Heard on the Hill: McCain's Mouthpiece?
(Ed Henry, September 30, 2002 , Roll Call)
In a development that's sure to get the rumor mill whirring again with talk of another presidential campaign for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Marshall Wittmann has emerged as a candidate to become the lawmaker's new communications director.
Wittmann, a self-proclaimed "McCainiac" who recently bolted the GOP to officially become an Independent, is a much-quoted think tanker who over the past two years has been a cheerleader for everything from an independent presidential run for McCain to a formal switch to the Democratic Party for the Senator.
As the hiring of Mr. Wittman right after his vocal, though incoherent
, departure from the Republican Party shows, Senator McCain, like Senator Chaffee (R, RI), must be seriously considering bolting the GOP if another Jeffords type opportunity offers itself after the midterm election. For Mr. McCain this would position him for a run for president as a Democrat.
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 3, 2002 12:02 AM
Which is why the Republicans would really need a three seat pick-up in the Senate to mean anything at all in terms of governance. Picking up only one or two seats would put McCain and/or Chaffee in the same extortion postion Jeffords was in two years ago, either bolting due to goodies dangled before them by Daschle or just making Bush's life miserable by threatening to bolt unless they get their way on ever single issue.
In the GOP picks up three seats, then they can tell McCain and Chaffee not to let the door hit them in the butt on the way out. But the Democrats will really have to go into uber-screw up mode over the next five weeks to make that happen.
It looks to me like the Dems do a good job of disciplining/instilling fear in liberal-leaning states with respect to natoinal issues like the control of the Senate. This makes it difficult for Reps to pick up seats in those Blue states. Why can Reps make Red State electorates like Arkansas, Montana, the Dakotas, Alabama, Lousiana, Georgia (just a few) vote locally as if it (and it does) mattered nationally?
Even two seats would make it more difficult for those two-- they'd have to coordinate their defections, because doing it alone would put them on the wrong side of the majority. I would expect their egos would make such cooperation difficult. And there's still the Zell Miller factor.