Written by Rachel Alexander on February 15, 2010
The country is in the midst of a Tea Party revolt movement that began last spring and has not lost steam. The revolt began over the federal bailouts – and McCain, labeled “Obama-lite” as a result – voted for several of them. He voted for the $700 billion general TARP bailout, the $25 billion auto bailout, the first $85 billion AIG insurance bailout, and he proposed spending $300 billion on a mortgage entitlement bailout to buy out every bad mortgage in the country.
The current anti-big government, anti-spending uproar has already begun voting in new leadership promising smaller government. Governor Bob McDonnell’s win in Virginia, Senator Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts, the defeat of liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in New York, and the forced resignation of the Florida Republican State Party Chairman over his support for liberal Republican Governor Charlie Crist all evidence a backlash against big government politicians – including liberal Republicans. A new poll shows Tea Party Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina trailing the more liberal Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson by only four points. The Tea Party revolts that began last spring have not lost momentum as the federal government continues the bailouts and embarks on a massive takeover of the healthcare industry.
McCain’s ratings from the American Conservative Union have gone progressively down over the years, dipping to an all time low of just 63 last year. Even liberal-leaning Republican Senators Chuck Hagel, Lamar Alexander and Pete Domenici scored higher ratings than McCain last year. McCain’s own pal Lindsey Graham, who has been censored multiple times by Republican Parties in South Carolina due to his liberal voting record, scored significantly higher than McCain with an 82. McCain’s lifetime rating from the ACU falls in the most liberal quarter tier of Republican Senators. In contrast, J.D. Hayworth, the former Arizona Congressman who is challenging McCain in the Senate primary this year, has a lifetime rating from the ACU of 97. McCain is frantically running radio ads accusing Hayworth of being a liberal, but the ads aren’t resonating coming from someone so much more liberal than Hayworth. The issues McCain has championed over the years are not conservative ones, he is most well-known for his work with Democrats on McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, which greatly hurt one-issue organizations like Right to Life and the NRA, and McCain-Kennedy, which would liberalize illegal immigration.
If there is one thing McCain is consistent on, it is waffling back and forth on issues. He opposed tax cuts before he supported them, in the past criticizing Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts. His ratings from anti-tax organizations range are fairly low for a Republican; Taxpayers for Common Sense has given him scores averaging around 50-60%. His support of government funding for embryonic stem cell research led Arizona Right to Life to endorse Huckabee over him in the presidential primary. Predictably, he is talking tough now against the bailouts and sounding conservative, due to it being an election year, as has been his pattern in the past.
Republican party loyalists in Arizona are tired of McCain’s waffling and are putting forth a tremendous effort to remove him in the upcoming election. McCain has a reputation for bullying conservatives who oppose or disagree with him, squelching the opposition in order to continue getting reelected, and insiders say people have finally had enough. Arizona’s Republicans are very conservative, as evidenced by the composition of the state legislature, which is one of the most conservative legislatures in the country. Republicans and Tea Partiers in Arizona are very concerned about illegal immigration, and McCain’s failed bill with Ted Kennedy attempting to liberalize illegal immigration has riled them up. Both the current Maricopa County Republican Party Chairman and a former Chairman have been seen in public wearing buttons with McCain’s name crossed out. The most popular conservative blog in Arizona, Sonoran Alliance, has generally opposed McCain. A Rasmussen poll from November taken of Republican voters found McCain virtually tied with Hayworth in a potential race. (A later Rasmussen poll in January found McCain ahead, but it was taken immediately after Sarah Palin announced she would campaign for McCain, and after an onslaught of nonstop radio ads from McCain viciously attacking Hayworth) A straw poll taken at the mandatory Maricopa County Republican meeting last month, which all registered Republican Precinct Committeemen must attend, found Hayworth beating McCain by 68% to 10.5%.
McCain’s family is becoming more and more of a liability for him. His daughter Meghan McCain blasted the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin on The View last week. Meghan is already known for bashing conservatives like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. Both Meghan and Cindy McCain lent their faces and names to the No Hate campaign, which condemned conservatives who supported California’s Prop. 8 banning gay marriage. McCain’s brother Joe recently compared Tea Partiers to Nazis.
A few big names have lined up behind McCain, but it is even more significant who has not. Nationally renowned political commentator Mark Levin has endorsed Hayworth. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is actively raising money for Hayworth. As the most popular politician in Arizona, Arpaio’s support will make a considerable difference. The most conservative Senator in the U.S. Senate, Jim DeMint, who is endorsing conservative candidates in contentious Senate primaries around the country, is noticeably staying out of the race. This speaks volumes, considering he has served with McCain in the Senate for years and no doubt is under tremendous pressure to endorse him. Dick Armey, whose FreedomWorks backed many of the Tea Parties, had to back off under pressure from angry Tea Partiers after he made a few statements supportive of McCain, issuing a clarification that he has not endorsed McCain.
J.D. Hayworth has long been a darling of the conservative right. He was elected to the House back in 1994 in the conservative revolution that swept Republicans back into power for the first time in 50 years. Just like that revolt, which was a reaction against the liberal policies of the newly-elected Clinton administration, there is a revolt occurring against the newly-elected liberal Obama administration. Hayworth is a natural candidate to lead that revolt again. Hayworth will win for this simple reason: This is a Tea Party revolt year, and Arizona’s Republicans and Tea Partiers have had enough of McCain’s support of this administration’s bailouts and big-government policies.