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McCain, Hayworth violating Reagan’s 11th Commandment

CREDIT: Arizona Public Media/Arizona Illustrated
CAPTION: McCain, Hayworth violating Reagan's 11th Commandment

This is my commentary that will air on Arizona Illustrated tonight at 6:30 p.m., KUAT Channel 6..

Text of my commentary, in case you want to read along.

The two candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate both have invoked the name of the late Ronald Reagan, trying to tie their candidacy to the revered Republican President.

Yet each man in this increasingly nasty campaign is violating Reagan’s 11 Commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of Another Republican.” Challenger J.D. Hayworth by far is the greatest offender. He’s a Republican trying to unseat a Republican, a four-term Senator who six years ago was re-elected with 77 percent of the vote and two short years ago was the Republican candidate for president of the United States.

What could John McCain have done in the past two years that was so egregious that he’s in the fight of his political life within his own party?

By looking at each candidate’s stands on the issues, there’s little difference between them. Both are opposed to the recently enacted health care bill. Both want stronger border enforcement. Both are opposed to abortion, support better care for veterans and want lower taxes. And both are hypocrites when it comes to opposition to deficit spending, as both have repeatedly voted for budgets that vastly increased the national debt.

Arizona Republican anger with John McCain appears to have been a slow burn, discontent that has built over the years, not because McCain has voted thousands of times for bills all Republicans support, but because of the few times in his past he’s dared to work with Democrats to get something done, such as campaign finance, health and education reform, and the nomination of Supreme Court justices.

Strange that Republicans want to penalize a man whose scrupulous stands on some issues and his willingness to occasionally put principle above party would have back in the day earned him admiration for his statecraft and leadership.

Just like the revered Reagan. Reagan repeatedly worked with Democrats in his eight years as president, including to lower and raise taxes. But, and more relevant to this election, to also pass one of the largest immigration reform bills in the nation’s history, allowing for what is now derisively referred to as amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.

But Reagan never had to run for office in the age of the Internet and talk radio, where malevolence is the coin of the realm and where you don’t get elected building up your own reputation but by destroying your opponent’s, even if he’s a member of your own party. Perhaps it’s a good thing that Reagan didn’t live long enough to see what’s happening in the 2010 race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in the great state of Arizona.

He would have been ashamed.

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