Friday, March 07, 2014

No one likes John McCain anymore

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Remember when John McCain was a popular maverick (however faux), a celebrated independent (even if always a loyal Republican and for the most part hardcore conservative), a straight-talking renegade admired across the spectrum?

He was truly something back then, back in his pre-Palin glory days. He was a frequent guest on The Daily Show, where Jon doted on him with respect and admiration for apparently not being an insane Republican, and the Sunday-morning talk shows treated him like the voice of reason and wisdom on every issue under the sun.

Oh, but there was the seething anger then as well, the bad temper, the frequent forays into dangerous irrationality, the reckless knee-jerking that guided his views on foreign and military policy, much of it kept hidden behind his carefully manicured image, his skillfully manufactured brand. But it was all a facade, or most of it anyway, and eventually it was bound to crack. The Palin pick in '08 was the first sign many people paid attention to, though you could have seen it coming, and since then he's been a rapidly deteriorating madman who no longer gets any love from Mr. Stewart.

And while he still gets the "independent wise man" treatment from the Beltway media machine, his popularity beyond the friendly confines of Meet the Press has collapsed, including in his home state:

PPP's newest Arizona poll finds that John McCain is unpopular with Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike and has now become the least popular Senator in the country. Only 30% of Arizonans approve of the job McCain is doing to 54% who disapprove. There isn't much variability in his numbers by party -- he's at 35/55 with Republicans, 29/53 with Democrats, and 25/55 with independents, suggesting he could be vulnerable to challenges in both the primary and general elections the next time he's up.

Maybe none of this really matters. He's still enough of an institution to be able to stand firm against most challengers, and in any event it's not like anyone in Congress is all that popular at the moment. But it's interesting that the public perception of McCain is very different than the mainstream news media perception of him.

I'm not saying that one's status as a serious person with serious views ought to be determined by one's popularity with a fickle and generally ignorant public, but it does make you wonder why he continues to be held in such high esteem by the myopic morons who aim to shape public opinion from their David Broder-authorized position of privilege somewhere beyond the fray.

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  • For years I've been arguing that McCain's "maverick" reputation is simply a result of his bitterness. Certainly throughout the Bush administration his "maverick" act was just him acting out about Bush's despicable behavior toward him in the campaign. The guy has the maturity of a kindergarten bully.

    By Blogger Frank Moraes, at 11:06 AM  

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