John McCain has always been more concerned with being politically expedient than being right. For too many years he’s enjoyed being the “wild card” that has the rest of the country wondering what side of the issue he’s going to land on next. He’s forgotten how to make a rational decision based on fact and principle and has gotten used to Republicans and Democrats courting him in an effort to gain his favor. He’s fallen in such deep love with himself and craves the attention that the media pays to him at each and every political crossroad. He has lived his entire political life doing giant splits (that any gymnast would envy) all the way down the political aisle with one foot planted on the Right side and the other foot planted on the Left side. This is undoubtedly the main reason he had to continue to tout ad-nauseum his war hero status during the campaign. The public had to be reminded that at one point in his life he did have an actual conviction.
He’s a conservative during campaign season and then as soon as it’s over he jumps in bed with his fellow liberals- forsaking his vows to the people who elected him. Season after season of this earned him a slap by his state and a censure by the Arizona Tea Party. A move that resulted in “angering” him said those on his staff and one in which he was determined to never allow to happen to him again….translation being, I’m sure he threw an epic angry tantrum for which he is famous for among those who have worked with him.
I’m sure it was this event that sparked his move towards obliterating the more obscure and lower level elected officials in the Arizona state party of steadfast conservatives and those with a “Tea Party” label while working to replace them with his more steadfast and loyal allies before his next run in 2016.
Under the byzantine rules of Arizona Republican Party politics, these elected officials, known as precinct committeemen, vote for local party chairmen. The chairmen, in turn, determine how state and local GOP funds are spent, which candidates are promoted in an election year, and which political issues are highlighted — all matters of central concern for McCain heading into 2016, when the threat of a primary looms.
Prior to Aug. 26, when the races for the party offices were held, the vast majority of the 3,925 precinct slots were filled by people McCain’s team considered opponents. Now, after an influx of candidates were recruited by the senator’s allies, around 40 percent of those offices — 1,531 to be exact — will be held by people McCain’s team regards as friendly. They will have the power to vote down hostile Republican chairmen in each of their respective localities.
The details of this strategy is both revolting, brilliant, devious, and fascinating to me. As much as I’m disgusted by the move and even more so by the man leading the charge, it involves everything that I love about this contact sport we call Politics.
The McCain super PAC raised about $300,000 from long time San Francisco McCain donors. From there, they held “recruitment parties” and identified McCain loyalist who would stand ready to run against the more conservative seat holders. They used those funds to pour mailers into mailboxes and robo-calls into homes to get the new names out to the voters. A strategy that has also been used (and has worked) by other “establishment” Republicans such as Orrin Hatch and Lindsey Graham.
One of the first men that the McCain war machine singled out was Timothy Schwartz. Schwartz is the man who authored the censure resolution against McCain.
The tea party crowd, for now, isn’t retreating in the face of the McCain onslaught.
Anti-McCain forces are still in charge of the majority of precinct committee slots statewide, and, activists say, there are many remaining conservative chairmen hell-bent on making life miserable for the senator.
Schwartz, the ousted McCain foe, hinted that tea party forces were planning on striking back after the holidays. He declined to provide specifics.
“They think it’s over,” he said. “But the fat lady hasn’t sung.”
When you know you can’t win without these kinds of strategies and underhanded tactics, when you have to thwart your base and stack your deck to win– it only reveals your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. And while he may pull off another win by doing so, perhaps this goes to prove that his days in office are numbered.