Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 11, 2010

SENATOR, YOU'RE ONE OF THEM.... We're well past the point at which it's reasonable to ask, "What happened to John McCain?" Nevertheless, the Arizona senator's latest campaign ad is yet another reminder of just how little integrity McCain has left.

In the spot, viewers see McCain chatting with an Arizona sheriff -- who has worked with Joe Arpaio -- who's complaining about "illegals in America." The senator chats with him about a proposed solution, with McCain concluding it's time to "complete the danged fence." The sheriff adds, "Senator, you're one of us."

It's not altogether clear who counts as "us."

Possible subtexts notwithstanding, the ad is laughable for anyone who's been following McCain's work on immigration policy. While his new message emphasizes the need to "complete the danged fence," the senator has consistently taken the exact opposite position. He's voted against funding for building a border fence; he's dismissed the same plan he touts in the ad as being little more than "public relations"; and he's even been quite candid about why a fence wouldn't be effective.

But that was before McCain feared losing support from his far-right base in the midst of a primary challenge. Indeed, if his new ad tells voters anything, it's that McCain is genuinely worried about his re-election prospects. Despite having universal name recognition, the power of incumbency, and an enormous edge on fundraising, McCain wouldn't bother with a ridiculous ad like this one unless he seriously thought he might lose to a right-wing radio personality in the GOP primary.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

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Comments

what an outrageous piece of garbage that ad is ! just retire, Senator, and don't be an accomplice to the people who are destroying your Party.

Posted by: slader on May 11, 2010 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

More and more often we are seeing ads, from D's and R's alike, that basically say:"I agree with whatever your position on the issues is, so vote for me!"

Posted by: DAY on May 11, 2010 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

how anyone of any party watching this asshole desperately remake himself so he can retain his senate seat is funny/pathetic/disgusting.

Posted by: bkny on May 11, 2010 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

I still don't fully understand the fantasy these people have that a 30ft tall border fence will be a better deterrent or barrier than hundreds of miles or arid desert.

Posted by: Paul on May 11, 2010 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

The ad is an example of the basic Republican "whatever it takes" tactic that Democrats have been seeing for a long time. The only novelty is that it is now being used in electoral fights with other Republicans. No more eleventh commandment!

Posted by: MattF on May 11, 2010 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

John's gone far, far beyond being two-faced; he's got more faces now than there are degrees on a compass---and that ought to be the weakness he's attacked on from all sides: You like this view of John McCain? Well---what about the other 359 that you don't know about; that he doesn't want you to see?

He deserves to be tossed, no matter who replaces him. He is a national embarrassment....

Posted by: S. Waybright on May 11, 2010 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

It's not as if McCain's primary opponent is against the fence, and McCain is taking a different position. McCain is playing 'me too'. He's not really taking Hayworth to task, or speaking ill of him. McCain, like Romney, stands for nothing except his own political survival.

Such cynical desperation is hard to watch. The teabaggers are likely to get several of their own elected this fall, and that combined with the nut cases already there will just make matters considerably worse.

Posted by: rrk1 on May 11, 2010 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

There is a mood in the country that is definately worrying incumbants. The blogs don't really want to focus on it because a lot of the cool kids just don't understand what is going on. All across the board incumbants are in trouble. Bennett lost the other day. Spector, who was run out of the Republican party, is now trailing in the Democratic primary after leading most of the race. McCain's people tell him Hayworth is a serious opponent. Graham has been run out of a couple of town halls. Incumbants who should be cruising to victory are worried spitless. Many of those worried incumbants are Republicans because the real strength of the anti-incumbancy is in red states like Arizona.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 11, 2010 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Despite having universal name recognition, the power of incumbency, and an enormous edge on fundraising. . .

just like Ex-Sen. Bennett had. Its an odd year.

Posted by: zeitgeist on May 11, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Yup, he's one of us... if 'us' happens to be anti-hispanic, concealed gun carrying, anti-working class, anti-state government, anti-traffic law enforcement, anti-state park, anti-afforfable university university education, pro-radical individualistic, and anti-'mavrick.'

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on May 11, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Thank goodness the McCain won't suffer the same privations of other similarly clueless Americans . Those unlucky millions won't have built the sort of resources crashing five or six jets an admirals son and grandson can build up by merely crying . Oops ! I mean trying .
Any old way the McCain should not need to worry that the government will get their hands on his patrimony , or his pension , he he he .

