Tuesday, February 16, 2010

McCain Vs. Hayworth: The Big GOP Split

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 2:52 AM

Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth formally launched his campaign against Arizona Sen. John McCain on yesterday, showing up in Tucson at the end of a long day of speeches around Arizona.

Hayworth is not holding back in his punches against McCain, dismissing Arizona’s senior senator as too liberal for the state because he opposes drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, thinks it’s wrong to waterboard terrorists like the underwear bomber and supports “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

Hayworth, who was introduced by Congressional District 8 candidate Jesse Kelly, called his campaign “a classic political confrontation: John McCain and the Washington establishment on one side, and we the people on the other.”

In Tucson, we the people added up to about 100 folks at El Presidio Park, many of whom identify with the Tea Party movement, although The Skinny did not see Tucson Tea Party leaders Trent Humphries and Robert Mayer in attendance.

Hayworth has captured a few high-profile endorsements, including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has never been much of a fan of McCain, and Minuteman Civil Defense Corps founder Chris Simcox, who announced he was giving up his own campaign against McCain to support Hayworth. (Given Simcox’s lousy polling numbers, that move probably just saves him several gallons of humiliation on primary day.) And might we even see Joe the Plumber coming to Arizona to help Hayworth as St. Sarah of Alaska comes to the rescue of McCain?

McCain has kept the support of the members of Arizona’s congressional delegation, although the Hayworth challenge has him moving further to the right than ever. This race will expose all the weird contradictions that exist within the modern Republican Party and its ongoing love/hate affair with government. Frankly, we can’t wait to watch it all unfold.

If nothing else, the GOP primary should encourage Democratic City Councilman Rodney Glassman to take the gamble of getting into the race on the chance that Hayworth pulls off an unlikely upset or McCain alienates enough conservatives that they don’t support him in November.

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