Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 22, 2010

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO 'COUNTRY FIRST'?.... The morning after a historic Democratic victory on health care reform, several media outlets asked the question tens of people nationwide wanted the answer to: what does John McCain think about the legislation he doesn't understand and had nothing to do with?

For his part, the Arizona Republican said he and his GOP colleagues will no longer want to work constructively with Senate Democrats.

Democrats shouldn't expect much cooperation from Republicans the rest of this year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned Monday. [...]

"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

This is just sad. To hear McCain tell it, Democrats hurt Republicans' feelings, so Republicans don't want to do any more work.

I'm not quite sure how this would be any different from how McCain has been conducting himself all along. Despite repeated attempts at outreach from Democrats, the confused Arizona senator has refused to cooperate on any issue. Now we're going to see McCain fold his arms, pout, and refuse to play nice? Sounds like more of the same.

But it's this notion that Dems "poisoned the well" that's especially foolish. Democrats ran on a platform of reforming the health care system, got elected, and then went about fulfilling their campaign promises. They tried to work with the GOP, which deliberately chose to ignore the outreach. Left with no alternative, Dems proceeded on their own, and achieved a breakthrough success.

For that, McCain believes Dems should be punished ... with more obstructionism.

McCain's sense of duty and responsibility -- I seem to recall a "country first" slogan being used not long ago -- has become a punch-line. If he's decided not to do any work for the rest of the year, why doesn't McCain just forgo his paycheck and stop showing up for work?

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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Comments

I'm unclear, do the Democrats have a Senate candidate lined up for AZ yet?

Posted by: mcc on March 22, 2010 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ignore the twaddle.

Posted by: David in NY on March 22, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Great! Then I guess we won't have to listen to his prattle on the Sunday talk shows anymore. Ha Ha.

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on March 22, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

What twaddle. Like they've worked constructively on ANY issue this year.

McCain is a useless old crank.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on March 22, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Off-topic (sorry) but it seems to me that the Washington Monthly website is taking forever to load today. Is something weird going on there?

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 22, 2010 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

McCain checked out a while ago. He can't remember what he had for breakfast or when he last changed his underwear. Exactly who pays any attention to what he says or does? What examples of Rethug cooperation in the present Senate or Congress would he cite? Certainly there are none on any major issues, and the Rethug obstructionism on appointments is criminal.

The Rethugs have decided that being 'the party of no' is to their benefit, and only a fool thinks that will change. Hopefully, Obama and company have learned that lesson finally. Whatever governance the Dems manage will be totally on their own hook, and while the country may vote for hopeless, endless, gridlock in the fall by giving the Rethugs back the House, one can hope that most people will see the futility in such a destructive course.

Posted by: rrrk1 on March 22, 2010 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Whatever happened to 'Country First'?"

It was never anything but a bull***t marketing slogan.

Posted by: UncommonSense on March 22, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Lest you forget , McCain is a hero . Quite possibly a telegenic saint , considering Mr Benen's Sunday morning beauty contests puzzle count is tight .

Posted by: FRP on March 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

President McCain's party had been sooo helpful up to this point... I'm sure the Dim clowns in the clown car Senate are sooo disappointed that now the Repugnant clowns are gonna be so clownish... yawn.

Posted by: neill on March 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, come on. "Country First" == "McCain First".

Posted by: MattF on March 22, 2010 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

How do I sign-up Sen. McCain for a death panel?

Posted by: Gridlock on March 22, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

McAce is still really pissed-off he was beaten for the presidency (a job he truly believed was his by right) by a blackman who was smarter, a clearer thinker, and more idea oriented than he. McAce like many from his generation have little regard for women, minorities, and social well being of the class they think is below theirs. He's a stinker who will be remembered as a knownothing nobody who crashed a few planes and was tortured to a point where he felt he needed to extend that regard to any and evry one who does/did not think like him. He cemented this last distingtion by not demanding an end to torture and then demanding an accounting to those who used it. He is truly a nauseating human. Truly nauseating...

Posted by: Stevio on March 22, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

This is just proof of what I was saying during the presidential campaign:

"Country First" is simply a targeting priority.


Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on March 22, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

You know, one time McCain was in a place where they didn't have bi-partisanship.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on March 22, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with being all-nuclear all the time is that you lose any leverage that comes with the threat of going nuclear. Basically, McCain threatened to continue doing what he has already been doing and would quite likely have continued doing whether the bill passed or not. It's a tantrum not a threat.

Posted by: Barbara on March 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

mikefromarlington: Yeah, he was, but boy oh boy did he learn the value of cooperation when he was there! His fellow prisoners didn't call him "songbird" for nothing. I don't believe in waterboarding for anyone, but there are times when I'm sorely tempted to make an exception.

Posted by: T-Rex on March 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Shocking. Hothead Senator McCain desperately clings to his dirty diaper while making threats. What a guy.

Posted by: harry joy on March 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Big deal....it's not like there has been any cooperation last year or this year anyway. Talk about empty threats!

And yes, the GOP has been acting like the kid who takes his ball and goes home if he doesn't get his way for quite a while now, so it's not like that would be anything new either.

Posted by: mfw13 on March 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Good to see the GOP is just as dumb this morning after the defeat as it was in the run up. The Party of NO is doubling down. Let's see how that works out this November. Now that the Democrats have moved heaven and earth to pass the damn bill Republican obstruction will be seen by most people for what it is "Republican obstructionism." Since the big topic the rest of the year will be JOBs and JOBs requires a continued visit to tax policy, I am sure the Republicans want to have no input on that topic from here to election.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 22, 2010 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

The site is timing out a lot today; hope that means you are being overwhelmed with traffic.

So, how will we be able to tell when the Republicans stop cooperating?

Posted by: Jon on March 22, 2010 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

It is painfully obvious to anyone with a 3-digit (to the left of the decimal point) IQ, who cares about the facts of the matter enough to seek and learn them, that when McCain says, "there will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," what he means is: we will behave exactly as we have been, but will pretend that we were not already behaving this way, and will be even more noisy, obnoxious, and deceitful about it.
However, since the mass media have spent the entire year passing Publican lies through without comment, explanation, or context -- and that the Dem's have either been relatively lax about calling out the lies as lies, or have been silenced in any such pursuits by the same mass media, or both (and I'm not in any position to know what the ratio of those would be) -- then there will be an awful lot of people out there who will not actually know what the reality of the situation is.
Now, here are the interesting questions:
How far will the mass media now go in furthering the Publican lies, and explaining away or concealing what we know to be true?
And, what percent of voters will, by November, have figured out the reality, and will be motivated to make their electoral choices accordingly?
I remain very afraid that, without at least some major media outlet providing actual journalism, the Publican propaganda may be too pervasive, and too broadly and deeply accepted, for a majority to be voting based on actual realities, and not a totally artificial and deceptive model of reality. Let's hope I'm wrong.

@ Daryl McCullough: working fine/as fast as usual for me in both Safari & Firefox, in Boston w/ Verizon DSL.

Posted by: smartalek on March 22, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Of course this might be pre-primary posturing. After the primary, he *might* tiptoe back towards the center. If he wins, he'll need moderate votes (and won't want to alienate Hispanic voters). If he loses the primary, all bets are off. He might choose to go out a statesman, but after his behavior the last year, I'd guess year-long tantrum.

Posted by: Z. Mulls on March 22, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

So, how will we be able to tell when the Republicans stop cooperating?

The devils on GOP shoulders will be wearing a parka and icicles will have formed on the pitchforks.

Also, Boehner will have lost his tan.

Posted by: Gridlock on March 22, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, no! NOW the Republicans are going to start opposing the Democrats!

Posted by: DH Walker on March 22, 2010 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it still must be said: Poorest.Loser.Ever.

Posted by: JoeW on March 22, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

And that'd be different from what the GOP has done since the 2006 midterms because ... ?

These assbags have been blocking everything for the past four years -- including voting against Mother's Day. So not sure why anyone would see this as some Earth-shattering threat.

Posted by: Mark D on March 22, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

""There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said.

So in other words, Mr. McCain is telling us that the GOP will continue doing what it's been doing since Obama took the oath of office.

