December 14, 2006


McCain, Inc.? (Robert Novak, 12/14/06, Real Clear Politics)

Some 30 invited corporate representatives and other lobbyists gathered at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning to hear two senior mainstream Republican senators pitch the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain. They were selling him to establishment Republicans as the establishment's candidate. Nothing could be further from McCain's guerrilla-style presidential run in 2000 that nearly stopped George W. Bush.

Invitations to Tuesday's event were sent by Trent Lott, the newly elected Senate minority whip. Over coffee, Lott and Sen. Pat Roberts pushed McCain, though neither previously was seen as a McCainiac. They were not for McCain in 2000, and neither were the assembled party activists.

It is beginning to look like "McCain, Inc." -- that is, party regulars, corporate officials and Washington lawyers and lobbyists moving toward John McCain, the man it feared and loathed eight years ago. The GOP, abhorring competition and detesting surprises, likes to establish its presidential nominee well in advance.

Voters favor McCain over Clinton in '08: But the Republican faces hurdles within his own party. Overall, those surveyed in a Times/Bloomberg poll say they want a Democrat in the White House. (Janet Hook, December 14, 2006, LA Times)
Democrats have an overwhelmingly favorable view of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but she would be soundly beaten if she ran for president against Republican Sen. John McCain now, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found. [...]

Given a choice between McCain and Clinton, half of those surveyed said they would vote for the Arizona Republican, compared with 36% for the former first lady. [...]

The poll reinforces the view that McCain, although mistrusted by some in the GOP and expected to face a spirited fight if he seeks the nomination, would be a strong general election candidate because of his appeal to independent voters. Half of the independents surveyed said they would back McCain; 32% supported Clinton, with the rest undecided or naming someone else.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 14, 2006 2:39 PM

Hey, what ever happened to our local "He's not running" expert Mr. Cohen, anyway?

I long ago stole his line to apply it to Hillary. She can't win, and not even her last name will give her a do-over if she gets crushed once. So she ain't gonna run. In '12 is more likely.

Posted by: b at December 14, 2006 2:57 PM

It may be a McCain/Lieberman (Independent) vs Clinton/Obama (Democrat) vs an amalgam of Gingrich/Romney/Giuliani/Brownback/Huckabee/Tancredo (Republican) race. Would be amusing to see the "conservative" base decimated.

Posted by: sam at December 14, 2006 3:01 PM

sam: Let's be realistic. McCain's a cinch to be the R nominee, because Rudy hasn't been laying the necessary groundwork, and his positions just won't stand up under scrutiny. His ONLY draw might be "electability" but he can't claim that McCain can't win, so he's got no shot. What I'd like to see is McCain say he'll name Rudy SecState (a la Bush proclaiming during the campaign that he'd nominate Powell). Although Lieberman's probably more likely for such a position (personally, I'd REALLY prefer someone like Zell Miller, but I'm not particularly diplomatic at heart...).

Obama brings absolutely nothing to a Hillary ticket. Zilch. Plus, Hillary's not running. But if she does, she'll absolutely have to have a running mate with high-level military experience.

Posted by: b at December 14, 2006 3:18 PM

McCain will be an infuriating president. Not that "infuriating" disqualifies anybody for the job.

Posted by: Twn at December 14, 2006 3:28 PM

We have yet to go to work on Effendi "Gift-of-God" Hussein Obama, who may run, but not hide.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 14, 2006 3:52 PM


My scenario was in a situation if the constant-bitch-and-moan wing of the party somehow succeeded in derailing McCain. Right now, I am having enormous fun watching the "Anyone But McCain" wing jump from one putative contender to another. They thought they had their savior in George Allen, but now are shopping Brownback, Pawlenty, Romney, Huckabee, and even Tancredo.

It reminds me of "Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?"

