McCain Gets a Primary Challenge (But Don't Count on McCain Losing)...

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Apr 21, 2009 3:31 PM
http://progressiveworldreview.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/john_mccain.jpgSenator John McCain -- who not long ago was the GOP standard bearer -- has drawn a challenge from Minuteman founder Chris Simcox.

The Minutemen, of course, are an organization devoted to making sure illegal immigrants do not cross the border.

As CNN reported, Simcox said:

"John McCain has failed miserably in his duty to secure this nation's borders and protect the people of Arizona from the escalating violence and lawlessness," Simcox said in a statement. "He has fought real efforts over the years at every turn, opting to hold our nation's border security hostage to his amnesty schemes."
Of course, it's early to make predictions, but here are my initial thoughts ...

As a conservative who tries to keep an ear to the ground, I'm not sensing the kind of anti-John McCain fervor that would be needed to oust an incumbent (taking on Meghan McCain -- now that's another story).

Perhaps the timing isn't perfect?

I actually think McCain would have been much more vulnerable a year or two ago than he is right now. Since losing the presidency, McCain has been fairly conservative -- and has been a vocal opponent of Barack Obama's policies. In short, unless McCain starts being all McCainy again -- I don't think there is a tremendous amount of interest in ousting him. Mostly, I think most conservatives just want to move past him -- which means not hearing about him or this primary ...

Moreover, I think it's safe to say that the Minutemen are not universally admired or liked -- even among conservatives to oppose illegal immigration. To be sure, a lot of conservatives will support Simcox -- but this is nothing like a Pat Toomey versus Arlen Specter race where conservatives will coalesce around the challenger (Toomey, a former conservative Congressman and president of the Club for Growth is a much more credible and respected candidate -- and Specter is also much more vulnerable incumbent than is McCain).

Regardless, sometimes challenges have surprise benefits. For example, Toomey's rumored challenge to Specter helped persuade the incumbent to oppose card check. It may well be that Simcox helps move McCain a bit more to the right -- which would be a worthwhile pursuit...