This is quite telling, courtesy of the WashPost's Chris Cillizza as he toast the ultimate political “winners” of the health care reform showdown [emphasis added]:
-- John McCain: The Mac was back during the health-care debate, a feisty presence on the Senate floor and in front of the television cameras, leading the GOP opposition to the bill. McCain's performance over the past several weeks proved that he is and will continue to be a major force in the chamber. His stalwart opposition to the plan is also good politics, making it harder for former representative J.D. Hayworth to challenge him from the ideological right in a primary next year.
What exactly did McCain do in recent weeks in terms of the health care debate to emerge as a clear “winner”? (As a “major force”?) He maintained a “presence” on the Senate floor. He also showed up on TV on a lot and opposed Obama's initiative. Wow, I mean what more could a political leader do during an historic legislative showdown?
The truth is if you strip away the Beltway media's obsessive, McCain's-our-man-coverage, the Arizona senator, like virtually every Republican member of Congress, was a spectator during the health care legislative process. Without the votes to stop anything, and having adopted a strategy to uniformly oppose everything Democrats offered up, Republicans assigned themselves to permanent bystander status.
Meanwhile, McCain himself is not considered to be a health care expert and his opposition to the White House plan was telegraphed months ago. Meaning, McCain brought nothing of substance to the debate. Yet lo and behold, looking back on the legislative process which Republicans lost, the WashPost tips its cap to McCain for emerging as a health debate “winner.”