Posted by: FRP on May 11, 2010 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know if his opponent is making flip flopper ads? That's what seems so illogical to me about this approach and Crist's in Florida. When they disown previous positions that are so easy to point out, don't they just lose support on all sides? The guys who thought they were too far left will still think that, and the ones who might have supported them because they're not insane now realize they have no guts and no integrity. How does this ever work? Or am I assuming too much logic on the part of the electorate?

Posted by: Johio on May 11, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

John McCain reminds me of the old Groucho Marx line:

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 11, 2010 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Governor Wallace made the same calculations when being sane proved to be a losing pitch . Why would any politician leave an arrow out of the quiver ?
Fear Not !
Our American bred politician has no qualms about who or what it feathers .

Posted by: FRP on May 11, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

If McCain loses the primary, will they keep on inviting him to appear on the Sunday talk shows once his Senate term is over?

Might be worth sending his wingnut primary opponent some cash just so he'll be on our teevees less often.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 11, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

There was a time, around 2000 perhaps, that I considered McCain a formidable politician, and possibly one that I would vote for.

But time has shown that McCain is the very definition of a finger-in-the-wind politician, the quintessential example of all that is wrong with politicians. He has absolutely no principles outside of ensuring that his stated one is whatever is the flavor of the day.

Posted by: terraformer on May 11, 2010 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

If McCain loses the primary, will they keep on inviting him to appear on the Sunday talk shows once his Senate term is over?

good question. will be able to tell that it's sunday if there is no john mccain? will the shows survive? will they have to be reduced by 30 minutes to make up for his absense? maybe one of them will make john its full-time host.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on May 11, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure Mr. McCain has changed. While on active duty in the U.S. Navy, pre-POW, he totaled 5 perfectly good Navy airplanes. I think he played the "hero" card to get elected and re-elected, but have always wondered why he never was promoted to Admiral when both his dad and grand-dad were both Admirals.

I know that was a long time ago, but it speaks to character.

Posted by: Chief on May 11, 2010 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Don't worry about old Johnny. He's got a comfy future ahead: military benefits,government health care with a pension, more houses and cars than he can count, a pretty but vacant wife who's a beer magnate. Jeez, Johnny, to hell with the campaign, quit now.

Posted by: buddym on May 11, 2010 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

If McCain really wants to win he needs to spread a rumor that JD Hayworth has an out of wedlock baby with a black woman.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 11, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder what it takes to get into this "One of Us" Club?

Can President Obama join, indeed any liberal? Can American Muslims, or native Americans, or an actual Mexican American born and raised here?

Or is this club only for the descendents of milk-white European immigrants? Is so, shouldn't even those shoe-ins be forced to prove via papers that they weren't the anchor descendents of illegal immigrants themselves? If the new political correctness is only skin-deep, we could start with all the whites in AZ.

Who do they think they are fooling anyway, the flavor of this diatribe isn't restricted to illegals. And of course, the angry mouth-breathers comprising the worst of Arizona John Q. Public are taking all this as tacit permission from the likes of law enforcement and Senators to act on their base prejudices accordingly.


Posted by: Skip on May 11, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers is correct about the growing mood in this country, which, as he says, "the cool kids" don't appear to notice. On Chrissie Poo, yesterday, during a discussion with Eugene Robinson, it was noted that a recent poll said there had been the largest growth by those saying they were conservative. Something around 38%, but, when tied with the RepuGs, that figure dropped to the lower 20s. There is a growing Independent conservative movement in this country. Of course, it is ever so much easier to laugh and joke about the inanities of the RepuGs. Hey, guys and gals, there is an increasing group of voters who don't like either one of us, the RepuGs or the Democrats.

But, yes, on the SS McCain, there is no Port on the wheel, but, very much a "Hard to Pander", which Double Talk keeps spinning further and further to the right.

Posted by: berttheclock on May 11, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

At this point, Hayworth will legislate indistinguishably from McCain, so I'm rooting for the uninformed, hotheaded old whore to go down in the primary.

Posted by: shortstop on May 11, 2010 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

At first I thought the headline SENATOR, YOU'RE ONE OF THEM referred to McCain's own history, as someone born in Central America who later came to the United States.

