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Tilting at Windmills

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February 26, 2010

IF IT'S SUNDAY.... NBC News is excited to let us know about the "Meet the Press" guest list for this Sunday's episode.

This Sunday: Exclusive! Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

After sparring with his 2008 presidential opponent -- President Barack Obama -- at this week's health care summit, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) sits down for an exclusive interview on this Sunday's "Meet the Press." What, if anything, was achieved at this bipartisan meeting? And how will Democrats and Republicans work together to confront health care reform and all the other challenges facing Washington, including terrorism, the economy and more?

I especially enjoyed the "Exclusive!" with the exclamation point, as if this were a rare, special occurrence -- instead of McCain's fourth "MTP" interview since March.

For those keeping score, this will be McCain's 20th appearance on a Sunday morning talk show since Obama's inauguration. That's an average of 1.5 appearances a month, every month, for over a year -- more than any other public official in the country.

Since the president's took office, McCain has been on ABC's "This Week" three times (9.27.09, 8.23.09, and 5.10.09), "Fox News Sunday" four times (12.20.09, 7.2.09, 3.8.09, and 1.25.09), CNN's "State of the Union" four times (1.10.10, 10.11.09, 8.2.09, and 2.15.09), and CBS's "Face the Nation" five times (1.24.10, 10.25.09, 8.30.09, 4.26.09, and 2.8.09). His appearance on "Meet the Press" this weekend will be his fourth since Obama's inauguration (2.28.10, 12.6.09, 7.12.09, and 3.29.09).

And who, exactly, is John McCain? He's the one who lost the 2008 presidential race badly, and is now just another reactionary conservative senator in the minority. Gregory will apparently ask for McCain's thoughts about health care, despite the fact that the senator's thoughts on the subject appear to fall somewhere between wrong, petty, and ridiculous.

There's just no reason for the media's obsession with McCain. None. Twenty Sunday-show appearances in 13 months? For an un-influential member of the minority? It's farcical.

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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Jesus, Steve, have you no memory? McCain was elected President in November 2008!

Posted by: rob! on February 26, 2010 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I took "exclusive" to mean that McCain would be on only one weekend show this week. I hope they are able to hold him to that.

Posted by: alkali on February 26, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Senator McCain looks old.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 26, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Come on. He shoots from the hip. He's a right straight shooter. Did I mention that he is honest and a real straight shooter? Even when he is being dishonest, that is only more proof of just how straight shooting he is. Willing to buck the positions of his party 1% of the time, he is just a darling maverick straight shooter. Did I mention that he shoots straight from the hip?

He is on because he is entertaining. That's about it.

Posted by: Suffern ACE on February 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, President McCain. Nice ring to it. I look forward to finding out what the American (white) people want.

Posted by: Scott F. on February 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

And that guy is totally cracking up, too. Did you see him yesterday? The hissing, hitching semi-laughter, the twitching, facial tics that seem to imply the wiring's getting a little crossed up in there somewhere. He begins to remind of some third-rate villain rejected from an old Batman script. "Sir, you're going to have to leave, your character's been written out. You're making Mr. Burton and Mr. Keaton nervous. Please, just go. Before we have to call lot security."

Posted by: jsacto on February 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

This week on Meet the Mess: John McCain! Hopefully David Gregory ("political moderator" lolz.....)will bring plenty of kleenex for Grandpa Puffy Face. What a pathetic dinosaur, it just gets more and more hard to watch. Please retire Mr. McCain, you have run your course into the ground.. Get rid of David Gregory too, what an empty hair wad.. Rachel Maddow, we have a great job for you. Limited levity but a glove like position for someone with an incredible talent for actually interviewing and fact seeking.

Posted by: Like a Teenage Trollop on February 26, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK


But without this appearance, Sen. McCain would have gone the entire month of February without appearing on a Sunday morning program. We couldn't have let that happen!

