August 29, 2005


An End to Polarization? (Michael Barone, 8/29/05, Jewish World Review)

For 10 years American politics has been sharply polarized, with just about equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats arrayed angrily against one another. We have come to think of this as a permanent condition. Yet by the next presidential election that may very well change. The reason: The leading candidates for both parties' 2008 nominations are in significant tension with their parties' bases—and, in some cases, outright opposition.

This is most clearly the case on the Republican side. The consistent leaders in 2008 polls are John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani. Of the two, Giuliani is most sharply out of line with the cultural conservatives who have been the dominant force in Republican primaries and provided a large share of the Republican majorities racked up in 2002 and 2004. Giuliani is pro-choice on abortion, opposes the "partial-birth" abortion ban, and opposes a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

McCain's differences with the Republican right are more subtle. He has consistently opposed abortion rights but doesn't seem comfortable talking about the issue. He has taken the lead on campaign finance regulation and on Kyoto-like responses to climate change, in opposition to most of his Republican colleagues. At a critical point in the 2000 campaign, he made a point of denouncing evangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. [...]

A McCain or a Giuliani nomination has the potential to change the regional alignments that have mostly prevailed since the election of 1996, in both directions. Either would almost certainly run better than George W. Bush in the vast suburban tracts of once marginal states like New Jersey and Illinois. But they might fail to draw the huge turnout of cultural conservatives that Bush did in the nonmetropolitan reaches of states like Ohio and Missouri.

The increasing warmth of the McCain/Bush relationship suggests a candidate who recognizes he needs the Right on his side and a president who recognizes that a key to his legacy is not just being succeeded by a Republican but one whose victory will grow the party. With the Bush operation joining the McCain campaign and the Senator being a bit more vocal about abortion--prospective justices in particular--he's home free.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 29, 2005 12:00 AM

Orrin, do you have links to examples of those two things? In particular, the Bush operation joining McCain's.

Posted by: Timothy at August 29, 2005 1:56 PM

"Paris is worth a mass."
How much does Sen. McCain want the White House?

Posted by: Mikey at August 29, 2005 2:33 PM


Posted by: Timothy at August 29, 2005 5:14 PM

Though I'll note that there's nothing concrete in that article, which is what I was really looking for. I do seem to remember hearing something about some Rove acolyte going to work for McCain. Am I remembering that correctly?

Posted by: Timothy at August 29, 2005 5:17 PM

I still want to see some evidence that he's learned the lesson of his 2000 defeat in South Carolina, and to not consider those in his own party who dare crticize him to be traitors to the Holy Cause (i.e., McCainism). And a few Sista Soulja moments starring his press sycophant buddies might help, too.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 29, 2005 5:51 PM


The 2004 Convention.

Posted by: oj at August 29, 2005 5:55 PM

Sorry, but as long as his buddies in the press don't treat him like every other GOPer, but as some sort of Desert Hilllary with Mango Salsa, he gotta keep proving his innocence.

For example, I want to know he won't self immolate and implode on national television when the magic phrase "Keating 5" starts appearing in the talking points of every Leftwing blogsite come June '008. 'Cause quite honestly, I don't think he has it in him to contain his temper.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 29, 2005 9:42 PM

No one has ever heard of not cares about the Keating 5.

Posted by: oj at August 29, 2005 10:52 PM