June 15, 2005


McCain May Be Bush's Ticket (E. J. Dionne Jr., June 14, 2005, Washington Post)

McCain-Bush in 2008?

That would be John and Jeb, the most logical Republican ticket if the party remains in the polling doldrums. If President Bush and his political maestro, Karl Rove, decide that the only way to create a political legacy is to nod toward the Arizona senator with whom they have battled and feuded, they will go for the guy who can win.

This scenario was outlined to me recently by a shrewd and loyally Democratic political operative with personal ties to the McCain camp before Mark McKinnon, one of the president's top media advisers, publicly confirmed that he would help a McCain presidential run if it materialized. [...]

Courted hard by John Kerry as a potential running mate, McCain said no. He decided he wanted to be president and that it was unlikely he would ever get a Democratic nomination -- and implausible that he could win as an independent. His one shot was as a Republican.

Once this choice was made, everything else fell into place. McCain joined the Bush crowd. He gave a powerful speech endorsing the president at last year's Republican National Convention in New York. The address was perfect for both McCain and Bush. Unlike the speeches bashing Kerry and the Democrats by Zell Miller, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Giuliani, McCain's stuck to policy and praised Bush for his decision to go to war in Iraq. [...]

Bush has been battling, with Rove's help, for a long-term political realignment in favor of the Republicans. The president could well come to see McCain as the only Republican with a chance to push a Republican era forward. McCain, in turn, knows that his only way around the Republican right is to run with Bush's open blessing, if not his outright endorsement.

And here is where Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, could be the deal-closer. Jeb Bush has said he will not run in 2008. But that does not rule him out as a vice presidential candidate. If McCain won, Jeb would be the No. 2 to a president who will turn 72 on Aug. 29, 2008, and might well serve only a single term.

Only the most stubborn of folk still insist Senator McCain isn't running.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2005 11:59 AM

I agree, but the one-term thing will be an albatross for McCain. Better not to discuss it. If people think he's ill or tired, it will hurt him. And the press won't let up if they think they can dog him by always asking about medical issues. Clinton got a pass, but McCain probably won't (especially since he's already had skin cancer).

It would be interesting to know exactly what Clinton was always hiding.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 15, 2005 12:03 PM

That's an awfully big "if" in the second sentence...

Posted by: b at June 15, 2005 12:12 PM

If McCain let's himself be adopted into the Bush Family (think Tom Hagen), won't it be almost impossible for him to continue with the maverick shtick? Especially when he has to run with Michael, err, Jeb, there to keep an eye on him?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 15, 2005 12:15 PM

We're stubborn because promoting McCain, who isn't likely to push his hated rival's agenda even if he were elected, may discourage good candidates from stepping forward. Jeb Bush isn't a Clinton, he's a Bush and Bush people rarely dissemble, so if he said he isn't considering a run in 2008, let's assume that means vice-president too.

The media will dump all the dirt they have stored in their archives and in Hillary's FBI file on McCain's head as soon as he gets the nomination. Gone will be backlit stories of his heroism, gone will be the adoring infobabes hanging on his every word. He'll be trashed 24/7 and unlike Bush, he won't be able to turn the other check, he'll show his egomaniacal dark side and that'll be the end of the Republican era.

There are lots of reasons to oppose a McCain presidency and nary a one to support it.

Posted by: erp at June 15, 2005 12:27 PM

McCain went through a messy divorce and was one of the Keating Five. I have my doubts as to how he will play once the MSM targets him, in order to assist the coronation of the Hildebeest.

Posted by: bart at June 15, 2005 12:28 PM

divorce? Keating Five? Get serious. No one cares.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 12:32 PM


What does not running for president have to do with not accepting the vp nod?

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 12:33 PM

given that jeb won't be on the ticket, is there any other figure that would make mc cain palatable to the gop voters ?

being in power tends to be a draining experience for a party and for its supporters. this phenommena should be taken into consideration when people assume that *all* gop voters will have to vote for mc cain, just to keep some democrat out of office.

personally i am happy to let hillary provide a reminder of why democrats are unfit for national office -- if she even runs, which i seriously doubt.

Posted by: cjm at June 15, 2005 12:42 PM


They were able to use a messy divorce and a quirky prostate to chase Rudy out of a NY Senate race against the Hildebeest, a race which he would have won in a walk.

Posted by: bart at June 15, 2005 12:55 PM

He quit because he was scared he was going to die. He'd have won if he'd run.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 1:04 PM

Bart, aren't you hoping Giuliani runs? Him walking down the street with his mistress is certainly much worse more unpalatable anything McCain has done (outside of CFR), and as OJ notes, that had nothing to do with the Senate decision.

CJM-- McCain will automatically have my support if he brings aboard Jeb or Condi. I can't think of anyone else, off the top of my head, who would make it automatic like that, though there are quite a few who would sway me eventually. (Allen, Pawlenty, Owens all come to mind.)