Posted by: Old School on February 26, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Oh fer Christsake!

Just say it:

President John McCain!

Doesn't that just sound perfect?

President John McCain!

It's like the name fer the Clint Eastwood/Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones/white hero motherfucker everybody in the deepest darkest shadows of his own nightmare hellhound fascistic desire for a Real Leader, Der Fuhrer, of the real batshit crazy American dominance of the whole of the American God's created universe, you fucking liberal twits. Get over it....

President John McCain
President John McCain
President John McCain
President John McCain
President John McCain
President John McCain
President John McCain
President John McCain
President John McCain

Whatta country!

Posted by: neill on February 26, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Can the MSM finish going out of business now? Pretty please?

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on February 26, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

we the people are extremely tired of issues being labled bipartisan. we aren't accomplishing anything when these two parties don't actauly have the american peoples best interest. all they are doing is basicaly fighting demo against rep. and we the people are tired of this.you can talk all you wantabi=out the issues.get it started and always believe in continuos improvement. if you looked at this health care with LEAN MANUFACTING IN MIND then we would have all of this resoved in less than 2 years if you need help then contact me as i can't afford to run for office.

Posted by: abel guerra on February 26, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Important Senator, maybe, or maybe not, but he is being hard pressed in his reelection bid by J D Hayworth who has the distinction of once being labeled as one of the 10 dumbest congress people. Not sure how to add a link but here is the archives address. http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/199512/msg00066.html

Posted by: mikeatmartel on February 26, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

The networks certainly deserve a portion of the blame, but so does McShamed. Most failed Presidential candidates have the common decency to duck the limelight for at least a year. Perhaps McCain thinks it's crucial that the public has up to the minute updates on his ever changing positions. What a sad little man.

Posted by: JoeW on February 26, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory was pimping his show on a local radio news program this morning. He was very proud of this "get".

Because everyone knows how tough it is to get John McCain to appear in front of a camera.

Posted by: howie on February 26, 2010 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

is it good or bad news that the rising talent in the GOP is not getting the exposure?
reminds me that the other potential running mates for McCain actually got some TV face time on his behalf, but Palin didn't. Might have changed his selection if had seen her being interviewed.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on February 26, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

If it's Friday, it's time to dust off this post and update the numbers!

Posted by: steverino on February 26, 2010 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

There's rising talent in the GOP? Do tell!

And I don't count Scott Brown, who is not so much a rising talent as a flavor of the month.

Posted by: scott_m on February 26, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I have asked innumerable times if anyone has questioned the NBC News people, and the rest of the MSM, about their ridiculous use of this and other less-than-credible personalities. I have yet to have a response. Does anyone here ever question them and get a response? Please provide a name and email address and I will do the honors. If I get a response, or I don't, I will post it here. All I ever read is complaints about how the MSM doesn't listen and allows lies to go unchallenged. Please post the responses to your complaints from the MSM.

If I am missing something, please let me know. I do not read every word here, but check from time to time almost daily.

Thanks for your reply!

Posted by: st john on February 26, 2010 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's simple, really. McCain has the actual photographic evidence of Mickey Kaus blowing goats, and Gregory is in those photos too, and desperate to keep that sad fact off the internets.

It's really the only plausible explanation.

Posted by: Realist on February 26, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

yes, he's a joke, but the good news is that he's such a joke that he has no influence on any side of the debate, so it's a wasted slot for the anti-Obama team...and their opportunities to rally voters against HCR are finite and dwindling...go McCain!!

Posted by: bruce k on February 26, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon! It's not fair to make otherwise-unemployables like Gregory try to be journalists - the class they flunked at Podunk U. Evn if they did that, their corporate bosses would fire them and then we'd have to put up with them ranting in raincoats under freeway overpasses in front of the cardboard box they were living in, hoping to be given a half-full bottle of rotgut for their efforts.

Watching the Sunday Morning "news" is to know that Paddy Chayefsky was right when he wrote "Network."

