Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated with the brash political attacks Sen. John McCain has launched against Barack Obama in the weeks since the new president took office. No one expected the Arizona Republican to be a legislative ally for this administration. But it was widely assumed that Obama's overtures to McCain in the weeks after the election would dull some of the hard feelings between the two. Now, they are realizing, it has not.
"He is bitter and really angry," Bob Shrum said of McCain in an interview on Friday. "He is angry at the press, which he thinks is unfair. He is angry at Obama and angry at the voters. He has gone from being an angry old candidate to being an angry old defeated candidate."
Indeed, during the debate over the economic stimulus package it was McCain, as often as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who spearheaded the opposition. The Arizona Republican denounced the proposal as pure pork on the Senate floor and introduced an alternative measure comprised nearly entirely of tax cuts.
On Sunday, McCain wouldn't let the fight die, even with the legislation through Congress. Appearing on CNN, he described the $787 billion measure as "generational theft" and said that the bill's authors should "start over now and sit down together."
Meanwhile, appearing on ABC's This Week, Sen. Lindsey Graham -- McCain's chief ally in the Senate -- said of the process by which the stimulus was forged: "If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country is screwed."
That two Republicans Senators who consider themselves prudent compromisers would forcefully condemn the president's top legislative priority is noteworthy in and of itself. That it comes after President Obama made overt gestures of reconciliation to both McCain and Graham raises questions as to just how long it will take for this era of post-partisanship to arrive.
Not to mention that, as other observers pointed out, McCain isn't being entirely consistent.
"During the Senate debate, 36 of the Senate Republicans voted for an alternative that would have cut taxes over the next decade by $2.5 trillion, [and] reduced the top marginal race to 25 percent," said the Atlantic's Ron Brownstein on "Meet the Press." "For John McCain -- who voted for that alternative of a $2.5 trillion tax cut over the next decade -- to talk about generational theft, I mean, pot meet kettle."
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