On Monday when President Trump signed The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act there was little surprise when the Trump refused to say McCain’s name during the ceremony. After all, the President and Senator have had a long running feud, and nobody really believes Trump is capable of either humility or respect (even for former POW’s). What was surprising, however, was Rep. Martha McSally’s behavior following the signing of the legislation.
AZ Central has a nice opinion piece here. To summarize the article, following the legislation signing, McSally went on a media parade for herself that featured multiple tweets, national press interviews, and even a press release from her campaign of over 500 words. Missing from all this? Any mention of Sen. John McCain.
An obvious slight, and a political calculation from McSally to distance herself from the ailing senator. This move by McSally was an attempt to more align herself with the Trump wing of the Republican party. Sadly, this behavior has recently become all too common for the congresswoman.
McSally is currently running in a heated primary to replace retiring senator Jeff Flake as the republican nominee on the ballet this November. McSally has been in an apparent race to the bottom as she combats local vulture-person, Kelli Ward, and convicted criminal, Joe Arpaio.
“Funny… now that I think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that carrion bird and Ward in the same room together.”
In an untelevised debate (apparently there is such a thing) last July, McSally needlessly and without provocation attacked Sen. Flake saying,
“He lit himself on fire. You know there’s an old saying, ‘A leader without followers is just a man on a walk.’ I don’t understand the path that he chose.”
Of course, Flake is also an enemy in Trump World (because he has too many of those pesky convictions that Trump supporters hate so much) and McSally desperately wants to be seen as the candidate most like Trump in this primary. When McSally first announced her senate run back in January, many republican voters in Arizona saw her as the Trump/Ward/Arpaio alternative. A suitable replacement for a principled leader like Flake in the senate, clearly this has not born out.
In June, McSally moved away from her position calling for a compassionate solution to DACA. In March she removed her name from the Recognizing America’s Children Act. Back in 2012, during McSally’s first run for congress, she made it clear that she did not support a physical border long wall, but fast-forward to 2018 and McSally has all but started building the wall herself. Over the past seven months, McSally has contorted and flipped her positions to try and out Trump her primary challengers and in the process has alienated early supporters hoping for a substantial candidate.
The problem for McSally is that Arizona does not need another Trump-styled candidate. We’re already lousy with them. McSally has slowly demeaned herself and her campaign by trying to fit in with the Trump crowd rather than working to lift herself above the fray. She is aiming to hit the low low bar of a Trumpian candidate rather than being an aspirational leader like her fellow statesman, John McCain. McSally has done little, if anything, to distinguish herself from her competitors. It seems like the only choices for Republicans in Arizona that are starving for principled conservative leadership is Trump/Trump/or more Trump and we are not better for it.