John McCain has opened up a 15-point lead over primary challenger J.D. Hayworth according to a Research 2000 poll. But McCain’s comfortable lead may be short-lived in view of an illegal immigration act (SB 1070) recently passed by Arizona lawmakers. McCain and Hayworth are likely to come down on opposite sides of a law that is increasingly popular with white Arizonans and "Teabaggers" while being viewed as horrific by groups in favor of immigration reform. McCain is in a tough spot on this one. He can either stick to his earlier principles or flip-flop and move to the Right in order to secure his place on the 2010 ballot.
But let’s assume for the sake of argument that McCain's comfortable lead dissipates over the next few months and on August 24 he is sent into retirement by his upstart, ethics-challenged, challenger, J.D. Hayworth. Great, all we need is another western wingnut in the U.S. Senate. At least McCain was once willing to work across the aisle – right? But that was then and this is now. McCain, who somehow survived years of brutal captivity as a POW, was obviously more traumatized by his landslide defeat by Barack Obama in 2008, and the bitter loss of what must have seemed like an entitlement to lead this nation, has become chief obstructionist to policies that he once himself embraced.
What came out of the 2008 campaign and is extant today is the triumvirate of Pappy McCain, Lindsey "Gomer" Graham, and "Holy" Joe Liebermann. This bloc has remained united against the Democrats since Obama took the Oath of Office (twice) in early 2009. They have opposed Obama on his foreign policy in general, and on his management of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain (undoubtedly egged on by Graham and Lieberman) has recently called for the U.S. to "pull the trigger" on Iran.
It’s not at all likely that a Democratic challenger could pick up McCain’s Senate seat, regardless of whether it is McCain running, or J.D. Hayworth. Arizona appears to be moving backward, rather than forward in that regard. But if McCain were to lose the Arizona primary and Hayworth becomes a freshman senator, there may yet be a silver lining. Without its Maverick pivot-man, the old McCain, Graham, Lieberman cabal will become but a distant memory and Obama may have one less obstacle to overcome in his endeavor to repair the damages of eight years of Bush, Cheney, and their GOoPer enablers.