Five years ago this summer, many in the Arizona Republican Party base were very upset with the actions of Sen. John McCain. With the senator running for re-election this year, it’s worth a look at the issues that drew the ire of so many back in 2005, as reported by The Arizona Conservative:
Arizona Republican leaders and the party faithful at the grassroots level butted heads last year over the border invasion and Proposition 200 — and the grassroots GOP faithful won over the pandering politicians. The two groups are dueling again this year over opposition to senior U.S. Senator John McCain.
Three separate Republican grassroots entities have this summer either censured or condemned McCain for consorting with leftist politicos and ideals. While the people cry foul, the party leadership is trying to contain the political fire.
The cascade of contempt for McCain’s dismal performance began June 11th with a unanimous censure by the Arizona Republican Assembly (ARA) during its annual convention. That motion was penned by Bruce Barton, borders columnist for The Arizona Conservative and an ARA board member.
Two more measures against McCain followed, both sparked by conservative activist Rob Haney, of Paradise Valley. Haney succeeded with a motion for censure of McCain in District 11, and then he led the Maricopa County Republican Party’s Executive Guidance Committee to express its dissatisfaction with the representation of McCain. McCain, a 2008 presidential aspirant who is concerned about the dissatisfaction in his back yard, and Senator Jon Kyl sent representatives to the EGC meeting to defend the senator.
Congressman John Shadegg phoned Haney, the chairman in District 11, in opposition to his actions against McCain. Haney stood his ground and refused to back down.
First-year AZ GOP Chairman Matt Salmon is pressuring districts not to censure McCain. He claims that any further actions directed at McCain will hurt the Republican Party in the 2006 governor’s election and may adversely affect the Protect Marriage Arizona (PMA) initiative.
Some Republicans are fearful that McCain will unleash a backlash to assist Democrat Janet Napolitano in her re-election campaign next year, and that he may also work hard to defeat PMA. But McCain already works closely with liberal Democrats, has supported Arizona Democrat candidates and opposes a federal marriage amendment. These betrayals of conservative Republicanism are precisely why so many red staters oppose the radical McCain.