November 11, 2005

START PICKING THE CABINET:

Straight-talking McCain reveals himself as a leader in waiting (Alec Russell, 12/11/2005, Daily Telegraph)

Senator John McCain has all but launched a campaign to succeed President George W Bush, calling for a new approach to the war in Iraq and savaging the Pentagon's record there.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 11, 2005 10:31 PM
Comments

Would a President McCain at least get rid of Under-Performin' Norman?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at November 11, 2005 10:40 PM

Why do I get the feeling Senator Keating-McCain wants to refight the Vietnam War, but this time he'll be the hero who wins it?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 12, 2005 12:48 AM

McCain will be like the Patriots this year, winning a weak division and then getting clobbered in the playoffs. McCain has alienated most of the GOP base and the moderates will desert him once the NYT/WAPO/ABC/CBS/NBC turn against him.

Posted by: AWW at November 12, 2005 1:01 AM

AWW -- You mean the same "base" and "moderates" that have turned on Bush?

Posted by: Randall Voth at November 12, 2005 2:29 AM

McCain will never get the nomination.

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2005 3:11 AM

OJ:

Reportedly, in private conversation a number of GOP insiders are projecting George Allen. Any thoughts on the likelihood of that?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at November 12, 2005 3:31 AM

He has zero shot as he'll finish 5th here.

Posted by: oj at November 12, 2005 8:07 AM

AOG:

Only libertarians despise him--he's, by any measure, the best his department has ever had and one of the best cabinet secretaries in recent memory.

Posted by: oj at November 12, 2005 8:16 AM

Re Allen:

GOP usually nominates somebody "whose time has come", who has emerged as a national leader within the party. After Bush, that mantle belongs to either McCain or Giuliani. It is a two-man race between the two. Rice will become the nominee if Bush brings her in as VP in 2006-2007 to replace Cheney. Only these GOP candidates stand a chance against Hillary. None of the darlings of the conservative "base" (Allen, Brownback, Sanford, Gingrich, Pawlenty, etc.) break the Margin of Error in any GOP polls, and none of them have the recognition to compete against Hillary.

Posted by: sam at November 12, 2005 8:26 AM

John McCain has an excellent chance of being our next president.

I - also - have an excellent chance of being our next president.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at November 12, 2005 9:13 AM

Ah, delusions of grandeur...

Posted by: oj at November 12, 2005 9:19 AM

For Coupar or McCain?

Posted by: Sandy P at November 12, 2005 10:19 AM

Randall - my point is that McCain has done enough things to alienate GOPers during his time in office, especially since 2000 when he didn't beat Bush. This past week he is getting beat up in GOP circles for his add troops to Iraq and give more rights to terrorists themes.
OJ's belief is that it doesn't matter because McCain will win enough moderates and independents to offset the loss of the hardcore GOP. My point is that when the MSM turns on him, and it will (especially if Hillary is the Dem nominee) this may not be true.
That all said, if Hillary is the Dem nominee there will probably be a lot of GOPers voting for McCain, holding their nose, to prevent Hillary from winning.

OJ - NH GOP primary is becoming overrated as the GOP power continues to shift to the South and West. Didn't McCain win NH in 2000 only to lose the South and eventually the nomination to Bush?

Posted by: AWW at November 12, 2005 10:43 AM

AWW:

Yes, W would beat McCain and Giuliani this time too, or Jeb could. No one else on the Right commands the base the way they can.

After McCain, Giuliani & Romney finish in the first three spots here how does a fourth or fifth place guy win SC?

Posted by: oj at November 12, 2005 10:51 AM

Allen would have to stake his claim in the Iowa caucuses, where McCain's problems alienating the base, combined with Guliani's positions on social issues will leave an opening for a less controversal and more conventional Republican to squeeze through. That could get him past any fourth or fifth place finish in N.H. and onto the S.C. primary.