Posted by: Ken on May 11, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Well, J. D. would shore up their offensive line on their 8 man flag football team which plays in the Solon League on the Ellipse. He and Ben Nelson would be quite the tandem. Jim De Mint running amok in their Wildcat. Lindsey swhishing ever so well as their head cheerleader. Joe L playing both sides of the ball, confusing everyone. Saxby, even with his "football knee", still playing without a helmet.

Posted by: berttheclock on May 11, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

In the old days, when Grampa started losing it, his family would make sure he was kept out of public view so he wouldn't embarrass himself and the family. It's sad that the McCain family is too dysfunctional. It seems like this isn't going to stop until he's caught on camera swatting at things only he can see, or pees himself.

I think Hayworth is awful, but I almost want the voters of Arizona to send McCain off to enjoy his pensions and his regular visits to the Sunday shows. It's just too pathetic.

Posted by: biggerbox on May 11, 2010 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

"It'll work this time."

What the funky? It'll work this time?? This is leadership?

"You're one of us."

What the double-funky with nuts?? How unabashedly xenophobic can this ad, this man, this nation get?

And who is building this danged wall? And how much money have the danged wall builders contributed to the McCain campaign?

Posted by: chrenson on May 11, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

All the comments, too funny for words. Hell's Littlest Angel - hilarious. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. I'm reminded of one of my personal favourites, so far back it was while McCain was campaigning for the presidency; so far back that I can't remember who said it, but it was directed at McCain.

"Tell the story again about when the first car came to town, Grampy. I love that one."

Hey, speaking of the effectiveness of big walls to keep out undesirables, I know a couple of guys who tried that once; maybe their experience would be valuable. I don't know if they're still in the book, but look up the Hadrian/Maginot Big Wall Builders, ask them how their projects turned out.

Posted by: Mark on May 11, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

While on active duty in the U.S. Navy, pre-POW, he totaled 5 perfectly good Navy airplanes.
Posted by: Chief

Aircraft carrier. Don't forget the fully-functional, on-station aircraft carrier that he tried to burn down---in the middle of an ocean, no less....

Posted by: S. Waybright on May 11, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, it's easy to laugh. But in a way, can you really blame him?

In 2000, McCain tried - at least a little - to actually be the truth-talking maverick he now brands himself as, and look where it got him. Given the party to which he belongs, what choice does he have if he wants to remain in national politics?

He may be pathetic, but he ain't dumb.

Posted by: Chet on May 11, 2010 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Sheriffs in Arizona are uniformed politicians, & increasingly demagogic. McCain has been relying heavily on Paul Babeu, the Pinal Co. Sheriff, throughout this to validate his reliability (presumably only because Joe Arpaio wasn't available). Babeu was elected (in 2008) as a young, skinhead version of Arpaio, whose political protege he is. He's a rising star of the Arizona strongarm anti-immigrant politics, & is widely assumed to have statewide political ambitions.

Before coming to Arizona, he was the Headmaster at the DeSisto at Stockbridge School in Massachusetts, a dodgy, cultish boarding academy for troubled kids. A few years after he left, it was closed by state authorities for creating an unsafe environment for the inmates. Several of his subordinates were indicted for assault.

So the guy in the ad with McCain is creepier than he looks & McCain's need to seek his approval is even more pathetic than it seems.

Posted by: K on May 11, 2010 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

"He's one of us." That was Jesse Helms' tag line during his first run for the Senate in 1972 against Nick Galifanaikis, the subtext being that anyone with a name like Galifinaikis (Greek heritage) wasn't "one of us." Tried and true dog whistle stuff.

Posted by: Paul in NC on May 11, 2010 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

What, you folks are just figuring out that McCain is unprincipled? Didn't his selection of Sarah Paling give you a small clue? McCain has never been the brightest bulb in the chandelier but he used to be an honest guy.

Posted by: CriticalThinker on May 11, 2010 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Might be worth sending his wingnut primary opponent some cash just so he'll be on our teevees less often."
Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 11, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Since being out of elected office so clearly reduces the frequency of being televised?
6 words:
Newt Gingrich.
Liz Cheney.
Dick Cheney.

Posted by: smartalek on May 12, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK
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