McCain’s political advisors believe that though he would easily be elected president in 2008 if he captured the nomination, he might not get the nomination. In 2000, McCain did not win a primary state where the voting was restricted only to Republicans. So McCain decided to let the general election take care of itself as he won over the party faithful. He campaigned enthusiastically for Bush in 2004. He sought to reconcile with the religious right, whose leaders he had called “agents of intolerance” in 2000, speaking on May 13, 2006, at the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, and hiring its debate coach as a communications aide.
McCain had belatedly taken the lead in opposing Bush’s torture policy, an issue that could not be more personal for him. But after the Supreme Court last year declared Bush’s secret tribunals for detainees and use of extreme interrogation techniques illegal, Bush sought congressional approval of his revised version of the program. At first, McCain fought Bush, but the right attacked him, in a campaign some of his advisors said they had reason to believe Karl Rove had whipped up. McCain quickly capitulated, even agreeing to suspension of habeas corpus. McCain, as someone close to him explained to me, figured he could continue to play the issue when he became chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the next Congress. Asked about the chance the Democrats might take control, McCain declared, “I think I’d just commit suicide.”
As the neoconservatives abandoned Bush’s sinking ship, McCain welcomed them aboard. “McCain began reading The Weekly Standard and conferring with its editors, particularly Bill Kristol,” the New Republic magazine reported. And he hired a board member of the neocon Project for the New American Century, Randy Scheunemann, as his foreign policy aide.
McCain positioned himself as consistently belligerent, even to Bush’s right: in favor of bombing Iran and North Korea. He also proposed a “surge” of troops into Iraq, an idea gleaned from the neocons. If Bush adopted the Iraq Study Group’s approach of diplomacy and redeployment, which McCain assailed as “dispiriting,” the right would hail McCain as a prophet with honor. Unfortunately, McCain’s strategy depended on Bush’s not adopting his proposal. Importuned by the same neocons who had sold it to McCain, Bush seized upon the “surge.”
City Slickers 3: The Surge!
As Mitt, Hillary, Barack and a dozen others jump into the presidential stampede, something interesting is happening in New Hampshire.
For seven years, conventional wisdom has said that the state’s pivotal independent voters would line up behind maverick Sen. John McCain, as they did so famously in the 2000 GOP primary. But new polling data, to be released later this week, will suggest that might no longer be the case. Manchester, N.H.-based American Research Group finds that McCain’s popularity among New Hampshire’s independent voters has collapsed. “John McCain is tanking,” says ARG president Dick Bennett. “That’s the big thing [we’re finding]. In New Hampshire a year ago he got 49 percent among independent voters. That number’s way down, to 29 percent now.”
(Where have all the forum posters gone? Burning Crusade? - Me too soon enough, another WoW victim. Sad, sad, sad.)
Moveon.org is running negative ads about McCain already, full of pics of him hugging Bush. Saw it on CNN last night.
How remarkably counterproductive of them. Maybe next they can play clips of him espousing extremely conservative positions in all the states he needs to win the GOP nomination.
I’d rather go up against McCain than Giuliani. I suspect Giuliani is too liberal to win the primary, but he would be a tough competitor in the general election.
Anyone think McCain’s age might be an issue? I think he’s pushing 70.
He is 70.
Unless McCain does a major turn-around, ‘fuck you’ to the Neocons, I’ll probably never have respect for him again. So depressing.
Why don’t you want him to win the general?
I long ago lost all respect for the crazy guy with the black baby.
Frankly because George W. has turned me completely partisan and strongly anti-Republican. I still hold George H.W. Bush as the favorite of Presidents in my lifetime (since Johnson), and for better or for worse, I’ll have to admit that I voted for Arnie in the last California election. But I’ve completely soured on any support for Republicans at the National level.
I hold the Republican party responsible for the massive fiasco we find ourselves in in Iraq. They’ve also screwed the pooch on the deficit. And the whole Limbaugh, Coulter, BS anti-intellectual wing of the Republican party is a huge embarrasement. The whole party needs to be stomped on very, very hard by the American people and told that this sort of crap is completely unacceptable. The best way to do that is too keep them out of power for 5-10 years and force them to contemplate their sins followed by some major housecleaning.
We need to show that we the people do not accept the kind of shenanigans that the current administration has put us through. That’s one of the reasons I found the 2004 election so distressing. Even if Kerry would have been worse than Bush, we needed to send a very clear message that if you drag us into a war and then exhibit extreme incompetence on the execution of the war, you will be tossed out of office. Instead the lesson sent in 2004 was if you continue to lie and give BS about how everything is going well, and how you’ve made no mistakes, the American people are too dumb to see through it and will re-elect you. What a horrible message to send to future politicians.
McCain will be 72 in 2008, about the same as Dole, older than Reagan. He wears it well though, so that might be less of a factor.
The symmetry would be eerie if he gets the nomination. That would mean the GOP would have nominated two 72-year old war veterans with shriveled arms.