If it’s Sunday…

IF IT’S SUNDAY…. Believe it or not, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did not appear on one of the Sunday public affairs talk-shows in March. Seriously, not one. That hardly ever happens.

Fox News will put things right tomorrow.

A familiar face leads the charge against President Obama: In an exclusive interview, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., joins ‘Fox News Sunday’ to discuss his opposition to the potential use of a Value Added Tax.

In promoting the interview, Fox probably characterized McCain as “a familiar face” to mean that the senator and the president have long been at odds. Of course, when I see the phrase, I take it to mean that McCain is “a familiar face” on Sunday shows that seem almost obsessed with him.

For those keeping score — and you know I am — this will be McCain’s 21st appearance on a Sunday morning talk show since Obama’s inauguration. That’s an average of 1.5 appearances a month, every month, for over a year — more than any other public official in the country.

Since the president took office 14 months ago, McCain has been on ABC’s “This Week” three times (9.27.09, 8.23.09, and 5.10.09), CNN’s “State of the Union” four times (1.10.10, 10.11.09, 8.2.09, and 2.15.09), CBS’s “Face the Nation” five times (1.24.10, 10.25.09, 8.30.09, 4.26.09, and 2.8.09), and NBC’s “Meet the Press” four times (2.28.10, 12.6.09, 7.12.09, and 3.29.09). His appearance on “Fox News Sunday” tomorrow will be his fifth since Obama’s inauguration (4.18.10, 12.20.09, 7.2.09, 3.8.09, and 1.25.09),

Obviously, there’s no reason for this. McCain lost a presidential election; he’s not in the GOP leadership; he’s not especially influential with anyone; he’s not playing an active role in shaping any legislation; and he doesn’t appear to have any expertise in any area of public policy. The Sunday shows seem to book him out of habit. It’s farcical.

Of course, if McCain loses his Republican primary in Arizona, one of the networks can make the process more efficient and just give McCain his own Sunday morning talkshow. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t give the networks any ideas.

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Steve Benen

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.