contributions from pharmaceutical companies (McCain) and insurance companies (Lieberman)."

But Obama doesn't want to open that up, because Dems don't have clean hands either.

Posted by: flubber on February 25, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

VOR, the media loves process stories, but the general public, in poll after poll, is pissed at the self-serving whining coming out of Washington. A lot of people outside Washington (and Wall Street) are demanding that somebody, anybody, pay attention to their needs. Whining about process is exactly what the public doesn't want to hear in this setting.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 25, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

When I have President McCain on 'Meet The Press' this Sunday, he will provide clarification of why he believes that the process is unfair.

As he has already provided a clear, concise explanation of what he wishes to achieve as our president, on health care, we will not need to discuss that further.

Naturally, neither myself or the idiot who took over the show after my departure will attempt to point out any discrepancies between what President McCain says and the truth.

In parting, I point out to you that there are valid reasons why my show was selected as the favorite of Dick Cheney to appear on. It is with pride that my successor follows in this tradition. It's the only damn thing that the asswipe Gregory does right!

Posted by: TheGhostOfTimRussert on February 25, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone knows that Senator John McCain was the real winner of the election in 2008! It is obvious to all persons of intelligence, who are willing to acknowledge the truth, that the election was stolen by ACORN.

It is just unfortunate that the election results were not able to go before the Supreme Court like in the 2000 election, where they were able to prevent the voters of Florida from stealing the selection from Jeb & Katherine.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on February 25, 2010 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain complains about transparency while part of an open-forum televised nationally.

Its long past time to retire.

Posted by: evinfuilt on February 25, 2010 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmn. You know, 'The party of sore losers' is a label that might have some legs.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd on February 25, 2010 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Reply to Remus Shepard:

We have already reserved the 'party of sore losers' label for the democrat party. Our corporate media has usefully applied this to the dems after the 2000 & 2004 presidential elections. Just because Gore actually received the most votes in Florida in 2000 was not justification for the dems to complain loudly, but we labeled them sore losers anyway. Just because Bush won the 2004 election with fraud in Ohio was not justification for the dems to complain loudly, but we labeled them sore losers anyway.

Have you ever heard our corporately owned media applying this label to John McCain and the republicans?

When you dems get enough wealth and desire to own the corporate media, then you too can decide what is discussed and what labels are applied to the other party. Until then, STFU.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on February 25, 2010 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

McCain, like his GOP colleagues, was given a chance to raise meaningful concerns and debate the policy in earnest. But whining is so much easier than governing, and talking points are easier to repeat than arguments about policy.

And to think how close this senile crybaby came to the Presidency, with Palin in tow no less. Our politics are insane.

Posted by: electrolite on February 25, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I give this clip an F.

It's cropped way too short. It's as if the intended audience has a thirty second attention span.

Posted by: Tim in SF on February 25, 2010 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Give President Obama an A for effort, but as the saying goes, "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." We need to move on without Repubs.
Pass the bill, own it, implement it, tweak it if necessary. It must be done.

Posted by: MMM on February 25, 2010 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know what Steve Benen was watching, but it wasn't the health care summit. Republicans mentioned future taxes, the cost of the proposed bill, etc. This is a totally biased article about the summit today. Why don't you people quit whining about John McCain and start paying attention to how high your taxes are going to rise?

Posted by: llc on February 25, 2010 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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