Posted by: sam at December 14, 2006 4:25 PM

Obama brings absolutely nothing to a Hillary ticket.

b, you must be kidding. The MSM and all the usual suspects would cream their jeans at the prospect of Democrat ticket of one female liberal and one black liberal with a Muslim-sounding name. If you thought media coverage of the last two presidential elections was biased, just wait until you see the way they'll cover a Clinton/Obama ticket.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 14, 2006 4:57 PM

Papaya: They're going to cream themselves over Hillary OR Obama. No one who isn't going to vote for Hillary would do so because of BO.

Posted by: b at December 14, 2006 5:06 PM

She needs Bill Richardson, both because Hispanic and for the executive experience she lacks.

Posted by: oj at December 14, 2006 5:21 PM


remember when they were in love with Governor Owens on CO?

Posted by: oj at December 14, 2006 5:23 PM


You didn't hear it here, but:

Posted by: Admiral Poindexter at December 14, 2006 5:26 PM

Richardson is finished - his serial lying that he was a baseball player will kill him.

The 'conservative' alternative to McCain is Rudy. Not any of those other guys. And Rudy has the executive experience.

When he says he will appoint conservative judges, the party believes him. They have absolutely no reason to trust McCain. The rest of the hysteria OJ froths about is just that.

The media can puff Obama all they want, but his only role is as the anti-Clinton. His position on guns will eviscerate him in 40 states, and even the other Dems will attack him on that point should it become necessary (can't you just see Edwards or Kerry zeroing in on him for favoring gun confiscation?). Besides, he is sort of like David Duke, no? - a minor state senator suddenly thrust into the public eye.

If the Senate goes into a tie before Jan. 4, watch for all those Democratic candidates to be beside themselves. Remember how Edwards didn't vote on almost anything after about July of 2004.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 14, 2006 10:34 PM

The Romney candidacy is already in trouble over comments on gay rights, nevermind continued full support for them and living in a gay menage in NYC.

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2006 8:06 AM

If you think the Sullivan-inspired flap is 'trouble' for Romney, you have been reading too many lefty blogs.

Romney probably won't win, but it isn't going to be Andrew Sullivan's tirade that sinks him.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 15, 2006 8:44 AM

I wasn't aware Andrew Sullivan was in a snit about it and no one reads blogs. Romney doesn't have to appease gay Democrats. He has to convince a Christian Right that already questions his Mormonism and Massachusettsianism.

Try reading a popular tabloid if you want to see where the real Right is:

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2006 9:21 AM

Yes, Andrew is quite upset (because Romney isn't being burned at the stake for backing away from the 1994 letter). But David Frum (at NRO) produced a 1998 piece by Andrew where he took the same position as Romney has in recent public life (i.e., no special actions for gays). All Andrew can do is shriek in response, which is pretty typical.

From what I could tell, it was a pander moment for Mitt. Politicians usually come to regret those, sooner or later.

But things with Rudy are different - it's like the inverse of the old Cuomo abortion issue ("I'm personally opposed, but constrained to uphold the law"). In Rudy's case, he can tell the Right that he may personally favor a lot of social things they despise, but he won't push his views on the electorate. And they will believe him. And if he appoints originalist judges, his views won't matter, now will they? After all, it's not like he is going to have hot tub night in the Lincoln Bedroom (as your snarky menage comment implies).

It is going to be very interesting to watch "the Right" for the next 15 months. None of the flavors of the month (as you listed) are going anywhere. So the base is going to have to come to terms with McCain (unlikely), Giuliani (possible, but not without some kicking), or Mitt (possible as well, but his decision not to run again will hurt him, as it did Edwards).

People are going to be asking - "where are the leaders of our party?" The only answer is to look in the mirror.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 15, 2006 3:19 PM

McCain is the candidate of the Right. Ask Trent Lott, Karl Rove & Jerry Falwell.

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2006 5:11 PM

McCain is the candidate of Washington, D.C. That may not cut it in 2008.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 16, 2006 10:47 PM