ALL OF THIS SOUNDS KIND OF FAMILIAR…. If the scuttlebutt is right, policy makers are about this close to striking some kind of bailout deal, making John McCain’s latest round of inexplicable tactics entirely unnecessary. But McCain apparently wants to come riding onto Capitol Hill — probably on a white horse, if he can find one — where he can take credit for a package he had nothing to do with.
And if all of this sounds kind of familiar, it’s because we saw a very similar situation about a year ago.
During a meeting [in May 2007] on immigration legislation, McCain and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) got into a shouting match when Cornyn started voicing concerns about the number of judicial appeals that illegal immigrants could receive, according to multiple sources — both Democrats and Republicans — who heard firsthand accounts of the exchange from lawmakers who were in the room.
At a bipartisan gathering in an ornate meeting room just off the Senate floor, McCain complained that Cornyn was raising petty objections to a compromise plan being worked out between Senate Republicans and Democrats and the White House. He used a curse word associated with chickens and accused Cornyn of raising the issue just to torpedo a deal.
Things got really heated when Cornyn accused McCain of being too busy campaigning for president to take part in the negotiations, which have gone on for months behind closed doors. “Wait a second here,” Cornyn said to McCain. “I’ve been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You’re out of line.”
McCain, a former Navy pilot, then used language more accustomed to sailors…. “[Expletive] you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room,” shouted McCain at Cornyn.
So, lawmakers and administration officials negotiated behind closed doors for quite a while, trying to hammer out a deal. McCain, on the campaign trail, was detached and uninvolved. In the 11th hour, McCain swoops in, hoping to take credit for work he didn’t do, and when challenged, Senator Hothead erupted, demanding deference.
Soon after, a deal was announced, McCain smiled for the cameras as if he’d been integral to the process, and then left to go back to the campaign trail, not sticking around long enough to help the compromise package become law.
He may be lacking in temperament, character, and honesty, but at least McCain has a consistent m.o.