While it was little noticed in national politics, perhaps it should have been. The Arizona Republican Party passed with little debate a resolution of censure aimed at the state’s Mr. Republican, John McCain.
Yes, that John McCain: senior senator, war hero, 2008 Republican presidential nominee.
A former colleague of McCain’s in the Senate from Arizona, Jon Kyl, called it the kind of “wacky” resolution that sometimes emerges from party bodies.
According to the Arizona Republicans’ resolution, McCain has leaned left on issues “associated with liberal Democrats,” including the Affordable Care Act and immigration reform. Perhaps the latter, but McCain opposed “Obamacare.”
The practical effect of the GOP resolution is nil. McCain is not up for re-election until 2016, when he will turn 80. So he might or might not face the voters of Arizona again.
But the resolution is a symptom of the disarray in the GOP, and the growing trend toward party regulars feeling that rigid ideological purity is the talisman of electoral success.
One of the party delegates, who holds the lofty position of Legislative District 30 Republican chairman, said, “We would gladly embrace Sen. McCain if he stood behind us and represented us.”
So it should be the party activists who tell statesmen what to do, and McCain’s ideas — he is famously independent, though quite conservative — are secondary to the purity of whatever some guy in Legislative District 30 thinks.
Not a good sign.