John McCain should hope that presidential politics allows every batter four strikes. He's just swung and missed for the third time since President Bush took office.
Mr. McCain has been helpful to the president and his party throughout the past five plus years, and some of the wounds of the primary campaign, especially his blasts at evangelicals, have almost healed over. The senator will be the commencement speaker at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University this spring, another sign of the thaw in relations between religious conservatives and the American hero.
But then there's the Senate record.
McCain-Feingold purported to overhaul the nation's campaign finance laws and instead empowered George Soros and other hard-left, big-money men. They fund the shadowy 527s that pummel GOP candidates from the president down, yet McCain-Feingold also stifles criticism of office holders 60 days before an election.
Mr. McCain was a leader in the Gang of 14 "deal" that sacrificed fine Bush nominees to the federal bench and-in exchange for confirmations that would have been successful anyway-forfeited the opportunity to conform Senate rules to constitutional mandate by requiring an up-or-down vote for every nominee who emerged from the Judiciary Committee.
Strike three is McCain-Kennedy, the merger of efforts between the Arizona maverick and the Massachusetts hyper-leftist partisan on the issue of illegal immigration. The bill, amnesty dressed up as law enforcement, takes down the 700 miles of fencing authorized by the House bill passed last year. It is also, unless repudiated by the GOP, a recipe for electoral setback in November.
John McCain is a great American but a lousy senator and a terrible Republican. He has never failed to subjugate the interests of the GOP to his own interests, and that is not the ticket to the Republican nomination. c