John McCain’s Politics Of The Grudge

Before he lost the presidential nomination in 2000, John McCain was a fairly reliable conservative vote. After McCain lost, he became a squish. Thus, you see John McCain’s all too typical of late ACU rating of 63% for 2008, but his lifetime rating of 81%.

My theory about that has always been fairly simple: Because he’s a small, petty man who can’t stand rejection, McCain has been taking revenge on conservatives for picking Bush over him by sticking it to us at every opportunity.

However, now the worm has turned. Republicans accepted John McCain as their nominee and it was the media, Hispanics, and moderates who rejected him in favor of a man who, to paraphrase Larry Holmes, couldn’t carry his jockstrap.

So, the result? John McCain’s grudge is now going in the other direction. That’s my explanation for this,

He ran for president last year as a “maverick” Republican and had a high-profile meeting with Barack Obama after the election, but Arizona Sen. John McCain has been a staunch Republican vote since failing to win the White House.

In fact, McCain is siding with his party this year on closely divided votes with greater frequency than at any other period in his 23-year Senate career, according to a CQ analysis of Senate votes.

…On votes that pitted most Democrats against most Republicans, McCain has sided with the consensus GOP position 95.4 percent of the time, a CQ-defined “party unity” score that would be the highest of his Senate career if it holds up for the remainder of the year. He had a 95.2 percent party unity score in 1996, when Republicans held the Senate majority at the end of President Bill Clinton’s first term.

McCain’s year-to-date 2009 party unity score is the 14th highest among the 40 Republican senators.

…In 2001, the year after he lost the Republican presidential nomination to George W. Bush , McCain’s 67 percent party unity score was among the lowest in the Senate GOP Conference.

In the end, why McCain is voting the right way is less important than the fact that he is now voting the right way. But, when you look at those numbers and the likely motivation for them, it’s easy to see why so many conservatives hold John McCain in such contempt.

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