The Real Reason McCain-Graham Attacked Ted Cruz
by Kerri Toloczko
That Senator McCain harbors a grudge against “the Bushies” for the South Carolina primary defeat that ended his presidential run in 2000 is the worst kept secret in Washington. Having “his” candidate lose in his home state was also a blow to Graham. Known for his long memory, some Senate staffers joke the “R” behind McCain’s name is for “revenge.” Other quip Lindsey Graham is “the senator from McCain.”
Ted Cruz was a key Bush campaign staffer in 2000. Primarily a legal advisor, he also provided domestic policy advice and served as a contact for movement conservatives. A brilliant legal mind, Cruz was a critical asset to Bush’s Florida recount team. …
In January, Senator McCain aggressively grilled retired Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) during Hagel’s Defense secretary confirmation hearings. Formerly close, the friendship ended when Hagel refused to endorse McCain for president in 2008. McCain asked excellent questions — hard-hitting and appropriate. When Hagel could not answer, McCain was openly hostile.
That weekend, McCain and Graham hit the Sunday talk show circuit expressing justifiable concern about Hagel’s qualifications for the job. But when Senator Cruz later asked Hagel equally hard-hitting questions in an Armed Services Committee meeting, McCain and Graham publicly raked him over the coals for being too tough on Hagel.
This left Beltway insiders and regular folk scratching their heads. Unless, of course, they remembered Cruz’s Bush association.
IMO, this article is highly plausible rather than a certainty. That said, the article cites one instance of Sen. McCain anti-Bush vindictiveness (one that is sadly and ironically current). She could have (and probably should have) cited many more (McCain-Feingold and the “Gang of 14” backstabbers come to mind). These provide at least a very suggestive context for McCain’s otherwise inexplicable reversal between his own questioning of (now) SecDef Hagel and Sen. Cruz’s speaking out against Hagel. Sen. McCain keeps exacting revenge to the cost of the American people, and needs to be retired, voluntarily, through resignation, or involuntarily by the ballot box!