Thursday, October 30, 2008

Take Off Your Indian Braids

Watching McCain struggle in his home state of Arizona should be a warning to John Kyl, reliably one of the most conservative members of the Senate, that times are changing in the state. Kyl won re-election in 2006 by a relatively narrow margin of 54-46. The state has elected and re-elected a Democrat to the governorship, and kicked conservative gasbag congressman J.D. Hayworth to the curb in 2006. Barry Goldwater's home state isn't what it used to be, which means people like Kyl had better watch the extremism and partisanship. His lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is a heady 97%, which puts him "up" there with sober and moderate men like Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn. Neither one of those men could get elected to office in anything but a deep red state; I don't see why Kyl should be able to in rapidly purpling AZ. Kyl is 66 now, will be 70 in 2012 when he's next up for re-election. Maybe he'll decide it isn't worth the effort to change, and walk away from whatever it is that keeps people coming back to Congress for more. It'll be interesting to watch his voting record in a new Congress, with a new president and, judging by recent history, in what amounts to a new state. And if I were a President Obama looking for someone on the other side of the aisle to pressure now and then, I'd see if Kyl, despite that 97% rating, was willing to play ball. He might just want to do a Strom Thurmond or Robert Byrd and keep at it until they have to wheel him away.