Never Forget

As New Hampshire Independents and the M S M try valiantly to pump hope back into the McCain campaign, it is worth remembering this...

Let's start with the Gang of 14 coup that undercut a carefully calibrated strategy developed between then Majority Leader Frist and the White House, a coup that still rankles. The line of stalled judicial nominees --good men and women whom John McCain threw under the bus for a headline, along with other nominees sacrificed in the spring of 2006-- is long and growing longer with every month. Senator McCain avoids every serious discussion of his failed "compromise" and declares that he saved the judicial filibuster for the GOP, an extra-constitutional power the GOP ought not to want. Up-or-down votes for nominees who clear committee was the rule that Frist and the vast majority of Republicans wanted --the constitutional option. John McCain put his interests ahead of those of the party and the base. It was the moment that undid his comeback with the party willing to forgive the McCain-Feingold folly, and he hasn't recovered and cannot recover because the courts mean so much to each part of the party, but not to Senator McCain.

To that sharp memory of McCain as anti-party maverick, add the McCain grandstanding of September, 2006 when Bill Frist convened the Senate with a timetable to address the treatment and interrogation of terrorists, surveillance of terrorists and confirmation of judicial nominees beginning with Peter Keisler, and Senators McCain and Graham threw in enough monkeywrenches to derail the entire schedule --for what? The language on torture that emerged made no substantive change to American law, but Senator McCain's theatrics did stop Bill Frist from a series of legislative victories that might have made him a rival to the perceived McCain lead in the GOP nomination race.

The GOP Senate majority was lost, of course, and many believe the 55-45 solid majority was a victim of McCain's grandstanding throughout the second Bush term combined with the rise of the 527s that his vaunted anti-First Amendment law, McCain Feingold, birthed. Peter Keisler never got his committee vote, and still languishes in the Patrick Leahy controlled Judiciary Committee. The McCain-Feingold powered 527s continue to proliferate and distort the politics of the new century, and parts of the McCain masterpiece have been declared the obvious unconstitutional restraints on political speech that they are, but from Senator McCain we get zero remorse for this First Amendment fiasco.

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