Monday, January 19, 2009
good blood: Obama and McCain put Country First http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/19/us/politics/19mccain.html?_r=1&ref=Washington
Case in point - RedState has already told McCain to go "suck a lemon". A more official rebuke comes from Rick Santorum, former GOP Senator for PA, who frets that John McCain might seek to re-burnish his credentials as a maverick by working amicably with president Obama:
McCain was once the mainstream media darling, back when he joined Democrats on a host of issues. He prized his maverick moniker and used it to propel himself onto the national scene in the 2000 Republican presidential primary. Early in the Bush years, he shored up his status as the media's favorite Republican by opposing Bush on taxes and the environment.
In McCain's mind, however, losing the presidency will not be the final chapter of his life story. He knows the path to "Big Media" redemption. Working with the man who vanquished him in November will show them all the real McCain again.
Remember, it was this onetime prisoner of war who led the charge to open diplomatic relations with Vietnam. If that past is prologue, and McCain's legislative record is any guide, he will not just join with Obama but lead the charge in Congress on global warming, immigration "reform," the closing of Guantanamo, federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, and importation of prescription drugs.
Santorum's concerns are well-founded, as it turns out. The New York Times has more detail on the evolving Obama-McCain relationship:
As contenders for the presidency, the two had hammered each other for much of 2008 over their conflicting approaches to foreign policy, especially in Iraq. (He’d lose a war! He’d stay a hundred years!) Now, however, Mr. Obama said he wanted Mr. McCain’s advice, people in each camp briefed on the conversation said. What did he see on the trip? What did he learn?
It was just one step in a post-election courtship that historians say has few modern parallels, beginning with a private meeting in Mr. Obama’s transition office in Chicago just two weeks after the vote. On Monday night, Mr. McCain will be the guest of honor at a black-tie dinner celebrating Mr. Obama’s inauguration.
Over the last three months, Mr. Obama has quietly consulted Mr. McCain about many of the new administration’s potential nominees to top national security jobs and about other issues — in one case relaying back a contender’s answers to questions Mr. McCain had suggested.
Mr. McCain, meanwhile, has told colleagues “that many of these appointments he would have made himself,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a close McCain friend.
Fred I. Greenstein, emeritus professor of politics at Princeton, said: “I don’t think there is a precedent for this. Sometimes there is bad blood, sometimes there is so-so blood, but rarely is there good blood.”
Reaching out to a former rival is unprecedented in American politics, but that's the entire point of Change. Obama is wise to solicit McCain's counsel, because the real solutions ahead will require working together for the sake of the nation rather than any one party or electoral cycle.
Related - discussion at myDD and at Washington Monthly.