McCain tries on a ill-fitting conservative cloak

Roll Call writes that former Rep. J.D. Hayworth’s all-but-official primary challenge to Sen. John McCain has already started to re-ignite long-simmering tensions within the state’s Republican faithful.

Those divisions — combined with both men’s reputation for bare-knuckle politics, a volatile electorate and a state in financial crisis — equal a recipe for one of the country’s fieriest political contests of 2010.

McCain’s campaign has already signaled that the issue of fiscal conservatism is where it plans to do battle, running radio ads last week in Arizona dubbing Hayworth “one of the biggest spenders in Congress.”

Hayworth’s advisers say they are prepared to go head to head with McCain on spending issues.

Hayworth spokesman Jason Rose said there is “hypocrisy” in McCain touting a conservative record on spending when he supported bailing out the banking and mortgage industries in 2008.

However, Rose said the Hayworth campaign expects illegal immigration to continue to be a hot-button issue in the campaign, in addition to the economy and spending.  “In Arizona you can’t ignore the Republican animus against Sen. McCain on immigration, especially when you have someone like Sheriff Arpaio supporting J.D. Hayworth,” Rose said.

Hayworth certainly has his supporters, most of whom make up a wing of the state GOP that has long been critical of McCain for taking “maverick” positions and working across the aisle on things like amnesty, campaign finance reform and climate change legislation.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) cited those differences in endorsing Hayworth on Sunday.

And Rob Haney, Maricopa County Republican Party chairman and a longtime McCain nemesis, said conservative activists are rallying around Hayworth. “We’ve been begging J.D. to get in the race,” he said. “We will campaign to our utmost for J.D.”

Haney said Hayworth easily won a straw poll at the county Republican Party’s most recent meeting; McCain came in fourth, behind Chris Simcox, an activist against illegal immigration, and another little-known GOP candidate.

The Arizona Republican Party is remaining neutral, though McCain has had his share of battles with Chairman Randy Pullen, who has also been active in politics against illegal immigration.

A new poll released today by the Behavior Research Center showed  a mere 40% of Arizonans approve of the job McCain is doing for them in D.C.  And a Rasmussen Reports statewide survey of Arizona Republicans in September found that 61% thought McCain was out of touch with those in his own party.

The Maverick will have trouble mending the fences he has allowed to go too long without basic maintenance.

13 Responses to McCain tries on a ill-fitting conservative cloak

  1. Doc says:

    Let’s review th’ “maverickyness”:

    1-America is a Democratic Republic based largely on Capitolism. Ergo, if you start a business & it succeeds, GREAT! If not, you have our sincerest regrets…Gubmint ain’t got no business in th’ bankin’/mortgage industry.

    2-Amnesty is not wanted by the constituents of ANY BOARDER STATE…especially Arizona. These aliens broke the law…so, goodbye…ala Sherrif Joe’s bus.

    3-McCain Feingold, a.k.a campaign finance reform. I believe the head judges dun ruled on this…the 1st ammendment IS STILL IN AFFECT…nuff sed.

    4-climate change debaukle…isn’t Al Gore hiding in a closet in Tennessee over this in hopes that somebody forgets that he…uuuhhh…LIED…& anybody connected with this LIED, TOO?!?!

    5-(& most importantly)the ATTACK of his own constituents while in office AND the “yea” vote on Eric Holder…I believe we’re done here. Senator McCain, care to step down now?

  2. LD20er says:

    I’m interested in the “hands across the aisle” stuff mentioned: “working across the aisle on things like amnesty, campaign finance reform and climate change legislation.

    Of course I know about McCain-Feingold and McCain-Kennedy, but who did he partner with on climate change legislation?

  3. Kathy says:

    Doc – McCain “hearts” Barack Hussein Obama @ his 100 days. Oops used Hussein again, a no no with McCain.

  4. Sovereign says:

    If McCain’s plan is to bring up fiscal responsibility as an issue in the upcoming campaign, then John, BRING IT ON!

    JD’s rating from Citizens Against Government Waste is 89% while John McCain’s is 88%. Can you say “Pot calls Kettle black?”

    But, it gets even more lopsided. McCain voted for the $850 billion bailout bill that contained $150 billion in special interest earmarks. He called the bill “an obscenity,” but voted for it anyway, saying it was “Necessary.” No, folks, it was NOT necessary — rather, along with the rest of the spineless congress, he succumbed to the extortion of the bankers and their minions as they looted that money from WE THE PEOPLE — with John’s PERMISSION and VOTE!! Do you notice just how much better off we all are as a result of this travesty????

    Adding insult to injury, McCain also proposed spending $300 billion to buy up every bad mortgage in America!!! Even the National Review called “a full bailout for lenders” that would let “reckless types off the hook” while putting taxpayers on it.

