Opinion Brief

John McCain's next move

McCain tacked right to beat back a Tea Party challenge. Will he stay on that path or reclaim his role as a GOP "maverick"?

Former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) GOP primary victory over Tea Party challenger J.D. Hayworth came at a cost: About $20 million, plus more damage to his reputation as an independent-minded "maverick." But as he prepares for a fifth term in the U.S. Senate, supporters and opponents are wondering: What will the unpredictable senior senator from Arizona do next? (Watch a CNN discussion about McCain's future)

McCain is now senator-for-life: It's slightly tragic that McCain had to run as "an insecure, reactive, poll-watching hack" to beat the "clownish" Hayworth, says Tunku Varadarajan in The Daily Beast. In fact, the "decent thing" for him to have done after losing to President Obama was retire. Now, "ferociously" clinging to his Senate seat for as long as possible, at any cost, "Barnacle McCain" has become "the Liza Minnelli of American politics."
"McCain's embarrassing last act"

He'll lead the GOP "adults": I don't "begrudge," McCain his "doctrinal compromises," or the $20 million he spent to take care of "his political business business in Arizona," says David Broder in The Washington Post. But now his party, and the nation, desperately need his "adult leadership" in Washington. For our sake, and his legacy's, it's time for him to re-exert his independent streak.
"John McCain, your country is calling"

McCain hasn't won yet: McCain "survived his primary brush with political termination," says Michael Crowley in Time, but the race isn't over. The conventional wisdom is that McCain "will roll to easy victory" over Democrat Rodney Glassman, a 32-year-old "wonk," but McCain alienated Hispanic voters with his "rightward lurch on immigration." And the only thing worse than being a Democrat this year is being an incumbent.
"Will McCain have a real race?"

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