Remember, he lost

REMEMBER, HE LOST…. Chris Cillizza let readers know this morning about what to watch on Sunday morning.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) spends the hour (or most of it) with George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” on Sunday. McCain has laid low over the last few months as the debate over health care has raged. He’s made clear he would like to play a bigger part in the negotiations but, to date, has been on the outside looking in. How hard a line against the plan does McCain take? Does he leave any wiggle room in hopes of emerging as the broker of a grand compromise?

Cillizza described McCain’s appearance as “Must Watch TV.” I have no idea why.

First, let’s note that John McCain is not a key senator right now. He’s not a member of the Republican leadership, and he’s not on the Senate Finance Committee. McCain hasn’t unveiled any relevant or important pieces of legislation, and he’s not being targeted as a possible swing vote on any major bills. Indeed, CQ ran an interesting analysis this week, noting that McCain’s “maverick” reputation has disappeared — he’s voting with the Republican Party more this year than at any point in his 23-year career.

McCain is, in other words, just another conservative Republican senator, with no real influence, and nothing new to say, who just happens to be invited onto national television all the time, including another lengthy chat on “This Week” in a few days. (What might he say? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess he’ll spend most of the time bashing the president.)

Second, for a candidate who lost a presidential election last year, the Sunday morning show producers seem obsessed with the guy. Just this year, McCain has been on “Meet the Press” twice (July 12 and March 29), “Face the Nation” twice (April 26 and February 8), CNN’s “State of the Union” twice (August 2 and February 15), and “Fox News Sunday” three times (July 2, March 8, and January 25). And on Sunday, McCain will make his another appearance on “This Week,” after having just been on the same show on May 10.

These are, of course, just the Sunday-show appearances — not including more routine appearances — for a politician in the minority, with no real sway over current events, and who was rejected in large numbers by the electorate last year.

Just once, I’d love to hear producers/hosts explain why McCain has to be on one at least one of the Sunday shows 11 times* in eight months. Refresh my memory: was there this much interest in John Kerry’s take on current events in 2005?

* corrected