The smoldering embers are reigniting into that familiar old inferno. We’ve seen it before when a conservative has the temerity to gain traction, or heaven forbid, actually win an election. The Arizona Republic pulls out all stops to effect a frontal assault. Pseudo Republicans are taken under wing, which is why Congressmen Jeff Flake and John Shadegg usually garner favorable coverage. Ditto Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain.
But let an actual conservative Republican even talk about the issues or have a base urging him to run, as in the case with popular radio talk show host and former Congressman J. D. Hayworth, and the flames get fanned with extra vigor.
Via its editorial staff, reporters, columnists and even the now-liberal cartoonist, the Republic has relentlessly hammered Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas, for doing their jobs of enforcing the law. The newspaper would prefer to see selective enforcement and certainly none that results in the arrest, conviction or deportation of their favorite residents: illegal aliens.
Now the vulnerability of John McCain has become the vanguard issue. He has recently been the subject of a Rasmussen Reports survey that showed him to be in a dead heat in a hypothetical match-up with Hayworth — not good news for Arizona’s senior senator. Another such survey indicated 61 % of Arizonans said he doesn’t represent them. He has had a disconnect with his own party base for so long that he didn’t even bother to attend the state presidential preference primary when his name was placed in nomination for the 2008 election, an overt display of disdain for the very people who brought him to that dance.
J.D. Hayworth serves to compound the injury as far as the daily is concerned. He is knowledgeable on the issues, congressional procedures and the myriad personalities. They exposed their growing angst Saturday in an editorial lavishing praise on McCain. The very next day, the newspaper sics the drooling dog E.J. Montini on Hayworth. The more ink they expend, the more fearful they appear that Hayworth could, in fact, show their boy Johnny the door. National politicos are speculating on the possibility of a McCain defeat.
Right now, we can only hope. If Hayworth enters the race, we can look forward to calling him “Senator.”