This is like a meth addict announcing that he intends on taking more meth.

Posted by: bluestatedon on March 22, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

It's the middle of March; the Senate can toss out the supermajority crap right now and declare that a simple majority (50 plus Biden) rules the roost. They can scrap the filibuster altogether; they can scrap secret holds; they can scrap every last parlor-trick the Mitch-&-Bones Traveling Hyena Comedy Hour can muster up---and then Dems can go on a legislative blitzkrieg for 9 full months, regardless of the electoral outcomes in November.

The GOP will never muster enough votes to override an Obama veto, which means every change we make stays in full force and effect through 2012. Imagine the damage that does to the nonsense of the Party of No, when they have to go into another election at that point.

Now is the time for all Democrats to go into total carnivore mode, and politically devour these fools....

Posted by: S. Waybright on March 22, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's legitimate to ask, if he's not going to do anything for the rest of the year, then why will he continue to collect a paycheck from the taxpayers.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 22, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

What's really disgusting is the deference shown by the media to Senator John "Country First" McCain. Will any of the pundits challenge John McCain on his childish remarks. So he's taking his marbles and he's not going to play any more. So what else is new. The new John McCain is the same as the old John McCain. He takes cranky to a whole new level. It's get off my lawn (on steroids).

As far as healthcare reform is concerned, the Republicans were left in the dust because they had already decided not to cooperate. If they were smart, they would be celebrating and taking credit for hcr along with the Democrats. But it was more important to try to defeat President Obama and make this his Waterloo.

Posted by: Ladyhawke on March 22, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said

And this will be different how exactly?

Posted by: Steve Stein on March 22, 2010 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain was a fucking Prisoner of War and is a goddamned American hero who won the Vietnam War singlehandedly! He knows how to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan! And he knows how to start and win wars in Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Russia! John McCain eats magnificence, shits excellence, and wipes with American butt tape. John McCain could stop Global Warming if it was real, created Rainstorm Katrina to kill off that gay Dixieland music, prevented an earthquake that would have destroyed Manhattan, and ate 15 McRib Sandwiches in one sitting. John McCain painted the Sistine Chapel with a Q-Tip, a blindfold, two hookers and bottle of Jack Daniels.

John McCain will tell you when you get your precious, precious health care reform — when you pry it from his cold, steely robot hand. And not one moment before.

Any questions?

Posted by: chrenson on March 22, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Why does anyone listen to John McCain anymore now that he is once again a prisoner of war. But this time his captors are the right wing mobs and talk radio demagogues who call the shots in the GOP.

Taking anything McCain now has to say seriously -- or any elected Republican for that matter -- would be like taking seriously the anti-American propaganda American POWs in the Hanoi Hilton were sometimes forced to make.

Posted by: Ted Frier on March 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Remember how McCain behaved on the USS Forrestal?
He has been without leadership capacity, without courage, a coward and a weenie at least since that day.

His duty to his country when it paid for his expensive Air Force Academy education and flight training was to be a party boy and graduate practically last in his class.
His response to the horrible explosion and fire on the Forrestal was to literally walk away from a badly burned buddy in sick bay, abandon his squadron and abandon his ship.

In short he is a man of no character, so his constant waffling, posturing, etc is consistent.

Posted by: Marnie on March 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Country Club First is what I saw on his campaign signs. It was in really small print in the disclaimer.

For some fun, check out the McCain caption the picture.

http://punditkitchen.com/tag/john-mccain/

Posted by: Dave on March 22, 2010 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

What a WATB McCain is.

Posted by: kc on March 22, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

To hear McCain tell it, Democrats hurt Republicans' feelings, so Republicans don't want to do any more work.

John McCain has lived like a kept woman since the Nixon administration.

The last honest day's work he did was filming propaganda for the VC against his own country.

Posted by: JM on March 22, 2010 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Who would have thought that, "Compassionate Conservative" and "Country First", two slogans from the past two Republican presidential candidates would end up being ironic...

