When Sen. Kelly Ayotte hitched her wagon to neoconservative stars Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, it allowed her to break in line in front of fellow junior senators and boost her name recognition among national Republicans.
But after McCain and Graham slammed Sen. Rand Paul last week, calling his drone filibuster a “political stunt” to “fire up impressionable libertarian kids,” Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff says her career is “stranded:”
From Ayotte’s point of view, the alliance would elevate her profile, while providing her with national security/foreign policy credentials and the appearance of gravitas. Moreover, McCain has long been popular in New Hampshire.
But now McCain and Graham have made themselves the symbol of all that’s objectionable about the “past its sell-by date” Republican establishment. They did so primarily through their attacks on Rand Paul — fair in principle, I believe, but over-the-top in execution.
Where does this leave Ayotte? Light years behind Cruz, Rubio, and Paul in the estimation of many conservatives.