f it’s Sunday, it’s John McCain Day

IF IT’S SUNDAY, IT’S JOHN MCCAIN DAY…. And to think the Sunday shows were doing so well. Bookers went the entire month of May without having Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on at all. It was tempting to think maybe the Sunday shows had begun to realize that their near-obsession with the failed presidential candidate was a bad idea.

It turns out, they just can’t quit him. Last week, McCain was the featured guest on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and tomorrow, it’s ABC’s turn.

“This Week” EXCLUSIVE: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) from Afghanistan. The ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee joins anchor Jake Tapper for an Independence Day interview. On the day General Petraeus takes command, Mr. Tapper will ask Senator McCain how he thinks the General can bring an end to the longest war in US history. Is the war winnable? At what cost? Can the Karzai government deliver on governance?

For the record, the all-caps, italicized “exclusive” was in the original; it wasn’t emphasized by me. (Though, as long as we’re on the subject, if McCain appears on every show all the time, I’m not sure how important the “exclusive” label really is.)

For those keeping score — and you know I am — this will be McCain’s 23rd appearance on a Sunday morning talk show since President Obama’s inauguration. That’s an average of more than 1.3 appearances a month, every month — more than any other public official in the country.

Since the president took office 17 months ago, McCain has been on 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), “Fox News Sunday” five times (4.18.10, 12.20.09, 7.2.09, 3.8.09, and 1.25.09), and NBC’s “Meet the Press” five times (6.27.10, 2.28.10, 12.6.09, 7.12.09, and 3.29.09). His appearance on ABC’s “This Week” tomorrow will be his fourth since Obama’s inauguration (7.4.10, 9.27.09, 8.23.09, and 5.10.09).

In fairness, “This Week” has shown slightly more restraint than its competitors, though four appearances is still pretty silly. For that matter, it’s also fair to note that tomorrow will be slightly different since McCain is actually in Afghanistan. That said, it’s worth emphasizing that McCain has never demonstrated any meaningful understanding of the U.S policy in Afghanistan, and has actually been routinely confused about relevant details.

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 remains farcical.

Post Script: I’d just add, by the way, that while McCain does “This Week” from Afghanistan, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will be appear on “Face the Nation” from Afghanistan, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will appear on “Fox News Sunday” from Afghanistan.

Sigh.