Posted by: TCinLA on February 26, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

MTP and all the Sunday shows are corporate trash, and I wouldn't watch them if I was paid to do so.

Posted by: Chris on February 26, 2010 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain is NOT "just another reactionary conservative senator."

If he were, he'd have some actual infuence in his caucus.

He's a flip flopper who has tacked for political advantage more outrageously than all but a few in a town that it pretty well known for it.

He's a relentless self promoter, who now has minimal friends within the Senate, especially within his own party.

In fact, he has few friends at all, outside of the Washington media. With them, he remains outstandingly popular.

Clearly, not "just another."

Posted by: Fides on February 26, 2010 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I keep commenting: The Media needs McCain and others like him to create the counterpoint to the Administration and Obama. They can't lose unless we all stop watching. That's what the Media banks on -We won't. That's how they fill their news cycle. If they didn't have the McCains then they wouldn't have the "exclusives, etc." to promote themselves. News for profit is nothing more than the NFL. Who scores-wins. Repubs love this s---!

Posted by: fillphil on February 26, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, the Muppets had Statler and Waldorf, the two old gaffers who heckled from the balcony; why not have McCain and Bunning? They're can't say anything nice and they both look like they stayed too long at the taxidermist.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on February 26, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Good golly, I just love it when I am right! I posted the following yesterday afternoon...
----------------------------------------------

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

Posted by: AmusedOldVet on February 26, 2010 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

What's so exclusive about McCain? He was on Good Morning America just this morning.

Posted by: stinger on February 26, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is quietly considered the General von Hindenburg of our day among many a media mogul! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 26, 2010 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

This is what I sent to MTP Comments (not easy to find on their web site):

Are you kidding!?? John McCain!?? And this is news!?? Who cares what this tired old has been has to say about anything. He hasn't had a relevant idea in years -- not even when he was running for president. So why? Are you helping his re-election? This is not what I call creative journalism. This is boring same old, same old. I won't be watching -- and I can't imagine who will -- not even my 80 year old parents. Wake up -- this isn't 2008; this is 2010.

Posted by: SuzanneNYC on February 26, 2010 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

If it's Sunday, it'S MMT (Meet McCain Time)

Posted by: MTP-Analyst on February 26, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone ever looked at what McCain's appearances do for the ratings of these shows? It's hard to imagine that he is a great draw, but if he is that would explain the love.

Posted by: Virginia on February 26, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

The first exchange McCain had with Obama was embarrassing. The man barely bothers to hide his contempt for Obama. I find it funny that McCain goes out of his way to complain that Obama is still blaming Bush for one thing or another. Are we allowed to start complaining about how McCain is still bitching about the election?

Posted by: chris on February 26, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe they'll talk about this nice little spanking Obama gave McCain yesterday:

    The 2008 Republican presidential nominee accused his former rival of "unsavory" dealmaking, of breaking his promise to put health-care negotiations on C-SPAN, of supporting a 2,400-page bill, of giving favors to lobbyists and special interests. He directed Obama to "go back to the beginning" with health-care reform.

    "Let me just make this point, John," the president said when the tirade ended. "We're not campaigning anymore. The election's over." Teacher directed student to drop the "talking points" and "focus on the issues of how we actually get a bill done."


Posted by: Marko on February 26, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hear Hea Virginia. That was my question too. I love Steve's work, but rather than just harping on this ridiculousness, how about some reporting? How about some research? How do ratings when he is on compare to ratings when he is not on a given show? How do the shows he on do that week against the other shows? What is the official comment from the networks or the hosts when they are asked these questions or presented with these facts? I know you're a blogger and not a reporter, but you can do a little reporting too. No one will tell. We promise.

Posted by: Buffalonian on February 26, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Could somebody please provide a comparison between McCain's appearances on Sunday shows and Kerry's in 2005-2006? I think that would be especially instructive.