    The knock against McCain in 2008 was his weakness of understanding of the economic issues we were then facing. Trust me, when the primary and general election seasons arrive, we will all be abundantly disabused of the notion that there is any recovery happening and McCain’s inadequacy of economic understanding will be more than ABUNDANTLY CLEAR!

    Remember, while a Congressman, JD served on the House Ways and Means Committee while in Congress. That’s what they do there — deal with FISCAL and ECONOMIC issues!!! JD knows something about what we will all regard as THE campaign issue of 2010, right up there with arresting and deporting ILLEGAL ALIENS!

    My greatest concern over this campaign battle is that I am afraid Sarah Palin, in the integrity of her loyalty to McCain will end up being thrown under the bus and damaged as a result of her support of the old fossil. Ditto Scott Brown…

  5. Doc says:

    Kathy-That’s why I refer to our president as “th’ head muslim”. I wouldn’t wanna’ be accused by anyone of not followin’,”th’ ROOLZ”…shame on you…NOT!

    By the way, HE’s the one who said he’d “never abandon his muslim roots.”, THEN ?senator? mccain stated his approval of him…then j-no, then holder, then geithner, then etc.,etc.,etc…..

  6. DeAnn says:

    McCain sponsored a bill with Lieberman on Cap and Trade.

  7. Capt.Marvel says:

    McCain can try to portray himself as a conservative from now til doomsday. Any Arizona voter with half a brain knows better. Mark Levin got it right when he called McCain a phony.

  8. Ben F says:

    The only area where I would differ from the author is using the term,”Hayworth certainly has his supporters, most of whom MAKE UP A WING of the state GOP”

    Conservatives are the MAINSTREAM of the MCRC, AZGOP and RNC! The moderates, liberals, RINO’s, Progressives, Log Cabins, WISHes, Amnesty, abortion, and big government advocates make up the wings and I, for one, think we should concentrate on growing the mainstream and encouraging the wings to fly away.

    The wings are held on with nuts and screws and we need to get rid of the nuts and have them take their screwed up friends with them.

  9. Chuck says:

    Roll Call is not the most conservative of publications, as I’m sure you’re aware. That would account for the phrase “Make up a wing of the state GOP.” I thought the same thing you did, until I realized this was written by Roll Call.

  10. nightcrawler says:

    Allow me to shed a bit of moderate sunshine in this dark corner. I will acknowledge the MCRC is full of conservatives and libertarians, especially the office holders and the EGC. Likewise the AZGOP does tend to pander to a lesser extent (opportunists have their price) to the grassroots.

    The million dollar question about that pesky electorate ? Those independents are not all displaced platform Republicans. Scott Brown is a moderate. JD could not have won in Massachusetts.
    This race for the Senate seat is no cake walk. It will take a lot of money to make that happen. The grassroots are generally long on passion and short on cash. Where will JD turn, to the Chamber ? Once you step outside of the echo chamber into the real world, reality will set in. No money, no honey.

  11. DeAnn says:

    J.D. will go national, just like Scott Brown did. Mark Levin is already working on it. Tea Party people will send money from all over the U.S. so that they can have a part in getting rid of another entrenched politician.

  12. Defender of Truth says:

    So McAmnesty’s strong suit is suppose to be National Defense and cutting the budget?
    National Defense? He refuses to defend us from invasion and refuses to protect us from terrorists crossing our borders from Mexico, and works against the enforcement of immigration laws. He advocates sending troops to die defending Muslim borders, but refuses to protect our borders against Muslim terrorists. He votes against drilling for oil in the US (making us dependent of foreign oil) thus enabling terrorists countries, through money gained from high oil prices we pay them, to build terror networks to attack us. He cancels the Raptor fighter jet program in a bipartisan vote in support of his campaign buddy Obama. Now the Russians, with oil money McCain gave them, have announced their own stealth fighter that tops ours.

    Cutting budget?…tell me who stopped his presidential campaign to go back and support Obama and the TARP bail out. Tell me who campaigned for Amnesty which would have costs us an estimated 3 trillion dollars. Tell me who took the bipartisan road with Al Gore to advocate that a huge new gov’t agency be established for cap and trade that would have cost us trillions more.

    That, my friends, is just for starters. The only things McCain has going for him are deceit, arrogance, intimidation, bluster, a huge ego and a fawning liberal media. His ability to destroy the party and country is surpassed only by his good friend Obama.

  13. Charlie Conservative says:


    You forgot that McCain, who claims to be strong on national defense, is the maverick who first advocated closing Gitmo, and trying terrorists in US courts while giving them the same rights as citizens!!! He is the guy responsible for terrorists now being given their Miranda rights. The man is responsible for endangering us all. Do those of you who support him not know his reckless record?

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