IF IT’S SUNDAY…. You’ll never guess who’s on one of the Sunday morning public affairs talk shows.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is calling for “regime change” in North Korea — and blames the recent crisis on the failings of Pyongyang’s lone international supporter, China.

“It’s time we talked about regime change in North Korea — and I do not mean military action — but I do believe that this is a very unstable regime,” McCain told Candy Crowley Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” […]

McCain, in his first appearance on the show, lit into Beijing, while tepidly endorsing China’s plan for emergency multi-party talks. [emphasis added]

As a substantive matter, McCain’s foreign policy analysis was strikingly superficial, which should only come as a surprise to those in the Washington establishment who continue to mistake the senator for someone who has an expertise in international affairs.

But I especially liked that line about this being McCain’s first-ever appearance on “State of the Union.” That’s only true if one plays some semantics games — the conservative Arizonan has been on the show many times, just not since the rebranding and change in hosts.

Indeed, the words “John McCain” and “first appearance” clearly don’t belong in the same sentence when we’re talking about the Sunday shows. This morning’s appearance was McCain 26th appearance on a Sunday show just since President Obama’s inauguration.

Since the president took office 22 months ago, McCain has been on CBS’s “Face the Nation” five times (1.24.10, 10.25.09, 8.30.09, 4.26.09, and 2.8.09), NBC’s “Meet the Press” six times (11.14.10, 6.27.10, 2.28.10, 12.6.09, 7.12.09, and 3.29.09), ABC’s “This Week” four times (7.4.10, 9.27.09, 8.23.09, and 5.10.09), and “Fox News Sunday” six times (9.5.10, 4.18.10, 12.20.09, 7.2.09, 3.8.09, and 1.25.09). His appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” this morning is his fifth since Obama took office (11.28.10, 1.10.10, 10.11.09, 8.2.09, and 2.15.09).

If there’s a good explanation for bookers’ obsession with the failed presidential candidate, I can’t think of it.

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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.