March 7, 2009

THE CO-PRESIDENT:

For McCain, a Dual Role, Center Stage (DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, 3/08/09, NY Times)

Senator John McCain is rewriting the part of presidential loser.

Unwilling to vanish into retirement like Bob Dole, or retreat into academia like Al Gore, or even quietly convalesce like John Kerry, Mr. McCain has quickly reclaimed a place on center stage in Washington, some days skewering President Obama and the Democratic Party, and on other days standing by their side.

“I’m the, as I said, loyal opposition,” Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, proclaimed this week. “And both words, I think, are operative.”

If anyone wondered which John McCain would return to the Senate — the coalition-building dealmaker or the gloves-off bruiser from the campaign trail — the answer is now clear: both.

It was Mr. McCain, as much as anyone else, whose crusade against earmarks dealt a major setback to Democrats when Republicans succeeded on Thursday night in stalling a $410 billion spending bill. In Mr. McCain’s scathing words, Mr. Obama’s stimulus plan amounts to “generational theft.” And yet Mr. McCain has endorsed Mr. Obama’s plans to withdraw combat troops from Iraq, and even has gone so far as to appear by Mr. Obama’s side when the president ordered increased competition in awarding government contracts.


He has to be the most powerful presidential loser since William Howard Taft.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 7, 2009 10:15 AM
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