February 9, 2006



REPUBLICAN conservatives are really warming up to Sen. John McCain as they look ahead to 2008 — and one reason is they are starting to see him as the best person to beat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Conservatives loved the poll that showed McCain would trounce Clinton by 52 to 36 percent in a White House. It came along just as they were reminding themselves that McCain really is a true-blue conservative.

The clincher was this week's confirmation of President Bush's second Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, without a bruising showdown over a filibuster — thanks to the "Gang of 14" deal that McCain brokered with Dem moderates.

Conservatives howled betrayal when McCain cut the deal, but, in fact, he got moderates to agree that it's unacceptable to kill a judge's nomination solely because he's a conservative.

McCain is a prime reason why John Kerry's filibuster bid flopped.

One tries so hard not to gloat.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2006 9:13 PM

go ahead, when you're right you're right :)

Posted by: toe at February 9, 2006 9:18 PM

Those who don't understand the history of the Republican presidential nomination politics will fail to recognise the inevitability of John McCain's nomination. Only Rudy Giuliani has the the leadership credentials to match McCain, and he (Rudy) is dragged down by his personal stand on social issues (sells in liberal NE, not rest of country). All others (Brownback, Frist, Allen, Romney et al) are jokes, in terms of being considered contenders.

Posted by: sam at February 9, 2006 9:31 PM

Demonstrates the limitations of majority rule, don't it?

Posted by: ghostcat at February 9, 2006 9:33 PM

Noticed today the first signs of sniping on the left about the kid glove treatment McCain gets from the media in general and Chris Matthews in particular. Chris already crossed the left last month by mentioning how similar the latest purported audio recording of Osama sounded like DNC talking points, but they had for the most part held their fire on McCain, in hopes that he and GOP conservatives would come into new conflicts. The attack on Obama may mark a turning point, in which some in the Democratic Party decide its too dangerous to wait any longer before going after the Senator from Arizona.

Posted by: John at February 9, 2006 9:36 PM

The only thing that might keep McCain out of the White House is his health ... broadly defined to include his, er, stability.

Posted by: ghostcat at February 9, 2006 9:40 PM


The biggest joke of all: George Pataki.

Posted by: David Hill, The Bronx at February 9, 2006 9:42 PM

Gloat disguised as honest question:

Did anybody else here besides me and OJ think the filibuster deal was a good idea?

PS I remember being concerned about the whole thing until I read the agreement and realized nobody would agree on what it meant.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 9, 2006 9:53 PM

The deal was a disaster and McCain won't run.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 9, 2006 11:01 PM

At last, the voice of reason.

Posted by: erp at February 9, 2006 11:12 PM


That's the joke Steve McQueen tells in Magnificent Seven:

"Okay, so far"

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 11:19 PM

I'm not as gung ho for McCain as OJ and others. McCain-Feingold, his pandering to the media, crossing party lines when it suits him, etc make him questionable. That said he may be the best choice a weak GOP can put up in '08 if Jeb and others stay out.

Question - polls show McCain easily beating Hillary. What if Hillary isn't the nominee? What if the Dems (somehow) nominate a more reasonable centrist Dem with a lot less baggage? Does McCain's support crumble because moderate Dems and the GOP frightened by Hillary aren't as frightened by the other Dem candidate?

Posted by: AWW at February 9, 2006 11:46 PM

Still waiting on Brett Kavanaugh, Terrence Boyle, and a (small) host of others.

I myself didn't doubt some good from the 'deal', because it put McCain in a position where his desire to be President was going to force him to push Bush's SCOTUS nominees through, but it has proven to be a one-shot on the lower courts, now hasn't it? It gives too much cover to the GOP members of the gang to just let things slide.

But the real problem (as previously noted) is that Specter is far too deferential towards any Democratic hiccups - if Kyl or Sessions ran the Committee, there would be nominations on the floor, where any filibuster would come to light very quickly. Granted, Specter did well with Roberts and Alito, but again, with the lower level appointments, I just don't see any energy.

