Sunday, December 19, 2010


Let's see: John McCain failed to prevent the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and responded to an imminent vote on repeal with an incoherent harangue; he's also failed to derail the New START Treaty so far -- his potentially dealbreaking amendment was defeated.

So how does Politico respond when McCain whiffs twice? With -- naturally -- a love note acclaiming McCain's newfound power:

Sen. John McCain is getting under the skin of Democrats these days -- and he seems to be relishing it.

After Democrats scrapped a massive $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill Thursday, McCain gloated about its defeat -- and Democrats fumed. When he took a whack at efforts to bring up a bill aimed at helping Sept. 11 first responders, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reacted fiercely. And as he went down fighting Saturday on the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was baffled, saying, "I don’t understand it."

Fresh from a whopping electoral victory Nov. 2, McCain is inserting himself into the biggest issues of the day, acting as a power player in the Senate and angering Democrats. And while Mitch McConnell may be the Senate GOP leader, McCain has embraced a role as the leading Republican agitator against President Barack Obama, who defeated him in the 2008 presidential election....

Yeah, pay no attention to those defeats -- in victory, McCain wins, and in defeat, McCain wins. To the Beltway, nothing succeeds like Republican success, unless it's Republican failure -- or maybe just McCainian failure.


By the way, how is John McCain like Kim Jong-il? The Politico story hints at an answer:

... McCain may be more comfortable as an Obama antagonist -- even though he says he'll work with the president when they have common ground.

"I have said all along ... I would be glad to work with the president, glad to sit down and work with the president on a broad variety of issues," he said in the interview. "But the president has never sought my advice or counsel."

... McCain now says he hopes there's more outreach to improve the nonexistent relationship between the 2008 adversaries.

"It's not [that] there was anything wrong with the relationship; there was just no relationship," he said....

This guy doesn't really care about his own positions. I'm not sure he's even all that determined to attack Obama for the sake of attacking him. I think he'd be satisfied if he were just shown fawning respect. He doesn't really want anything on a policy level -- he just wants Obama to come crawling on his knees and begging for some sage, mavericky counsel.

That's why he reminds me of Kim Jong-il. Kim released two American hostages in 2009 as the result of a visit by Bill Clinton, and, as far as I can tell, he did so not because Clinton actually gave him anything, but because Clinton flew halfway around the world to plead for the hostages' release. The ass-kissing was enough. The same is true, I think, for McCain.

And I sometimes think Wall Street fat cats and other CEOs have the same feelings with regard to Obama. They want more presidential face time. Their precious egos tell them that, dammit, they deserve more presidential face time. I sometimes think a master card-player of a president could force more regulations and constraints on the fat cats partly by seeming to fawn on them in face-to-face meetings, even while plans to tighten the screws went forward elsewhere in the West Wing and in Congress. Maybe not, but it would be worth a try -- with them and with McCain.

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