Posted by: John on February 26, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

An hour after Steve's piece was posted I clicked on 'comments', hoping to be entertained.

I was not disappointed! Thanks, all.

Posted by: DAY on February 26, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

NBC's Meet the Press = MTP, you don't say!

Well, as of late I was mistakenly led to believe NBC's MTP meant McCain's Talking Points - to be aired once a week when wingnuts need the spiritual uplift! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 26, 2010 at 1:49 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 26, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Watching the Sunday Morning "news" is to know that Paddy Chayefsky was right when he wrote "Network."

Posted by: TCinLA on February 26, 2010 at 1:12 PM

And a couple lines of dialog from that great film perfectly encapsulate what probably went down in the Meet The Press office concerning yet another booking of McCain:

Nelson Chaney: "All I know is that this violates every canon of respectable broadcasting."
Frank Hackett: "We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get."

Posted by: electrolite on February 26, 2010 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

There's just no reason for the media's obsession with McCain. None. Twenty Sunday-show appearances in 13 months? For an un-influential member of the minority? It's farcical.

No, its not.

Even the left-leaning Sunday Talk shows know this truth--John McCain should be sitting in that Oval Office today, not Barack Obama.

That's why they put him on the shows. He's the man who should be running the country. Getting his insights as to what the country should be doing are invaluable.

Posted by: Patrick from Anoka on February 26, 2010 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Now come on Steve, show a little compassion! John McCain desperately needs tho have his ego stroked. Didn't you notice yesterday how he's suffering like a dog.

Not only that the presidency has escaped him, now his senate seat is under threat, Joe the Plumber has disowned him, and Cindy's off endorsing the gay lifestyle. John just wants to spend the weekend with the few friends that sill stand by him.

Posted by: eserwe on February 26, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

If he loses the primary to Hayworth, McCain will probably be named the HOST of Meet the Press.
At that, he'd be better than David Gregory.

Posted by: JMG on February 26, 2010 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Who wants to bet the the discussion will be devoid of policy and substance, and concentrate almost exclusively on procedure and politics?

Posted by: John Dillinger on February 26, 2010 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I don't watch McCain appearances. I think the networks could save money by just putting a sign up in the Republican's seat that says in big letters "NO!"
It wouldn't be so bad to see him so frequently if he had something substantive to say.

Posted by: Doug on February 26, 2010 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I bet the press just can't let the old guy down. After all, he has thrown some great barbeques over the years.

His appearances are an unsaid agreement made over beer and slabs of fresh grilled steak.

Maybe we need to get Steve invited to one of Cindy and John's gigs.

Then it'll be crystal clear as to why he's on he Sundane Shows so much!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 26, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you know the old saying: You are what you fete.

And since ABC wants to tout their "Loser Exclusivity"---I guess we all know what that makes ABC out to be. If I were a mouse named Mickey, I'd be updating the ol' resume right about now....

Posted by: S. Waybright on February 26, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

The Corporate/Repiglican Media is nothing more than a criminal enterprize akin to the Mafia .......

Posted by: stormskies on February 26, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

My reaction to this "Exclusive!" -- BFD.

Posted by: VaLiberal on February 26, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

The lobotomized media showing its own infermity by forcing the washed up has been on us.
It will be delicious when he is gone.

Posted by: Northern Observer on February 26, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see what the problem is. In 2005 and 2006, you couldn't turn on a tv show without seeing John Kerry.

Every issue being discussed by President Bush was contrasted by the opinion of John Kerry.

He was ubiquitous.

Or am I just mis-remembering?

Posted by: buggy ding dong on February 26, 2010 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

I think there's a hidden opportunity here to make a point by the administration.

I think they should welcome "John's" latest appearance, and make only the 3rd Undersecretary for Veteran's Affairs available for the rebuttal argument.

If Greggory complains, just point out that when he gets a serious guest on with something new to say, the real folks have better things to do.