And, with respect to Kavanaugh, if Hillary really is 'holding' him back, then Bill Frist needs to shine the light. He said as much back in December, and surely Senate polity doesn't preclude mere identification of the use of such prerogratives.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 9, 2006 11:52 PM

The 2008 election is McCains', there is absolutely no one on the Donks side who could beat him.
The real question is, who'll be his running mate? Due to his age, McCain is truly a one term President, or less. With the right VP on his ticket, Repubs will see another eight years post McCain in the WH.
I, personally, do not like McCain, but, compared to any candidate the Left will nominate, he's my guy.

Posted by: Mike Daley at February 10, 2006 12:01 AM

Barring a Condi candidacy - and she says she won't run - McCain is the man. I've never been a fan of his but I'll take a single McCain term over a return of the Clintonistas anyday, so in that sense like most conservatives I am warming up to McCain. I believe his running mate will end up being Allen, the only man I think who'll emerge as a serious contender to McCain's. He's well liked within the party, he's been campaigning now for over a year, he's developed an early infrastructure and is raising money faster than most of his competition. Assuming Allen doesn't manage to upset McCain in Iowa and New Hampshire, he'll be his running mate in the 2008 election and the next Vice President of the United States.

Posted by: Robert Modean at February 10, 2006 3:07 AM

Romney, Jeb and Ken Blackwell would all be pretty good.

Don't know anything about Allen.

Condi's a policy wonk, hasn't really demonstrated any political chops.

Filibuster deal seems to be working just fine. Evidently it's helping shut at least some of the Dems up.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at February 10, 2006 6:10 AM

Out in the real world, voters (as apart from bloggers and policy wonks) don't give a hoot about filibuster deals and campaign finance reforms. It boils down to a question of, which of the two candidates (in primaries as well as general election) will better lead the country. That is where McCain and Giuliani have the biggest advantage over the rest of the pretenders.

Posted by: sam at February 10, 2006 7:29 AM


No, he'll beat a non-entity even worse.

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2006 7:54 AM


I don't support McCain either, but he'd be the strongest (non-incumbent) presidential candidate since Ike. The notion that it's a weak GOP field is anti-factual.

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2006 7:56 AM


They like CFR, that's why Bush signed it.

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2006 8:14 AM

McCain isn't my guy, but if he's the nominee I'll vote for him. Why either party would nominate anyone other than a Southern governor is beyond me, though.

I don't think he's going to run because he's too old, his health is bad, I don't think he'd like the job if he got it and he doesn't have the fire in his belly. I do think that it is useful for both McCain and the Administration right now for McCain to be sucking up all the oxygen in the room.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 10, 2006 8:34 AM


Which is why Jeb will be his VP.

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2006 8:55 AM

I'd really like Blackwell as the VP candidate, but I doubt it will happen as the only thing he's known for outside of Ohio is his presiding over the 2004 "election crisis". Granted it wasn't a crisis, but it would be an open door for Democrats to accuse him of corruption and to tie him to Bush ... which would actually HELP Blackwell, but it might also energize Democrats, so I doubt he'd get the VP nomination. Nice to think about, however.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at February 10, 2006 9:13 AM

He'd only have been governor for two years. After winning re-election he'd be ideally positioned to run for president in his own right in '12.

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2006 9:19 AM

David sez "I don't think he'd like the job if he got it and he doesn't have the fire in his belly."

He's the son & grandson of admirals, and a former fighter pilot. He's probably thought of himself as President since he was in diapers.

Posted by: b at February 10, 2006 10:48 AM

So did Ted Kennedy.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 10, 2006 10:51 AM

David: I'm confused--are you saying that Teddy didn't (doesn't) want to be President? The reason that he hasn't run since '80 is because even he is bright enough to know that he couldn't win. McCain will win if he runs.

Posted by: b at February 10, 2006 11:04 AM

There still hasn't been a sitting senator elected President since JFK.

What if it's not Hilary but one of the Dem guvs or ex-guvs running against Senator McCampaignFinanceTorture?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 10, 2006 12:38 PM

b: Teddy always saw himself as a natural president in waiting, but then couldn't answer, when asked, why he wanted to be president.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 10, 2006 1:20 PM

"Did anybody else here besides me and OJ think the filibuster deal was a good idea?"

Sure. I did--after I read a Sun-Tzu post and looked at it from that perspective.
To wit:
The goal in a struggle is not to demolish your opponent but to advance your position. The filibuster deal advanced our position---we gained something and lost nothing.

Posted by: fred at February 10, 2006 2:30 PM