Posted by: Timothy at June 15, 2005 1:16 PM

He's our best bet to stop Hillary in '08. If there's an unspoken understanding that he'll only stick around for one term, and if Jeb is his VP pick, all the pieces fall into place.

Just do it, baby.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 15, 2005 1:33 PM

The GOP is a deferential party--whoever was next in line has won the nomination every four years for forty years now.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 1:34 PM

And only the most blind believe he will win the Republican nomination.

Posted by: Thom at June 15, 2005 1:35 PM

McCain is not going to run.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 15, 2005 1:36 PM

I think McCain is a crazed, egotistical glory hound, perhaps the biggest one in the Senate. I also think he is an excellent, aggresive politician who learned a lot in 2000. He can handle Hillary.

Winning the nomination? Depends who runs and the state of things 3 years from now. Rudy G. can appeal to the same people so its not a walk for Big John. However, OJ may be right. We'll see.

Posted by: Bob at June 15, 2005 1:47 PM

Another thing. Why will the MSM turn so aggressively against McCain. He is well liked personally among many in the media. Is Hillary?
George Bush courted the press in 2000 and got pretty fair press while Gore got pretty bad press. Did the MSM agree with Gore's policies more than George Bush's? Certainly. So, why can't the same dynamic work in 2008?

Posted by: Bob at June 15, 2005 1:53 PM

W was next in line in 2000? I don' think so.

Posted by: at June 15, 2005 1:54 PM

In fact he was annointed in '99, if not '94.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 1:55 PM

David: What makes you so sure?

Posted by: John Resnick at June 15, 2005 2:02 PM

What makes the donkey think he'll get the carrot?

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 2:05 PM

John: Age, health problems and a realization that it is only as a maverick Republican Senator that the MSM loves him. Nevertheless, he'll continue to make noise about the possibility right up until the last minute.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 15, 2005 2:31 PM

David: So who's your odds on favorite to get the nod?

Posted by: John Resnick at June 15, 2005 3:06 PM

David - He's running, Lindsey Graham more or less said he had to join the filibuster deal as national chair of McCain 2008.

But, the Pat DeWine defeat yesterday is one more sign that the base is not thrilled with maverick moderates right now. I doubt he'll win the nomination.

Posted by: pj at June 15, 2005 3:32 PM

He might well win the nomination if he goes for it since the strongest candidate (Jeb) isn't running.

He will be pushed hard by Romney though.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at June 15, 2005 4:29 PM

John: Why either party at this point would nominate anyone other than a Southern governor is beyond me. Jeb is my first choice. Assuming he's serious about not running, I'll have to wait and see who W picks.

PJ: Even McCain thinking that he's going to run wouldn't dissuade me. I'm stubborn.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 15, 2005 4:29 PM

I'm imagining David, 3 years into a McCain presidency, stubbornly insisting that it never happened.

Posted by: Timothy at June 15, 2005 4:33 PM

Romney can't be taken seriously. He's from Massachusetts.

George Allen is the favorite. At least he's a football fan. Jeb Bush as VP to Allen would be perfect, it would suggest continuity without suggesting dynasty.

McCain will need W's blessing to win the nomination. I doubt it happens. If he were a lock to defeat the Dems it might happen, but he isn't.

Posted by: pj at June 15, 2005 4:42 PM

jim - What Clinton was hiding - it was reported in Arkansas that he saw a psychiatrist to be treated for depression after his first gubernatorial defeat. He may have been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder and prescribed drugs.

Posted by: pj at June 15, 2005 4:46 PM

Romney will trounce Allen in NH, which makes him a contender.

W wants to keep the White House. McCain wins easiest. It's a done deal.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 4:47 PM

CFR and George Soros.

Posted by: Sandy P. at June 15, 2005 6:09 PM

Timothy: I see that you're from the reality based community.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 15, 2005 6:24 PM

I don't think Jeb wants the top or the bottom of the ticket that's why he said he won't run in 2008.

McCain isn't a good choice, I don't even think he's a good person and the love the media shower him with now will end abruptly were he to be the Republican nominee.

Let some lesser lights in the Republicans party be encouraged to throw their hats in the ring.

Posted by: erp at June 15, 2005 6:33 PM

Yeah, I remember 40-10 was a done deal, too, OJ.

Posted by: Slider at June 15, 2005 9:45 PM

Left troops in Iraq too long.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 10:17 PM

It's not clear that a McCain presidency "keeps" the White House.

Posted by: pj at June 15, 2005 10:42 PM

Not only does it keep the White House it picks up a number of congressional seats.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 10:47 PM

I took pj's point to be that, even if McCain wins, it's not clear that we'd be keeping the White House.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 16, 2005 8:05 AM

pj -

I always thought it would be quarterly HIV tests, which, as a married man of long standing, would require some explanation. I never heard of the depression, although it is not in the least surprising.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 16, 2005 3:31 PM