Colo. primary weekend preview: Fuming McCain rails against DADT repeal

Arizona Senator John McCain is coming to Colorado this weekend to campaign for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton, who was a leading member of his presidential campaign team here in 2008. McCain lost the Colorado primary in a landslide to Mitt Romney and now he is also fighting for his political future in a nasty GOP primary against relative unknown right-wing radio host J.D. Hayworth. That Arizona primary, which will end August 24, has cost McCain a mindboggling $16 million, so far.

Which may partly explain why he’s so upset on this C-Span video, where he rails against Michigan Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. McCain admonishes Levin for loading a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and a hate crimes law onto an essentially unopposable war-spending bill.

“It was a betrayal of the men and women who serve this country,” McCain said. “It’s again, the chairman and the majority leader and the other side moving forward with a social agenda on a legislation that was intended to ensure this nation’s security.”

The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell amendment was included by Levin to guarantee repeal of the controversial policy soon, in part to put an end to controversial and costly discharges in a time of war. Big name Republicans such as Dick Cheney and Colin Powell support the repeal. It is the process of repeal that will be determined in part by the survey presently being conducted by the military. McCain is objecting to this planned order of events either because he is holding to the belief that the repeal might be thinned somehow by what the military survey reveals or because he wants to score political points by talking about Democrats “ramrodding through” a “social agenda.”

In any case, as he well knew, his emotional objection was noted and video taped. Expect more of the same here in Colorado on the stump.

Former Lt. Gov. Norton has painted herself as an anti-terrorist hawk of the immediate post-9/11-era genre, looking to expand operations in Afghanistan even as popular backing for the war has nosedived and casualties mount and the deficit costs spiral into the heavens and achievable objectives on the ground race away into the horizon. Indeed Norton has swerved right repeatedly in her primary contest against Weld County D.A. Ken Buck as the tea party influence here among likely GOP primary voters seemed to gain strength month after month.

McCain’s anti-Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hard line and his general hawkishness, despite the deficit costs, will make for a good show. Question is, will it win over Buck-favoring tea party voters who say they want to end “out of control government spending” and the reign of Washington insiders and the big-spending careers of millionaire politicians who will say anything to get elected?

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