IF IT’S SUNDAY, IT’S JOHN MCCAIN DAY…. Bookers for the Sunday shows have shown admirable restraint of late. They continue to book Joe Lieberman, Lindsey Graham, and Newt Gingrich with painful frequency, but they’ve gone two whole months without inviting John McCain back on.

Don’t worry; the Sunday shows just can’t quit him that easily. “Meet the Press” made this announcement the other day:

This Sunday: Exclusive!
Sen. John McCain

President Obama relieves Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his command in Afghanistan after his comments about the president’s diplomatic team causes a firestorm in Washington and undermines the President’s strategy in Afghanistan. How will Obama’s decision impact the war going forward? Will McChrystal’s replacement, CENTCOM Commander Gen. David Petraeus, be able to successfully lead the effort in Afghanistan? Plus, the upcoming midterm elections and the future of the GOP. We’ll ask a man in the center of it all: fighting his own tight re-election battle to the Senate and serving as the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

I especially enjoyed the “Exclusive!” with the exclamation point, as if this were a rare, special occurrence. It’s not.

For those keeping score — and you know I am — this will be McCain’s 22nd appearance on a Sunday morning talk show since Obama’s inauguration. That’s an average of 1.3 appearances a month, every month, for over a year — more than any other public official in the country.

Since the president took office 17 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 “Fox News Sunday” five times (4.18.10, 12.20.09, 7.2.09, 3.8.09, and 1.25.09). His appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” tomorrow will be his fifth since Obama’s inauguration (6.27.10, 2.28.10, 12.6.09, 7.12.09, and 3.29.09).

Obviously, there’s no reason for this. In the announcement, “Meet the Press” seemed to justify the invitation by saying it was a big week with regards to U.S. policy in Afghanistan — and it was. But John McCain has never demonstrated any meaningful understanding of the war policy. On the contrary, he’s been routinely confused. “How will Obama’s decision impact the war going forward?” It’s a good question, but McCain’s hardly the best person to answer it.

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.

Steve Benen

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.