January 16, 2008


‘Dr. No’ Says Yes for McCain (Susan Davis, 1/16/08, WSJ: Washington Wire)

Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn endorsed Sen. John McCain today, giving the Arizona senator his 12th endorsement from his senatorial colleagues — the most of any Republican running for president. Appearing with McCain in Greenville, S.C., this morning Coburn said he endorsed McCain because of his record as a budget hawk and his record on opposing abortion rights. “Since I came to Congress in 1995, I have met one true reformer — John McCain,” Coburn said in a statement. “He has the unique blend of character, guts, and experience needed to transform Washington from the inside out. He is beholden to no special interest. He is guided by strong conservative principles, and committed to doing what he believes is right without concern for political consequence.”

Coburn is widely respected in fiscal conservative circles for his efforts to curb federal spending and a penchant for bucking Senate tradition and opposing the earmarks, or special projects, tucked into spending bills by his colleagues. Our colleague Sarah Lueck wrote in December about how Coburn, nicknamed “Dr. No,” specializes in stopping stuff.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 16, 2008 5:20 PM

McCain is beholden to two special interests: the mainstream media and his highly polished image as a clean politician.

He championed CFR (the sharpest, most direct assault on the Constitution since the Bricker amendment and the War Powers Act), which for him was a twofer. He curried the favor of the NYT and thumped his mighty chest as Mr. Clean at the same time. His own dalliances with the telecom industry and his backdoor 527s (via Rick Davis, his version of Karl Rove) are kept quiet. His guilt over Charles Keating obviously drives him, but is that a plus or a minus for a President?

All of his attacks against the Republican base are his way of serving these interests as well. It remains to be seen if his fealty to these interests can be overcome (so that he can win the nomination). If Thompson wins SC, McCain suddenly goes from a resurgent maverick to a deflated nag.

And McCain is not easily going to counteract the broad swath of conservatives (beginning with Rush and spreading out) who view his "ascension" as the end of the current Republican party. In 1992, the Left was told to sit down and shut up and vote for Clinton. So he got 43% of the vote and won. Will the same thing happen for McCain? Can he get 60-61 million votes in November? Will the Right sit down and shut up? Will McCain ever criticize a Democrat instead of reflexively attacking Republicans?

It remains to be seen.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 16, 2008 11:47 PM

It's a plus. Recall that W changed his position on CFR because it was so popular. It's a huge benefit to McCain when the whackos whine about him restricting their speech. Normal Americans want them shut up.

Posted by: oj at January 17, 2008 8:33 AM

If campaign finance reform were an issue that average voters cared about, Granny D would be your junior Senator.

CFR was only popular with the media elite, because it gave them privileged status.

The Wisconsin voters who are challenging McCain-Feingold in the Supreme Court are not wackos - they are average citizens who exercised their right of free speech and their right of assembly. Incumbents don't like it when the citizens do that. I'm surprised that a New Hampshireman views it differently.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 17, 2008 5:08 PM