March 18, 2007

KING CONG (via Kevin Whited):

That Old Bus Magic: Will hitting the road help McCain's campaign? (John Dickerson, March 16, 2007, Slate)

Taking to the highway again may not win McCain the nomination (it didn't in 2000, either), but watching the senator for a day, it's clear that it would be stupid for him to retire the bus. McCain's authenticity was his chief selling point in the last campaign. That brand has been blurred. Some who once liked his maverick persona think he's sold out by supporting George Bush and reaching out to social conservatives he once disparaged. A lot of conservatives at the heart of his party still don't like him. The only way he can reassert himself or address people's doubts about him is by participating in a slew of town halls, the way he did last time.

It's his best act. Town halls are risky because the questions can be unpredictable and confrontational, but voters tend to give McCain credit for showing up, facing their questions, and being straightforward even when he disagrees with them. "I view this as starting all over," said McCain.

The Senator needs to take a lesson from the man who got him into politics, The Gipper, and run like an insurgent even though he's the favorite.

A One-Man Civil War (MATTHEW CONTINETTI, 3/19/07, NY Times)

It's Mr. McCain's transformation from insurgent to semi-favorite son that has unsettled the Republican Party and conservative movement. In past years, the Republicans nominated the man who had patiently waited his "turn": Ronald Reagan in 1980, George H. W. Bush in 1988, Bob Dole in 1996. The man who ought to benefit from the machine this time around is Senator McCain, whose insurgent campaign against George W. Bush came close to winning the nomination eight years ago. And sure enough, large portions of the party establishment have embraced him. [...]

More important than ideology or personality is culture. For years conservatives have cast a suspicious eye on Senator McCain because non-conservatives find him appealing. They distrust the institutions of liberal culture -- the news media in particular -- to such a degree that a politician those institutions embrace must be suspect. They grow furious when they hear Senator McCain on Don Imus's radio show but not Rush Limbaugh's. The politics of polarization militate against a McCain candidacy. The man transcends the partisan divide -- but what partisans want above all is a fellow partisan. [...]

Call it poetic justice, tragedy or farce: Senator McCain's quest to become the establishment candidate has jeopardized his candidacy and exposed deep fissures within the conservative movement. A true reckoning will be had only if Senator McCain revives the authentic, conservative, reform-oriented insurgent spirit that motivated his 2000 candidacy. Let Senator McCain be Senator McCain, as the saying goes. Then the fissures will be healed, for better (from Mr. McCain's point of view) or worse.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 18, 2007 4:58 PM

I cannot imagine voting for McCain.

Posted by: Bonzo at March 18, 2007 5:35 PM

I cannot ever imagine myself voting for McCain.

What again is he?

Posted by: Bonzo at March 18, 2007 5:38 PM

This is weird. I just read over at Instapundit that McCain looks frail in person. Not that it matters, if he's the candidate, I will vote for him as the lesser evil, but I won't like it.

Posted by: erp at March 18, 2007 6:31 PM

You don't have to fall in love, you just have to fall in line.

Posted by: Hillary! at March 18, 2007 6:45 PM

" run like an insurgent"

And how exactly would his behavior be any different that it has been the last six years?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 18, 2007 6:46 PM

McCain told a Sunday Telegraph reporter with his StraightTalk™ Express that he wants to:

"1. Close Guanatamo Bay and transfer all prisoners there to Fort Leavenworth
2. "Truly expedite" the judicial proceedings for detainees.
3. End torture, even though no one has established that anyone has been tortured as a matter of policy.
4. Reaffirm his commitment to climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gases along European sensibilities." (via CQ)

The man seems to be doing everything he possibly can to alienate the conservative base. One of the favorite phrases over at RedState is "I'll open a vein before I'll vote for McCain." How he expects to get the nomination is a mystery.

Here in Chandler, AZ., the only person I have encountered who supports McCain was an out-of-state caller trying to raise money for him -- and failing miserably with me.

Posted by: jd watson at March 18, 2007 7:07 PM

Won't be.

Posted by: oj at March 18, 2007 8:21 PM

The Economist says McCain is basically a sleeping powerhouse. This, after calling Rumsfeld the worst SecDef in history, and claiming that the Dems control the agenda in D.C.

I guess this means McCain will be finishing 3rd in the primaries, no?

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 18, 2007 8:53 PM

There's things to like about John McCain (particularly his conduct in Vietnam), but . . . he's too quick to pander to the NYT/CNN/CBS/conventional wisdom crowd. He's consequently 'way too quick to alienate the people he needs to have on his side in order to get the nomination in order to score points with the aforementioned conventional wisdom crowd. (Does he really think Maureen Dowd's endorsement is worth much in a Republican primary? How long until McCain condemns the "outing of Valerie Plame" or the "plastic turkey" or declares himself "pro-choice" or warns of "impending Crhister theocracy" or adopts some other moonbat talking point as his own?) If he's the nominee, and its either him or Hillary! (or Obama!), then you takes what you can get and vote for the best available candidate. (I'd vote for a duck-billed platypus before I'd vote for Hillary! or Obama!, but that's neither here nor there.)

Now, OJ, I have the highest respect for you, but I cannot help by wonder if you are not falling into the trap of adopting conventional wisdom here. As a wise man once said, the conventional wisdom is always wrong.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 18, 2007 10:40 PM

The guy says he's "starting over." Translation: Rudy's got it wrapped.

Posted by: Casey Abell at March 18, 2007 10:42 PM

Old bus magic, eh? Roll on, headless Thompson gunner.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 18, 2007 11:15 PM


The "conventional wisdom" is that McCain is 'in trouble' and that 'Rudy is a lock.'

The fact is that he's got the money and the exposure to take down Rudy and Romney on their records, and he probably will win.

His only real competition/threat would be Fred Thompson, who I pray gets in the race.

I don't like him much, but anyone calling them conservative or Republican better pull their heads out if the actually are stupid enough to stay home in a Hillary or Obama v. McCain Scenario.

Posted by: Bruno at March 19, 2007 12:26 AM


The conventional wisdom is that McCain is in trouble and Rudy's winning. Neither is true.

Posted by: oj at March 19, 2007 6:39 AM

Bruno - From everything I have been reading McCain does not have the most money. Rudy has already raised close to 10 mil Jan thru March and McCain is nowhere close to that amount.

Posted by: BJW at March 19, 2007 9:27 AM

John McCain, formerly the leading Republican presidential contender, has told The Sunday Telegraph that restoring America's sullied reputation abroad will be "a top priority" if he wins the White House....

n a sign that he wants to distance himself from the president - to whom he lost in an ugly campaign in 2000 - Sen McCain outlined a series of measures to roll back Bush policies and counter the "ugly American" image.

"I would immediately close Guantanamo Bay, move all the prisoners to Fort Leavenworth (an army base in Kansas) and truly expedite the judicial proceedings in their cases," he said. "I would reaffirm my commitment to address the issue of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. I know how important this is in Europe in particular."

John Weaver, Sen McCain's chief strategist, confirmed his plans for a markedly more conciliatory foreign policy. "The next president will have to work extra hard to unite our friends and divide our foes. Sadly the opposite has occurred in recent years," he said, as Sen McCain addressed a crowded hall in the farming community of Cedar Falls.

"John believes that you can accomplish a lot more in this world by sticking to your principles, while adopting a much more humble tone with your partners."


Maverick humble???


Why vote for lite when you can vote for the real thing????

I agree, I'll open a vein first.

Posted by: at March 19, 2007 10:14 AM

If I have to, I'll hold my nose and vote for him. Would prefer Giuliani or Thompson.

Posted by: Twn at March 19, 2007 11:15 AM