At least Sentor McCain "got" the message. In this post, I wrote:
Has he changed because of political expediency? Watching him closely last night, I would say no. For that to have been true, he would have had to change much earlier in the process so as to minimize the political damage to his Presidential campaign. Tonight, I saw a man, a very powerful man, humbled by acknowledging that what he had been pitching was not what the people wanted. He even fought against at that time! But now, with the battle over that bill is over, he has reflected over what the people wanted and has come to grips that he was wrong. An "all in one" package may be what he wants, but is not what the American people want.
It may have been a bitter pill, but he swallowed it and his pride and is now acknowledging that the right thing to do is to secure the border. Why? While securing the border is of utmost importance to many (very much including myself), it is a way to try to EARN back the respect and confidence of the American people towards Congress (something that he admits is quite bruised at the moment).
I give him kudoes to doing this – given the political capital spent, to admit one is wrong takes a big man. To turn it around and do and support what he didn’t want to do at first takes a bigger one.
Meanwhile, first time Senator Mel Martinez and head of the Republican National Committee has yet to learn this lesson. This article talks about what he said that in retrospect, shows him a tad behind the times:
Martinez chides GOP candidates
ST. PETERSBURG – Sen. Mel Martinez, the head of the Republican National Committee, took a swipe Tuesday at the leading Republican presidential candidates for not offering solid solutions to America’s immigration crisis.
The first-term Republican from Orlando, who absorbed enormous criticism mainly from within the GOP for pushing an immigration overhaul that included letting illegal immigrants become citizens, turned the tables on some who had been most critical.
"Presidential contests are about leadership. … It’s about leading on the tough issues," Martinez told the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. "It was easy to say, ‘This wasn’t good enough, this isn’t right, I don’t agree with Martinez.’ … But at the end of the day what is your answer? How would you solve this?"
In his remarks, Martinez did not directly refer to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, but he later suggested both candidates, who were critics of the controversial Senate immigration proposal, had mischaracterized the plan. He also urged audience members to pin down the Republican candidates on immigration when they come to St. Petersburg for the YouTube/CNN Republican presidential debate Nov. 28.
We saw the effort by Republicans and others that figuratively caused a meltdown of the Senate phone system. Millions of emails were sent. Talk radio (including Meet The New Press) discussed it and mobilized listeners while bloggers marshalled their readers. An uproar ensued to the likes that have not been seen in a long, long time.
Yup, put him in the corner with a dunce cap. Not for his stance (which I disagree with) but for his obstinence and arrogance for openly defying the base. At a time when Republicans are quite nervous about the upcoming elections, the Rs are going to need all of the activists they can get in order to get out the vote. Insulting them as well as your front running candidates only pours more burning oil on the Republican leadership that those of us looking up already distrust.
And distrust looses not only voters but money and time.
Martinez’s remarks underscored both the difficulty Republicans are having with the volatile issue of immigration and the delicate position Martinez holds as both a senator and general chairman of the Republican National Committee amid a heated presidential primary.
"It can be a little awkward," acknowledged Martinez, a Cuban-immigrant who is neutral in the presidential race but has called Republican presidential candidate John McCain "courageous" for being a champion of the immigration plan that was so unpopular with much of the Republican base.
Awkward? Is he nuts? Try stupid. Speaking as a Senator is one thing, but attacking your front runners in what will be a very iffy Presidential race is….yeah…stupid.
Hey, McCain "got it"….Senator Martinez had better refocus as well. Concentrate on what the voters are demanding FIRST. Build back that lost trust, then proceed with the next step.
Unless he is trying to use reverse psychology. IMHO, that failed badly.
"I don’t want to in any way intervene in the primary process," Martinez said. "But at the same time, I have an obligation as a senator to speak about the issues."
Let me be the latest to state the obvious "er, you did". And you do realize that now you’ve got people looking at you as the RNC head, not as a Senator. While free to say what you will, your speech is certainly going to cross over, and just make some of us plain cross.
Let the candidates slug it out amongst themselves. Your role is to get the winner elected.
This didn’t help.
Adding insult to injury, I just found this in a Washington Times article:
Mr. Martinez’s criticism of the two men was a stinging shot from the head of their party.
But it comes just two weeks after the Republican National Committee sided with those who want enforcement first, with the RNC passing a resolution calling on the government to use all means necessary to secure the border.
Great…just flipping great. Not only is he not listening to the base, he’s not listening to the RNC members either. What should we expect when a leader, trying to lead, turns around and sees that he is only leading himself. Will he do the right thing?
The St. Petersburg Times said Mr. Martinez told audience members at the chamber of commerce to try to pin the candidates down on their immigration stances when Republicans are in town for a debate on Nov. 28.
Funny, just being an ordinary schlub in central NH, I can tell you what the major candidates stances are – he doesn’t?
The Republican National Committee did not return a call for comment
Wonderful….now the RNC is starting to act like the Gilford School Board…..
(see GilfordGrok if you have a puzzled look on your visage)