Posted by: Archon on March 22, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

McAce is still really pissed-off he was beaten for the presidency (a job he truly believed was his by right) by a blackman who was smarter, a clearer thinker, and more idea oriented than he.
Posted by: Stevio on March 22, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well, to be fair, he WAS robbed. After all, Rove promised him the presidency after he was done with it. Oh, he and Bush were don't with it, is what I meant to say. It's why he puss'd out in the latter half of the 2000 primary instead of digging in his heels and fighting for what he thought was right. He was promised that the GOP would have a permanent majority by a professional liar. How could he have known he was lied to?

Posted by: slappy magoo on March 22, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

If McCain does not want government money to pay for health insurance he could give up his social security check, his VA government pension and his government health insurance, after all he is married to a multi millionaire (and has about 10 houses)

Posted by: js on March 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

McCain and his redumb buddies actually have it in their power to make the Dem's job much more difficult for the rest of 2010. It's a drastic action, but knowing them, they might just do it.

They might stop showering. And they may take up heavily bean-laden diets. (Which is the closest McCain will ever get to fulfilling his promise to get bean-laden.)

Posted by: Tim H on March 22, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Chrenson, @13:31,

Among his more spectacular achievements, you forgot one: he drank Hillary Rodham Clinton under the table once (in St Petersburg, I think. Or, maybe, in Moscow).

Posted by: exlibra on March 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I have it on "the bestest-of-best authoritative authorities" that the ghosts of the USS Forrestal are planning to pile a big heap of Dem cooperation upon the mass murderer McCain.

Oh, wait...I misread that. They're actually planning to pile a big heap of Dante's concentric circles of hell on him.

My bad....

Posted by: S. Waybright on March 22, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is saying that republicans aren't going to do squat for another year. That is different how?

Posted by: Silver Owl on March 22, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he forgot to change his DEPENDS ...

Posted by: stormkies on March 22, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Other than having Democrats actually accomplish more good stuff, I can't think of a more favorable lead-in to the midterm elections for the Democrats than loud and obnoxious republican intransigence and obstructionism. Dems should just keep putting up jobs bills and the like that are designed to impress many voters while infuriating republicans (labor intensive wetland reconstruction bills, habitat protection for at-risk animals, organisms, childcare assistance bills, union strengthening bills, regulatory bills covering credit card companies and banks, "two ponies in every garage" legislation), all for the Republicans to shoot down, leading to the argument, "well, we managed to vote through health care in the short period of time when we had 60 senators, but then the republicans got back up to 40 senators, which lets them shut down the senate: so, vote Democratic"

Posted by: N.Wells on March 22, 2010 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Other than having Democrats actually accomplish more good stuff, I can't think of a more favorable lead-in to the midterm elections for the Democrats than loud and obnoxious republican intransigence and obstructionism.
Posted by: N.Wells on March 22, 2010 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

For our sake, I hope you're right. I'm always amazed at how often Republicans' acting like teenage girls having a temper tantrum that borders on violence works for them. Indeed, it's what helped stop the recount in Florida in 2000. The right fringe somehow manage to convince low-info voters that they wouldn't be this upset unless it were life-and-death important. Of course, it doesn't work so well on people who aren't low-info voters. here's hoping the latter outnumbers the former this time.

Posted by: slappy magoo on March 22, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year." - John McCain

Oh, that's real mavericky of you, John. Thank the FSM you didn't get elected president with that kind of attitude.

Posted by: Marko on March 22, 2010 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

I always figured "Country First" was a statement of musical principles for the campaign bus.

Posted by: jayinbmore on March 22, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

I also predict that for the rest of the year seawater will be salty.

Posted by: John McCain on March 22, 2010 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Why doesn't McCain just forgo his paycheck and stop showing up for work?" Steve Benen.

Why stop with McCan't?

Posted by: Doug on March 22, 2010 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Man, and the Republicans were already offering soooo much friendly cooperation as is. What a loss. I wonder what's next, the GOP will pick up its marbles and leave the playground crying?

Posted by: tas on March 22, 2010 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Sen. McCain,

It would only be common courtesy if in the future you would specifically point out when you are not cooperating with progressives; because otherwise we just plain can't tell.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on March 23, 2010 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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