March 13, 2006


The Right's Man: John McCain isn't a moderate. He's much less of a maverick than you'd think. And he isn't the straight talker he claims to be. (PAUL KRUGMAN, 3/13/06, NY Times)
(Available only to TimesSelect subscribers)

It's inside of the Times own protective bubble, so there's no telling what he actually argues, but most Times readers will likely be surprised to hear that their hero is a conservative.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 13, 2006 9:47 AM

Wow. Krugman agrees with me! Who'da thunk it.

Posted by: erp at March 13, 2006 10:03 AM

This is actually one of McCain's great liabilities. He's had a pretty easy ride from the press so far, but few of them actually want him to become president. I can't be the only one who predicted a widespread turning against him once he was no longer a Bush-spoiler but somebody who might get elected, in his own right, with an (R) after his name. Let the trashing begin!

Posted by: Kirk Parker at March 13, 2006 10:14 AM

That's one vital lesson McCain learned from W: the press doesn't matter.

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 10:17 AM

Kirk - I have the same position as well - the MSM will turn on McCain once he gets in Hillary's way.

OJ - Bush can ignore the press because he has pretty solid base support. McCain doesn't have strong base support and therefore is more needy of press approval. If McCain gets the nod he needs to pray Hillary gets the Dem nod or else a sizable number of GOP voters will sit it out.

Posted by: AWW at March 13, 2006 10:46 AM


McCain has the same support among Republicans that Bush enjoyed--about 90% in polls. Only the Beltway types hate him.

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 10:51 AM

I think McCain's base support depends on how the question is put. McCain vs. Hillary, or McCain vs. Kerry, the base is behind him. McCain vs. Condi vs. Romney and so on, not so much.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 13, 2006 11:29 AM

The MSM is much more effective about shaping opinion on an issue that people initially don't know or care about (see the ports fiasco, & McCain's national image in '99). When it comes to changing an already existing opinion, they're pretty close to powerless.

Posted by: b at March 13, 2006 11:37 AM


Bush only had half the base against McCain.

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 12:46 PM

OJ - then why did he generally get pretty poor reviews at the Southern GOP conference this past weekend?

Posted by: AWW at March 13, 2006 12:46 PM

b is on the right track on this. It's too late for the MSM to turn on McCain after holding him up as the non-Bush for all these years.

They have been channelized right into the killing zone.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 13, 2006 12:49 PM


politicos aren't the base

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 12:56 PM

The media have been stockpiling anti-McCain ammunition and can deploy it at a moment's notice, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were some fellow POW's who would come forward with allegations of misconduct ala the Swiftboat vets.

He won't know what hit him and I doubt he can keep his cool like Bush does.

Posted by: erp at March 13, 2006 1:07 PM

So what? It didn't hurt Kerry--it won't hurt McCain.

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 1:16 PM

I thought Krugman was an economist.

Posted by: Genecis at March 13, 2006 3:54 PM

On the basis of what?

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 3:56 PM

If not McCain who?

Posted by: Genecis at March 13, 2006 3:59 PM

It would be nuts to nominate anyone other than the popular governor of a southern swing state.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 13, 2006 5:59 PM

It's a hierarchical party and the next line gets the nomination. Only one GOP president in the past hundred years was a Southern governor. Democrats do indeed only win with Southerners since 1960.

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 6:04 PM

Just 'cause it's hierarchical doesn't mean it's not nuts. If McCain were to run, he'd bring the sitting senator curse in spades.

"Governor" gets you, for the Republicans, McKinley, Roosevelt, Coolidge, Reagan and W. "Swing state" gets you McKinley, Roosevelt and Reagan. Eisenhower is obviously an outlier. Southern just happens to be where the population is these days; it is the New York or California of modern politics.

In fact, if Bush does anoint McCain, it looks likely to be a rerun of Roosevelt anointing Taft.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 14, 2006 12:11 AM


He's running against a sitting Senator.

Posted by: oj at March 14, 2006 7:34 AM