John McCain recently told Newsweek's David Margolick that he did not consider himself a maverick, just a representative of the people of Arizona. Well, that's fine if McCain wants to rebrand himself a partisan. He just needs to decide what year he wants to be what.
During the presidential campaign in 2008, it was McCain the Maverick. He and Sarah Palin reveled in the label. It was even part of a Saturday Night Live skit in which McCain participated in, to see how "mavericky" he could be. Just search youtube for McCain and maverick and you will have a nice list of puns and mavericky McCain videos. That was during the presidential campaign. The GOP was up against the wall, and McCain was doing everything in his power to not align himself with Republicans, because that would be aligning himself with Dubya, who was not very popular at the time. In a nutshell, he took on the maverick label hoping it would appeal to the middle ground. The conservatives were probably going to vote for him anyway, but he needed middle-of-the-road support.
Now, it's 2010, and he's in a battle. And this is a primary battle with conservative radio host J.D. Hayworth. Hayworth has a lot of support from true conservatives. Basically, those wanting true budgetary reform in Washington, stronger immigration policy, and those for smaller federal government. Since McCain has been in Washington before the birth of Christ, a lot of people see him as part of the problem. And those are the middle of the road conservatives. Now that he is in a primary battle, he wants to go conservative. So he tells Newsweek that he is a "partisan" because he is against increased federal spending, and other conservative issues. Who knows if voters in Arizona will see through the charade.
Conservatives have had a love/hate relationship with McCain over the years. He has bucked the party on a number of issues and has worked with Democrats on key legislation. So, in a voting year marked with calls for smaller government and less federal spending, McCain is giving us a great example of what really might be wrong with government. I think government works fine as long as people are there to lead, make common sense laws, and only expect to be there for a few years. Just like other long time politicians, McCain is showing that he doesn't want to be fired or laid off and will tell his employers what they want to hear so they do not pink slip him. Maybe he learned something from Joe Lieberman: If you can't beat 'em, just run as an Independent.