January 5, 2008


McCain May Benefit From Huckabee’s Jolt to G.O.P. (ADAM NAGOURNEY and CARL HULSE, 1/05/08, NY Times)

Mr. McCain is the latest beneficiary of the continuing upheaval in the Republican field that has seen nearly all of the candidates rising at various points. Among them were Mr. McCain, former Senator Fred D. Thompson of Tennessee and Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York.

Mr. Romney’s defeat in Iowa only underlined concerns that many Republicans had expressed about him, while the success of Mr. Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, gave rise to new worries among the Republican establishment.

“Among the intelligentsia of the party, there is definitely a deep concern about Huckabee getting the nomination because a lot of them think he can’t win,” said John Feehery, a former senior House Republican aide and party operative. “Part of it is self-interested panic since they have their own horses in the race, and none of them are riding Huckabee.”

Mr. McCain, then — after a year in which his campaign nearly collapsed, the Iraq war and a controversial immigration bill eroded his popularity, and he was forced to continue his candidacy on a bare-bones budget — may be in the right place at the right time.

The very fact that Mr. McCain is hated by the ideologues of various stripes is the reason he's the ideal heir to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush: he's a professional pol, so he's made compromises; he's religious, but not religious enough; he's conservative, but not conservative enough; he's a free-marketeer, but not marketee enough; he's a national Republican leader, but Democrats don't despise him enough; etc.. Once all the extremists get over the fact that the candidate they made up in their heads doesn't exist, Maverick becomes a reasonable default.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 5, 2008 8:56 AM

Good lord, OJ - you are sounding like the NYT editorial board - "McCain is our favorite Republican because he doesn't follow any Republican ideals" is not a winning formula for the GOP in November. You keep posting these love letters to McCain from liberal newspapers - they would love to have McCain be the nominee because he pushes ideas they like (anti-tax cut, pro-unlimited immigration, pro-Global warming treaty) or they figure he is one snarky comment/looking old against Obama from losing the nomination. In November conservatives will stay home, independents will flock to Obama, and the GOP will be pounded.

Posted by: AWW at January 5, 2008 2:12 PM

He's certainly qualified to be President, since he was a POW in Vietnam.

However, unless he is firmly and explicitly loyal to conservative principles, and to conservative allies he will end up being a raging liberal in short order.

Posted by: h-man at January 5, 2008 4:27 PM

Reagan wasn't loyal to those principles, why would a Reaganite be?

Posted by: oj at January 5, 2008 7:25 PM