Posted by: Hemmingplay on February 26, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

I don't watch Meet the Press.

Period.

Posted by: Elizabelle on February 26, 2010 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I think McCain deserves some credit for the superhuman strength it must take to look at himself in the mirror each morning.

Posted by: bob h on February 26, 2010 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: JMG on February 26, 2010 at 2:06 PM |

I was going to post what you said, but no need. You said it perfectly.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on February 26, 2010 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

First, consider the CNN audience that it already has, and then the audience it wants to get.

Now, quick! Name a Republican! No, don't think about it too much. Who's one with national name recognition? Sarah Palin.

Yeah, but Sara's not available to answer anybody's questions. Besides, she charges too much.

So who's left? You know who.

This is not a mystery or a conspiracy. It's about market share.

Posted by: MartinOne on February 26, 2010 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I still don't understand why Sunday morning shows are filled with right wingers all of the time. Shouldn't they be in church? I'm appalled at their lack of faith and RepublicanPointofView's oversight on not calling them out for it.

Posted by: doubtful on February 26, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Well, what the hell. It's not like he's doing anything else, is it?

Posted by: Mark on February 26, 2010 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

He's got celebrity, our John. This is the man the conservatives feel should be sitting in the Oval Office right now. Then they wouldn't feel obligated to get involved, and teabag, and have to lose precious TV time to "take back America." Life would have been so much better under our John.

Plus, he has name recognition. These talk shows have to keep the faces of their leadership right in front of Mainstreet, who'd otherwise might fall back to political apathy and forget to be enraged.

Best of all, THIS is the man who selected (had selected for him) a female running mate. THIS is the man who brought us Sarah Palin, and we all know what a star draw she is...MTP is hoping that John will be the vehicle by which Teh Great She will grace them with that vast knowledge of her own opinions one day.

Posted by: * on February 26, 2010 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

No wonder MTP's ratings are lower.

Posted by: MLJohnston on February 26, 2010 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

I called this yesterday.

Posted by: Winkandanod on February 26, 2010 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

And probing, professional journalist that he is, I'm certain David Gregory will ask McCain to explain his statement that Obama suspended his campaign just like he did. I'll be watching. . .

Posted by: emmie on February 26, 2010 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory will apparently ask for McCain's thoughts about health care, ...

For the benefit of whom? If he keeps repeating them so he won't forget or in case somebody still hasn't heard him the last go round.

What we really want to know is how long it takes for him to whistle after eating 4 crackers.

Posted by: Kevin on February 26, 2010 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

"There's just no reason for the media's obsession with McCain. None."

There is so! He gives good BBQ.

Posted by: josef on February 26, 2010 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the heads-up. Now I can take Press the Meat off my TiVo to-do list.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 26, 2010 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I look forward to seeing McCain this Sunday. I support him 110%, and hope he will consider running for President in 2012. I would love to see Obama relinquish his power on Inaugeration day, 2012, to McCain: PRICELESS!!!

Posted by: Karen B on February 26, 2010 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

"I called this yesterday." - Winkandanod

Well, I'm calling it next week. And the week after that!

Posted by: Marko on February 26, 2010 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't that David Gregory on McCain's backyard tire swing last year?

Posted by: Mark on February 26, 2010 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Karen B: Are you Sarah's sister or mother? Don't forget to ask her to share the wealth. Only in America!

Posted by: fillphil on February 26, 2010 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

I look forward to seeing McCain this Sunday. I support him 110%, and hope he will consider running for President in 2012. I would love to see Obama relinquish his power on Inaugeration day, 2012, to McCain: PRICELESS!!!

Okay, I honestly can't tell if that is parody or not. But you know, it is an intriguing notion. I bet the odds on that are practically infinity. Anyone who plays the lottery would do just as well to bet a buck with a Vegas odds-maker that this scenario will play out.

Posted by: Realist on February 26, 2010 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK
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