December 4, 2006


McCain shifts himself mostly to the far right (JOEL CONNELLY, 12/04/06, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

[J]ohn McCain is positioning himself as a conventional Republican as he explores another run for the White House.

Or, as McCain put it to the Washington Post, "My record is the same on all issues, which is that of a conservative Republican. Not a liberal Republican. Not a moderate Republican."

The Arizona senator's political action committee still bears the name "Straight Talk America." It has, however, taken on Bush campaign veterans. McCain's guru, John Weaver, has buried the hatchet with Bush's political brain, Karl Rove.

In 2000, McCain delighted in tweaking leaders of the religious right, saying that the Rev. Jerry Falwell was an "evil influence" on the Republican Party.

Six years later, he was commencement speaker at Falwell's Liberty University. In Ohio, he backed GOP gubernatorial nominee Kenneth Blackwell, a hero of the Falwell-Pat Robertson wing of the Republican Party.

McCain has always been anti-abortion but lately shows renewed vigor in following the party line.

"I believe we would be better off by having Roe v. Wade return to the states," he said recently, endorsing efforts to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

In a step further, McCain said he "would have signed the (South Dakota) legislation," the stringent anti-abortion law put to a referendum and rejected by South Dakota voters.

He appeased the religious right at home last month. McCain campaigned for a same-sex marriage ban on the Arizona ballot, saying it was a way to "preserve the sanctity" of heterosexual marriage. The ban went down to a surprising defeat.

No wonder that these days Falwell is gushing: "His (McCain's) view of the family is just where most conservative Christians are."

The Senator hasn't changed, it's just his turn.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 4, 2006 5:07 PM

--"My record is the same on all issues, which is that of a conservative Republican.--

Conservative republicans want to clamp down on free speech?

Posted by: Sandy P at December 4, 2006 5:19 PM

Who passes all the internet porn laws? According to polls, even the limitations on political speech are popular with the GOP.

Posted by: oj at December 4, 2006 5:31 PM

Apparently you can have all the free speech you want as long as it's unimportant: porn, tabloids, dumb jokes, etc. Only important speech gets the clampdown, with "important" fortunately being narrowly defined as "anything that might hinder John McCain, Russ Feingold, or anyone currently in power from remaining in power or ascending to higher positions of power". Everything else is just fine by them.

Posted by: Just John at December 4, 2006 7:55 PM

Let's see, the article is from the "Post-Intelligencer", which translates as after intelligence.
As a paperboy in the early 50's, for their competitor, "Seattle Times", I'm, of course, prejudiced against them.
Of course, as a 21st Century non-neo-Conservative, I'm also prejudiced against my former employer.

Posted by: Mike Daley at December 4, 2006 8:18 PM

Just like it was Dole's turn. McCain's a McStake.

Posted by: Palmcroft at December 4, 2006 8:24 PM

There's no evidence either that the speech McCain-Feingold was important or has been limited in any way.

Posted by: oj at December 4, 2006 8:40 PM

You can't run advertisements naming a candidate 60 days before an election. That's a limitation on free speech.

Turns are for children. McCain had his chance and biffed it.

Posted by: pj at December 4, 2006 10:28 PM

Who hasn't run one of those ads?

The GOP always takes turns, we're a hierarchical party, fittingly. Nixon, Reagan, Bush & Dole all biffed their first turns. You become the favorite for next time that way.

Posted by: oj at December 4, 2006 10:31 PM

"Biffing" is one thing. Trashing is another.

McCain has to persuade a lot of people with reason to be angry at him to vote for him. Giuliani just has to persuade people who might be skeptical. There's miles of difference between the two, and poor John probably can't make it up unless he goes nuclear on the Democrats and the press over the next 12 months. And I doubt if he can do it.

Posted by: ratbert at December 4, 2006 11:28 PM

He's already persuaded them and he and Rove will have no trouble rendering Giuliani, who's genuinely out of step with the party, as unfit as Bush and Rove did McCain, who's actually conservative.

Posted by: oj at December 4, 2006 11:34 PM

Losing in 2000 would not be a disqualifier; as ratbert says, it was the way he lost, trashing his party's base and core principles. The Republican party is, at bottom, the party of Judeo-Christian love applied to politics. For McCain to condemn Christians is to condemn the party itself.

McCain may have made up with Jerry Falwell, but Falwell is not representative.

McCain could win, but it's hardly a slam dunk. Giuliani and Romney have chances here.

Posted by: pj at December 5, 2006 11:48 AM

He was never in trouble with the base, which is why every GOP candidate seeks to bring him in to campaign. It was only the inside the Beltway types who turned on him. it was W's turn last time but McCain made a scrappy showing and then played good soldier. Now it's his turn. In the GOP the guy whose turn it is always wins.

He's certainly not going to lose to an anti-JudeoChristian like Giuliani or a Mormon if the question is religion.

Posted by: oj at December 5, 2006 11:52 AM