September 5, 2005


McCain and taxes (Robert Novak, September 5, 2005, Townhall)

Sen. John McCain will take a small step this week toward making peace with the Republican Party on the tax issue. He plans to vote for cloture to block a filibuster on the House-passed bill repealing the estate tax. McCain is certainly no convert to this staple of Republican orthodoxy, but at least he is not standing athwart his party's progress on an issue that its members consider vital.

McCain is not merely voting for cloture to enable an up-or-down vote on the estate tax. He is ready to support a significant scaling down of what Republican regulars call the "death tax" that is being crafted by his conservative colleague from Arizona, Sen. Jon Kyl. While McCain's rhetoric against the very rich passing on their wealth still sounds Democratic, his vote this week will be Republican. [...]

He is the most broadly popular possible Republican candidate, whom Democrats despair of opposing and admit would demolish Hillary Clinton in a general election.

The most effective use of his time right now would be working on the first draft of his Inaugural Address.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 5, 2005 9:40 AM

Neither hot nor cold, the GOP should spit him out. Of course, then he would just run as a Democrat. There is no measurable difference between McCain and Hillary.

Posted by: Palmcroft at September 5, 2005 10:01 AM

There is no measurable difference between McCain and Hillary.

Now that is certainly an exaggeration. McCain is good on spending, and is pro-life.

Posted by: John Thacker [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 5, 2005 11:37 AM

Unfortunately every move McCain makes from here on out will be interpreted as whether he is running or not. Didn't McCain vote against cloture when the estate tax repeal came up in '03?

McCain has a long way to go to win over the GOP base. A recent poll I believe noted that his negatives among GOP voters were twice that of Rudy and other potential candidates.

Posted by: AWW at September 5, 2005 11:42 AM

After Katrina, Rudy will be seen as the man.

Posted by: Genecis at September 5, 2005 12:12 PM

Sounds like the Senator may have finally figured out that all the reporters he's been cultivating at The New York Times-Democrat won't be voting in the GOP primaries.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 5, 2005 12:40 PM

Since McCain has to move so far Right to support repeal of the Death Tax, the Republican base will have even less reason to consider him electable in a national election (as a Republican, of course).

Posted by: John J. Coupal at September 5, 2005 1:02 PM

The difference is McCain will win.

Posted by: oj at September 5, 2005 1:12 PM

Guys, McCain has 2+ years to do his dance. And if he helps grow the Republican majority in 2006, the past won't matter.

Plus, his ability to win CA trumps every other GOP hopeful (excepting Rudy, although McCain is doing politics right now - Rudy is making money). Advantage - McCain.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 5, 2005 1:15 PM

McCain is already rich thanks to his wife's family and it's still to be seen how he'll react when the media turn ugly on him.

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 5, 2005 1:38 PM

Jim probably has it right.

I do think that McCain has a job to do with GOP voters. I saw a poll this week in which he had pretty seriously depressed numbers with Repubs.

Of course this could be overcoming.

I myself will need some convincing from him i order to violate the basement rule come November 2008.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 5, 2005 1:38 PM

Crazy Johnny at the helm? Maybe it is time to move to Canada.

Posted by: ed at September 5, 2005 3:44 PM

McCain will have to do what Nixon did in 1966 -- lots of campaign stops for GOP candidates in order to build up lots of IOU's for a run in 2008. Outside of Santorum or Gingrich, it's hard to think of a Republican presidential hopeful who would challenge McCain and draw the instantanious wrath of liberal Democrats the way George W. Bush did in 2000, to the point that they would be willing to crossover in primary elections and vote for McCain. That means McCain has to get himself right with much of the Republican base and the party's officeholders over the next 24 months.

Posted by: John at September 5, 2005 5:31 PM

McCain neuters the derangement and hatred in a way that even Rudy cannot match. Sure, the media can turn on him, and the left can accuse him of insanity, losing his soul in Vietnam, being a coward, or even fathering black children, but I suspect this sort of nonsense will only fuel McCain to run a stronger campaign. In the end, if he masters his temper and shows a measure of grace, he wins 40+ states (including CA). He could even win NY against Hillary, if Pirro roughs her up in 2006. There are very few truly safe Democratic states with John McCain at the top of the GOP ticket (VT, RI, MA, possibly ME - where else?).

The election is over 3 years away - at this time in 1997, the GOP favorite was Liddy Dole. McCain has plenty of time. And he knows the Democrats are just going to continue to self-destruct.

And no matter the sound and fury on the Katrina aftermath, the wilding in NO will be a strong negative for the Democrats. The GOP has Haley Barbour and Bob Riley (who have managed pretty well so far, in similar circumstances). Blanco and Nagin have hurt their people, and themselves.

Having Jesse Jackson, with crocodile tears, on your side, is a big negative in 2005.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 5, 2005 6:48 PM

Fellow Republican officeholders know they'll have an easier time winning with him at the top of the ticket--end of story.

Posted by: oj at September 5, 2005 6:51 PM

jim - Mastering his temper and showing a measure of grace may not be so easy. What evidence is there that McCain could keep his cool under the kind of abuse Bush has received? I fear with McCain he'd either appease them by turning left, or lose his temper and behave irresponsibly and squander the goodwill Bush has built up. There's precedent for both responses in his background.

McCain-Feingold indicated that deep down he's on the side of the governing elite rather than the people; his verbal assaults on Christian conservatives suggest he's not a man of faith. I don't think that he can easily overcome the reservations of conservatives.

Posted by: pj at September 5, 2005 8:33 PM

"...the left can accuse him of insanity, losing his soul in Vietnam, being a coward, or even fathering black children..."

Um, weren't those the under-the-table accusations that the Bush campaign made about him in SC back in 2000? Seems to me "the left" would only be following the conservative program on that one.

Posted by: M. Bulger at September 5, 2005 9:44 PM

M is exactly right on that one and it seldom works twice.

Posted by: oj at September 5, 2005 10:18 PM