McCain: I'm thinking Chris Christie in 2016

Can I resist a clip of the Hot Air faithful’s least favorite Republican kinda sorta endorsing their second-least favorite Republican? No, my friends, I cannot. An opportunity like this to troll one’s own audience comes, at most, once a year. It’s a rare alignment of the RINO stars, like, say, Mike Huckabee endorsing Lindsey Graham. Which, come to think of it, also almost just happened — until Huck declared it a false alarm. Go figure that a guy who’s thinking of running in 2016 doesn’t want to get ahead of the curve in backing Grahamnesty.

In fairness to Maverick, he also mentions Jindal as someone he likes. The point here isn’t to quasi-endorse Christie — although, given Christie’s softness on immigration and antagonism towards Paul on national security, it’s a cinch that McCain will end up backing him. The point is to emphasize that he wants the next nominee to be a governor, not a senator. There are good reasons to agree with him on that, but what’s driving ol’ Mav isn’t some philosophical judgment about the comparative merits of executives versus legislators. (How could it be when he won the nomination himself as a senator?) The point is that he disdains his “wacko bird” colleagues in the Senate who are likely to run — Paul first and foremost and, of course, Cruz. Interestingly, that would also rule out Rubio, who’s as hawkish as the new generation of Republicans gets and who famously sided with McCain in championing amnesty last year. You would think he’d be a natural target for Maverick’s support. Is McCain sore at him for inching away from immigration reform over the last few months or is this more a product of Rubio having stolen his thunder as the great Republican hope on immigration earlier?

Note how he frames the 2016 contest too, as a battle of isolationists and internationalists. Paul’s the only one in the field who even arguably qualifies as an isolationist, and Jindal’s foreign-policy views are sufficiently low key that I couldn’t give you even a one-sentence summary of where he stands. He is, I assume, reliably hawkish, but he’s a guy who made his bones on domestic policy. Weird that McCain would go out of his way to name him as an attractive candidate when he’s imagining the election as some sort of referendum on hawks versus doves.