My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Thoughts On The Senate Deal

I've been giving a lot of thought over the last few days to the "deal". Not the mechanics of it--many other much more-qualified commentators have hashed out this aspect of the deal.

What interests me are the motivations of those involved.

First, how about the chief architect: John McCain. My theory, and it's not original, is that John McCain is now positioning himself as "King of the Senate." I think he must know at theis pint that there's no way in the world that he's ever going to be the GOP nominee for President, and no third-party candidate has a chance of winning, so my guess is he'll content himself to be more-or-less in charge of the "world's most deliberative body."

But, what's to lead anybody else in the Senate to sign on to his chancellorship? Lindsey Graham, who also gets the nomination for "most absurd statement in defense of this act", is a long-time McCain supporter who is seen in the background of many McCain activities, has old ties which explain him. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Graham thought he might have been a Vice Presidential candidate on a McCain ticket. Delusional? Certainly. But Senators do that to themselves quite a lot. Besides, I think Graham has a bill going foreward to reform Social Security, and I bet he'd love to be known as the man who "saved Social Security."

But what about Mike DeWine of Ohio? Simple foolishness? The desire to be somebody important? He hasn't been around long enough to care about the old traditionalist views of the Senate, and there's probably going to be a price to pay in his home state.

John Warner of Virginia? I guess he's part of the grand old tradition of the Senate, which I suppose is also why Robert Byrd is a part of this charade.

I guess Ken Salazar of Colorado laid a pretty good claim to the middle by signing on to this, but he's probably going to make more of his base angry than to please moderates with this, so . . .

Olympia Snowe? Susan Collins? Lincoln Chaffee? These are people who really don't seem committed to any particular philosophy, anyway, so for them, maintaining "comity" could certainly be an important consideration.

So, again, that leaves us with wondering why certain Senators would sign off on John McCain being in charge of the Senate. I think, in the near future, that will be a very interesting dynamic to watch. McCain toured with the President trying to sell his Social Security plan, he made a statement in favor of John Bolton, and he voted to confirm Priscilla Owens. These are three crucial votes that could, if he stays with it and follows through, could strengthen his standing within the GOP. So why do something as foolish as broker this deal?

Well, for one thing, John McCain has never shown the sort of political instincts that tend to make up men who get elected President. For another thing, he's also never shown any great philosophy other than "McCain first".

Like I said, interesting to watch in the near future.

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