That said, Allen does have a bit of a charisma deficit right now, outside of his family heritage, when it comes to exciting people outside of the GOP base (GWB had some similar problems, but he was governing a high-profile state at the time and the GOP base was already fired up after eight years of Clinton). Anyone the GOP nominates is going to have to have some sort of star power to him or her, or risk being swamped by the Hillary tsunami in the media during the '08 election cycle (despite the Mark Warner buzz this week, there's no way on this or any other planet the Democratic base is going to vote for someone with that moderate a record who they know Republicans don't hate during the 2008 primaries)

Posted by: John at November 12, 2005 11:26 AM

OJ:

McCain won't compete in IA. Will he suffer for it? Only if the press wants him to.

After NH is over, it will be forgotten. Even if Allen (or Pawlenty, or Rudy) finishes 3rd or 4th in NH, but wins in SC, then he has the big mo'. 5th place is probably death, but Romney stilts the race because he can do well in NH and not anywhere else.

And if Rudy finishes ahead of McCain in MI, then Senator TV is toast. The problem with being a front-runner is that you have to win. Even 2nd place can kill, especially with an unfriendly press.

Regarding McCain and the media - somedays I think McCain has placed himself where he can actually attack the press, and win. No other candidate can do that. But I don't know if he did it on purpose.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 12, 2005 11:29 AM

Not competing in IA is good for him, because he skips it over government subsidies to ethanol. It plays into his image.

Posted by: oj at November 12, 2005 11:51 AM

Allen has a shot at the nomination -- New Hampshire is not the be-all and end-all of the campaign anymore -- but he needs to start making a push now, and he would benefit tremendously by reversing his pro-abortion position. If he stays pro-abortion, conservatives may go to Romney. Allen benefits by name recognition from his father's football career. I don't know if he wants it badly enough.

Posted by: pj at November 12, 2005 12:34 PM

Has anyone who hasn't finished in the top two in the NH primary ever won the Republican nomination?

Posted by: oj at November 12, 2005 12:46 PM

Okay, I got it...The kiss-of-death spot(s) in Vermont's Evil Twin's GOP primary are coming in 1st, or 2nd or 5th. A candidate who wants to win aims for 3rd or 4th.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 12, 2005 12:57 PM

1st or 2nd works.

Posted by: oj at November 12, 2005 1:02 PM

It's going to be perhaps the most interesting primary season ever. The leaders according to the CW for each party have serious problems with their base. The left was willing to swallow Clinton in '92, but they think they own the party now, and will they accept Hillary? Doubtful. If they rally around someone (Feingold?) who gets crushed by Hillary in the primaries, showing how fringe they really are, what will they do in the general? Their whole rallying point is Stop Chimpy W McHitlerburton!, does Stop McCain! really motivate anyone to do anything?

McCain has his well-documented issues with the right, of course. He also got a huge boost in '00 from independents and Dems who crossed over to vote against W, but will they do so this time, or vote in the Dem primaries for Hillary?

Still, though, if the CW is right, and it's McCain (& Rice) vs. Hillary (& Richardson, or Warner?), McCain absolutely mops the floor with her...

Posted by: b at November 12, 2005 3:14 PM

b. When the media open their bag of dirty tricks and start dumping them on McCain, he'll be lucky to make it back to the senate alive and a lot of the filth will spill over to other Republican candidates and make the whole lot of them suspect to voters.

McCain is an accident waiting to happen and, God forgive me, I hope he's removed the scene either permanently or at least temporarily during the primary season.

Posted by: erp at November 13, 2005 7:38 AM

Even the last minute drunk driving revelation didn't do enough damage to W to move the election out of stealing range. The media is biased, but not that powerful.

Posted by: oj at November 13, 2005 8:18 AM

Costing Bush the popular vote was pretty powerful, no?

And trying to do it again in Sept. 2004 was pretty powerful, too (except that the charge went off where least expected). Wouldn't it be great to see Bush give the Medal of Freedom to 'Buckhead' or to PowerLine (or Charles Johnson)?

Posted by: ratbert at November 13, 2005 2:20 PM
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