McCain still doesn’t like Obama

MCCAIN STILL DOESN’T LIKE OBAMA…. The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza reported this morning, “The Mac Attack is Back.” I’m not quite sure what that means, but apparently, John McCain isn’t especially impressed with the president who defeated him in last year’s national campaign.

Arizona Sen. John McCain lambasted the Obama Administration’s handling of health care reform legislation during a CNN interview Sunday, a sign that the President’s erstwhile rival hasn’t conceded the political battleground just yet.

“There was no input by Republicans in the writing of the bill,” said McCain. “In the health committee it was all a Democrat[ic] proposal. That’s not the way you want to begin if you’re really interested in a true bipartisan result.”

McCain also seemed to reject the idea of supporting any health care plan that contains the so-called “public option” — comparing the idea to the creation of quasi-government agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

We wrote months ago that McCain could be Obama’s best friend in the Senate as a Republican bridge to bipartisanship.

Yes, and President Obama clearly hoped that by reaching out to McCain early and often, perhaps the Arizonan might be one of the handful of Republican lawmakers open to working with a Democratic administration.

But if there’s one painfully obvious lesson to be learned from the 2008 presidential campaign, it’s that Obama and McCain don’t agree with one another on matters of public policy. This continued after the inauguration, when McCain tried to lead the charge against recovery efforts. “The Mac Attack,” whatever that is, never really left.

I continue to find the media’s fascination with McCain’s disagreements with the White House odd. The former Republican presidential hopeful is still on Sunday morning shows more than just about anyone other than the hosts, and his rather predictable criticism of the administration is consistently treated as a major development. (This was the lead story at “The Page” for most of the day yesterday.)

His comments on CNN yesterday were especially bizarre. McCain blasted Democratic health care reform efforts because the majority failed, from the outset, to have opponents of health care reform help shape the policy. He noted the bipartisan work that went into immigration reform in the last Congress as a model of how to shape policy, without mentioning that it was easier since some Democrats and some Republicans agreed on the policy solution.

In the late Winter and early Spring, Obama’s team hoped that we might see some of the McCain circa 2001 — the persona that voted against the Bush tax cuts. That persona, obviously, is long gone and won’t return.

That said, at this point, what difference does it make? The news can by summarized this way: “Conservative Republican still embraces conservative Republican agenda, rejects progressive Democratic approach.” It would have been newsworthy if McCain had said anything else.

I realize McCain was the GOP nominee, but he’s now one conservative voice in a 40-seat caucus. McCain won’t sway any Democratic votes, and his influence in the Republican caucus is limited. “The Mac Attack” is inconsequential for nearly everyone outside news rooms.