IN SYNC…. John McCain appeared on ABC’s “This Week” this morning, in what I believe was his 10 millionth appearance on a Sunday morning talk-show. It’s quite an accomplishment. Congrats to the senator.

The interview didn’t exactly break any new ground, but George Stephanopoulos did note the current difficulties of the Republican Party. McCain heartily endorsed the National Council for a New America rebranding initiative, and outlined a bit of his vision.

“I think we have to be an inclusive party. That does not mean betrayal of fundamental principles. One of the fundamental principles of the Republican Party is to as much as possible, to let people lead their own lives without government interference in their lives. To go as far as their hopes and dreams and aspirations will take them.

“We have to understand that there may be a candidate that can win in one part of our country like the South, may not be able to get elected in Pennsylvania. And local needs and local issues are important but fundamental principles can be articulated. I believe America is a right of center nation. I believe the Republican Party is a right of center party. We have to get in sync with the American people.”

If the U.S. is a center-right nation, and the GOP is a center-right party, aren’t Republicans already “in sync with the American people”? Indeed, if the electorate and the GOP both want to take the nation in the same direction, why is the number of Americans identifying themselves as Republican keep shrinking?

As for McCain’s response about Americans leading “their own lives without government interference,” might that suggest the senator is open to seeing the party change its position on gay rights and reproductive freedoms? Apparently, not. He added that people who disagree on those issues are welcome in the party, just so long as the GOP’s “sticks to our fundamental
principles which are right of center.”

It’s similar to the line Michael Steele took recently: moderates are welcome, but the party isn’t going to shift on any issue.

If anyone found McCain’s appearance too brief, fear not. He’ll no doubt be on one or more of the Sunday morning shows very soon. Television producers do realize he lost last year’s presidential election, by a pretty wide margin, right?

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.