April 28, 2008


As Democrats battle on, McCain running strong: He supports an unpopular war and president. So why is he so popular? (Susan Page, 4/27/08, USA TODAY)

[I]n what seems to be the most promising election for Democrats since 1976 — when the aftermath of the Watergate scandal opened the door for Democrat Jimmy Carter to win the presidency — the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows the presumptive Republican presidential nominee within striking distance of either Illinois Sen. Barack Obama or New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Sen. McCain will not be a pushover in Ohio," cautions Ted Strickland, the Democratic governor of one of the nation's most important battleground states. "It will be a hotly contested race."

At least at the moment, McCain's personal qualities — his stature as a Vietnam war hero, reputation as an independent-minded Republican and persona as a strong leader — are trumping the significant policy disadvantages he faces in pursuing a third consecutive term for the GOP in the White House.

The protracted and increasingly bitter rivalry between Obama and Clinton for the Democratic nomination is a boost for McCain, too.

He has stayed competitive by drawing support from unlikely quarters.

It would have been helpful to pause and consider her own starting point. In 1976, quite possibly the worst candidate ever nominated by a major party -- a sitting president who could barely fend off a primary challenge -- nearly defeated an Evangelical Southern governor anyway. With the exception of the Great Depression and it's immediate aftermath it's a conservative country and the GOP nominee will always have a big advantage in the general. Once you add in the Southwestern Christian's independence and likability and put him up against stock Northern liberals the rest of the scenario writes itself. Indeed, the only way the GOP could have lost this Fall was if it had nominated Mitt or Rudy and the Democrats had nominated Bill Richardson.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2008 7:36 AM

How are remaining commited to winning a war that most Americans want to win and showing loyalty and respect to your President and leader of your party considered "significant policy disadvantages"?

She thinks McCain would do better if he threw Iraq and Bush under the bus?

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at April 28, 2008 10:31 AM

Was Ford really a worse candidate than the non-Clinton disasters the Dems have nominated in the last 40 years?

Posted by: b at April 28, 2008 11:13 AM

he never even made it out of the house of reps

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2008 11:32 AM

Things look good now but November is a long way off.

Those sitting back confident of a 40 state McCain win are getting a bit premature.

Posted by: AWW at April 28, 2008 12:39 PM

I assume we can agree that Obama will be the worst nominee ever?

Posted by: b at April 28, 2008 2:49 PM

Yes, even less accomplished.

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2008 5:59 PM