National Review Online wasted no time in sending this bizarre Post-Primary Valentine to John McCain.
Alexis Levinson, no doubt with a substantial dose of No Doz, posted an article at 4:00 am and quoted GOPe Maven Charlie Black, “John [is] the best campaigner in the state and he could raise unlimited money if he needed to.” Black’s rosy assessment may bring the reflexive nods of the Washington insiders and Establishment types, but Arizonans know better.
First, McCain could NOT raise unlimited funds for the 2016 GOP Primary. The only way he came up with $30 Million to defeat JD Hayworth in 2010 was to take advantage of a campaign finance “loophole,” and raid the Taxpayer Matching Funds in the 2008 Presidential Campaign Fund. The irony of the one-time Champion of Campaign Finance Reform (“This money corrupts us all,” he said in 2000), exploiting a technicality to tap into the treasure of government subsidized largesse demonstrates the cockroach-like survival skills of Arizona’s senior senator. McCain, devoid of principle, has a pathological need to remain in power. Still, he raised what was needed to run another TV campaign this time around.
Secondly, “Geriatric John” is NOT the “best campaigner in the state.” That distinction belongs to yesterday’s second place finisher, Dr. Kelli Ward. Though she was unable to raise the funds needed to win; she carried some of the rural counties and finished with a higher percentage of the vote against McCain than Hayworth did in 2010. Moreover, she did it with a pair of “McSpoilers” on the ballot. As noted here before, Alex Meluskey deserves no accolades for his late withdrawal; in fact, he suspended his campaign only after the ballots were printed — guaranteeing his presence would do the desired damage to Ward’s viable challenge.
And, what to make of “Van the Radio Man,” Clair Van Steenwyk? As in sitcom plots of old, it appears that “Van” picks up a radio signal through previous dental work — but unlike those black-and-white screenplays, only Van hears the message, and it always tells him: “Run…Run…RUN!!!” This year, he outdid himself, making the senate ballot, while simultaneously challenging Rep. Trent Franks for congress. Such feverish activity must make 2010 “McSpolier” Jimmie Lee Deakin scratch his balding pate in confusion. If Deakin had only petitioned a run for Congress as well as the Senate, maybe “McFunds” could not only have helped pay the mortgage on his foreclosed residence, but finance a Pinetop vacation home as well.
Now, the Legislature must pass a “Van Steenwyk Law,” spelling out in no uncertain terms that candidates can only run for a single office at a time. Of course, if it does so and Gov. Ducey signs it, don’t look for the Secretary of State to enforce it. Michele ( I am in no way like Ronald) Reagan has ridden her maiden name to electoral success for over a decade. Unfortunately, her victories at the ballot box have not enhanced her humility. In fact, she has developed an arrogant disdain for the voters that mirrors the mindset of Arizona’s two U.S. Senators. Perhaps that’s why she engaged in such transparent aid to the McMachine, announcing that her office would NOT enforce the anti-ballot harvesting law now on the books in Arizona, opening the door to a ballot harvesting operation employed by Team McCain Tuesday.
That non-enforcement stance was also assumed by Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell — but unlike Reagan, Purcell’s name was on the ballot yesterday — and she paid the price for her declared adherence to laxity. Her challenger Aaron Flannery prevailed. Accuracy compels us to note that it was not only Purcell’s non-enforcement, but her clueless approach to the earlier Presidential Primary that had voters waiting in mile-long lines, that ensured her political demise. Purcell stayed too long, but in a sense, you can’t blame her. After all, McCain wore out his welcome long ago, but still prevailed yesterday for the reasons outlined above.
One of the few bright spots yesterday was the convincing Primary victory of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Neither the McMachine, nor The Arizona Repugnant, nor the Obama Justice Department could pry loose the allegiance Maricopa County voters have for “America’s Toughest Sheriff.”
The same Democrats who reverently and repeatedly mentioned McCain’s name during their National Convention will take a more conventional approach and spend big to put an actual registered Democrat in the senate instead of an inconsistent one. Conservatives should display the same interest in the outcome of the November senate race that McCain has shown them for all these long years: NONE.
Unfortunately, the AZ GOP remains the “McMachine.” It may take a Democrat senate win to start the process of real reform. That and a credible challenge to smirking Sen. Jeff Flake as well as problematic Secretary of State Michele Reagan in 2018.
Otherwise, National Review Online will one day write of a name change in these parts. A future Arizona will one day be known as “Sonora Del Norte,” courtesy of the “Mark of McCain.”