Sunday, December 20, 2009

More McCainmania

If it's Sunday, then it must be time for John McCain to be on one of the Sunday interview shows, Steve Benen to complain about it, and me to complain about the complaint.  Here's Steve:
And who, exactly, is John McCain? He's the one who lost last year's presidential race badly, and is now just another conservative senator in the minority. He's not in the party leadership; he has no role in any important negotiations on any issue; and he's offered no significant pieces of legislation. By all appearances, McCain isn't even especially influential among his own GOP colleagues.
Best of all, tomorrow's "Fox News Sunday" focus is on health care reform -- a subject McCain doesn't even pretend to know anything about.
C'mon.  McCain has been one of the Republicans most frequently speaking from the Senate floor during the health care debate, and has offered two of the major GOP motions. Republicans selected him to deliver their Saturday radio address (on health care) this weekend. 

Now, I grant that we're talking about John McCain, here, so it's not as if he's apt to actually know policy details or anything like that, but that's not up to the networks to decide.  In fact, what I don't understand about Steve's campaign here is why anyone except for rival Republicans should care.

But just for the record, I'll go through his argument.  First, McCain is "just another conservative Senator."  Well, no; he's the most recent presidential nominee, the only person around (well, him and Palin) who has been selected to lead the Republican Party.  I'm not sure if they still use the phrase "titular head of the party," but they used to, and while one could stretch it too far, it does separate McCain from the Cornyns and DeMints.  Second, he's not in the leadership.  True.  They certainly could invite Kyl or McConnell.  If they don't -- or if Kyl and McConnell aren't really interested in wasting their time on the Sunday shows, which no one but a few Washingtonians and political junkies watch, then what's it to anyone else?  I certainly haven't heard Kyl or McConnell complain.  Next: he's not involved in negotiations on this issue.  Well, when it comes to health care, that's pretty much all Republicans except for Snowe and maybe Collins, and neither is representative of the party.  Certainly, the talk shows should have a regular, conservative, Republican as a guest, no?  And, last, he hasn't offered legislation on the subject.  But in fact he has offered two important motions on the Senate floor...and they can't have the author of the Republican alternative, because there is no Republican alternative.

Really, however, it comes down to this: the Sunday shows are going to have Republicans on, and the only fair complaints from Democrats would be if there are too many Republicans.  Which Republicans are invited is the GOP's business, and they're the ones who should be complaining if they see something wrong.

[Update: Spelling corrected]

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