Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Shrinking of John McCain

A Senator from Arizona engaged the President this morning on the virtues of scrapping the health care bill and starting over, but it was John Kyl, not his senior colleague who ran for President in 2008.

When his turn came, John McCain spent his time in a peevish rehash of the Louisiana, Nebraska and other special deals made to get enough Senate votes last year, sounding more like a crank at a Tea Party town hall than the man who might be sitting in the Oval Office today.

McCain's point, although already moot in the case of Nebraska, is that the American people should know "that geography does not dictate what kind of health care they will receive."

The President, clearly annoyed, nevertheless practiced his trademark forbearance by limiting himself to saying, "Let me just make this point, John, because we're not campaigning anymore. The election is over."

"I'm reminded of that every day," McCain responded.

It's sad to see the once-vaunted maverick reduced to an incumbent who is running scared against a conservative challenge and, unlike Obama, "campaigning" on every occasion to hold it.

In the 2008 election, the issue of McCain's temperament and his judgment in picking Sarah Palin as a running mate were cited against a background of his longtime tendency to shoot from the hip.

In what for the most part has been a substantive bipartisan conversation thus far today, it's even sadder to see the man who might have been president looking less serious than the likes of Eric Cantor and John Boehner.

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