The McCain-Palin Re-union
The McCain-Palin Re-union: What a Mockery!
Politics they always say make strange bedfellows. Nothing quite exemplifies that maxim better in the current electioneering season than the rallies and fundraising events with John McCain and Sarah Palin, for the first time since the end of their presidential election bid in 2008, making joint campaign appearances in Arizona this weekend.
Caught in what is arguably the most crucial re-election bid of his entire political career, 73-year-old McCain appears to be in a desperate struggle for relevance.
There is strong evidence that McCain’s primary challenger, former Representative J D Hayworth and radio host, has not only gained considerable grounds on him but is continuing to make in-roads into a constituency that had been staunchly McCain’s.
A few strongholds of the Republican base which traditionally flocked to McCain are now taciturn because of what they have referenced as his questionable conservative credentials. This reticence is traceable to the charge by many that McCain had grown a bit too moderate on important conservative issues such as immigration where he is known to be a chief proponent of a bi-partisan reform approach.
While key Tea Party activists in Arizona seem uncertain about readily endorsing McCain, national Tea Party figures recently declared their unqualified support for Hayworth.
The McCain camp is hopeful that, beyond the nostalgic feelings the Palin appearances are bound to evoke, they would revitalize the fledgling campaign by giving it a much needed shot in the arm. Whether this actually comes to fruition is certainly anyone’s guess.
What is unquestionably obvious is that McCain is literally running scared. He seems distressed and quite unsure of himself.
How else, in actuality, is one to take the sudden relationship makeover? The McCain-Palin association was from the very beginning, one of convenience. To all intents and purposes, both seem bound by the exigencies of each other’s immediate political realities.
Then, and now, the aging McCain is counting on the youthful, more energetic and exciting Palin to make him a serious contender. One key difference this go around, though, is the fact that their distrust, even disdain, for each other has not only been uncovered but has gotten quite epochal.
From what’s been written and said since the 2008 presidential campaign, McCain and his aides neither respected nor particularly cared for Palin. They never really saw her as capable of stringing together a cogent or coherent line of thought. For them, she was just a pretty face that, if carefully choreographed, could accentuate McCain’s candidacy.
Palin herself made several rounds of the media circuit denouncing her McCain handlers for treating her in such discourteous and disparaging ways in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.
Today, with this much-publicized reunion, both sides either want us to forget the bad blood that they desperately wanted us to know existed between them or now believe that the hatchet has indeed been buried.
In the short term, at least, McCain stands to benefit more from this absurdity especially given his campaign’s wish to exploit Palin’s mystifying popularity.
But therein lies my issue with the new McCain. He seems to be a shell of his old maverick self; one that is intensely opportunistic, lacking in credibility and principally has no scruples whatsoever doing anything, including exploiting the goodwill of an acquaintance he privately abhors, to advance an ailing political career.
I wish the people in Senator McCain’s camp would muster the courage to tell the king that he’s without clothes! The curtain has fallen. The citizens of the great state of Arizona have recognized that the time has indeed come for the transfer of the baton and the best thing that McCain can do, to preserve what is indubitably an illustrious public service, is to end the charade of perpetual self reinvention and bow out gracefully.