McCain on the teevee

MCCAIN ON THE TEEVEE…. When I saw that John McCain was going to be on “Face the Nation,” I assumed it was simply to reflect on Ted Kennedy’s legacy in the Senate. It wasn’t.

Both Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) emphasized on Face the Nation this morning that the Attorney General’s new probe into the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation techniques is ill-timed and counter-productive.

Speaking first with host Bob Schieffer, McCain agreed with remarks made earlier in the day by former Vice President Dick Cheney, who told Fox News Sunday that the interrogation probe was a “terrible decision.”

It’s a very weak argument, but it nevertheless offers us another chance to ask why John McCain is making yet another Sunday morning show appearance.

For those keeping score at home, this is McCain’s 12th Sunday morning appearance since President Obama’s inauguration in January. That’s 32 Sundays, for an average of a McCain appearance every 2.6 weeks.

Since the president took office, McCain has been on “Meet the Press” twice (July 12 and March 29), “Face the Nation” three times (August 30, April 26, and February 8), CNN’s “State of the Union” twice (August 2 and February 15), “Fox News Sunday” three times (July 2, March 8, and January 25), and “This Week” twice (August 23 and May 10).

Now, this might be easier to understand if McCain played a key role in public policy right now, but he doesn’t. He’s just another conservative member of a 40-seat minority. McCain isn’t playing a role in any important negotiations; he hasn’t unveiled any significant pieces of legislation; he isn’t being targeted as a swing vote on any major bills; and he’s not a member of the GOP leadership. He’s just another far-right senator, with precious little to say that couldn’t have been predicted in advance.

Oh, and incidentally, he lost the last presidential election by a fairly wide margin. Nevertheless, McCain has still made 12 appearances in eight months.

Eric Boehlert recently checked and found that John Kerry, in the eight months after Bush’s second inaugural, made three appearances on the Sunday morning shows. McCain’s total, obviously, quadruples that number.

As Boehlert concluded, “[A]fter Kerry lost in November, the press walked away from him. After McCain lost in November, the press still crowds around him.”