J.D. Hayworth gets props from me for his concession speech Tuesday night. He went out by reminding his supporters the voters have spoken, like it or not, and you have to respect their decision.
"The time for derision in a campaign is beyond us," he said after hushing boos from his supporters at the mention of Sen. John McCain. "It is time for others to move forward with their visions of the future based on what the voters have told us tonight."
"We need to understand the result," he went on to say, "and the fact is, our fellow Arizonans do believe the incumbent will be a better custodian of their goals and desires, and we earnestly hope that will be the case."
Here's the full speech, courtesy C-SPAN:
Hayworth had plenty of time to rehearse this speech. Aside from an early surge, he failed to give Sen. McCain a serious challenge. Even conservative-leaning polls left him running to catch up. Two things killed his chances: 1) McCain's sizable war chest and 2) that doggone infomercial.
Hayworth ended up running against himself. Was he the consistent conservative, or the TV "huckster" (or "Huck-sta" as McCain's TV ads seemed to pronounce it) for a shady deal offering free government money? Voting for somebody who pitched a handout and yet promised to rein in government spending just didn't smell right.
McCain's ads wouldn't have cut so deep if Hayworth had the cash to fight back. Eventually he did, but by then it was too late. Thus another lesson of hardball politics is demonstrated: when you go up against the big guns, you can't carry a pistol.
Yet Hayworth forced McCain to move back to the right and recapture some alienated conservatives. He may claim he's not a "maverick," but maverick is as maverick does, and mavericks know how to gravitate back to their base and win when necessary.
Now with a higher profile, Hayworth can step into the role of conservative cheerleader, much like Sarah Palin, and keep his campaign going.