May 18, 2008


Maverick to the rescue (JONATHAN MARTIN, 5/18/08, Politico)

In a delicious piece of irony, many dispirited Republicans, devastated by Tuesday’s special election loss in Mississippi, now believe their savior to be John McCain — a not-so-constant conservative many of them also have long intensely disliked.

The logic: McCain, the vaunted maverick, can move the party away from President Bush and reinvent a Republican brand that, at the moment, is in tatters.

“The public is prepared to believe that McCain is a different kind of Republican,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Donatelli, McCain’s point man at the committee. “This is not some political idea that was cooked up.”

The even greater irony here is that Maverick has to run on W's politics. He'll win by putting a more popular face on the Third Way/Compassionate Conservatism.

Note that in the following story, GOP struggles to reinvent without losing itself: The party agrees it must change or face catastrophe in November. But that's about all members can agree on (Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten, 5/18/08, Los Angeles Times)

The bad news has come from Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi -- a string of unexpected Republican defeats in congressional elections that have prompted GOP leaders to say, with candor unusual in politics, that the party is facing an outright catastrophe this November.

Increasingly, top Republicans are calling on their party to reinvent itself or risk driving away more voters and donors. [...]

A senior advisor to the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, John McCain, was on hand along with the Republican Party's national chairman to make the case for McCain's brand of Republicanism.

McCain's approach -- tough on taxes, but receptive to immigrants and committed to easing global warming -- could help paint the GOP in new colors, more attractive to independent voters, Latinos and women. Some GOP leaders now say that by embracing McCain and his policy platform, Republicans would instantly "rebrand" and reinvigorate their party.

Mr. McCain inherits the general hostility to taxes and an opportunity to shift to consumption taxes under the Soccer Mom-friendly guise of fighting global warming. Meanwhile, he just needs to be more explicit about how open immigration imports Christian social conservatives and, thereby, swells the Red base, which he'll get to demonstrate at the polls in November.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 18, 2008 7:08 AM

That's it exactly. Our side deserves to win just because we have been so crafty, and the opposition so obtuse, in the setting up of the McCain maskirovska.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 18, 2008 8:24 AM

Love your optimism but I fear it is whistling past the graveyard. Absent revelations that Obama is a closet Muslim, has burned an American flag, and has fathered a bunch of illegitimate children (and maybe not even then) it is simply the wrong year to be a Republican.

Posted by: curt at May 18, 2008 8:40 AM

Lost in all of this analysis is the fact that the Soros-funded efforts have registered and initiated 10s of 1000s in a collectivist message while the right was still funding stale 501(c)3 think tanks and their dainty anniversery dinners and "policy study" coming out cocktail parties.

The losses in these districts reflect combination of a damaged brand AND an unpopular President AND more palatable Democrats (part good, but also bad in that the party leadership is empowered) and 3-5 years of solid Alinski-ite organizing on the part of organizations like MoveOn.

We joke about these "far left" organization at our peril. Every voter they register brings them closer to the new "Center" they are creating.

Google "the Overton window". They are stealing our ideas. Why not? We aren't using them.

Posted by: Bruno at May 18, 2008 9:04 AM

So were '88, '92 and '00, but it's a conservative country. The Right gets more votes.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2008 9:23 AM

Perhaps it is whistling past the graveyard; however, if anyone can win in the GPO in 2008 it is McCain because of his wider appeal as a maverick. On the flip side, I really think the Democrats blew it by offering up a liberal black inexperienced senator.

I think there is a significant number of white Americans (including equal numbers of D's, R's & I's) that will not vote for Obama because he is black AND very liberal. I think this is more than equal to the number of black Americans that will vote for him because he is black.

With Congress, I think the R's are going to lose many more seats. I think Americans like divided government and 2000, 2002 and 2004 were different because of 9/11.

Posted by: pchuck at May 18, 2008 11:09 AM

Ask President Romney what money buys you.

Posted by: oj at May 18, 2008 12:07 PM

Oops. I amend my statement that the elections of 2000, 2002 and 2004 were different because of 9/11. I meant 2002 and 2204 were different because of 9/11.

I think 2000 was strange because Al Gore ran such a bad campaign AND Bush ran a rather smart campaign.

Posted by: pchuck at May 18, 2008 1:06 PM

Oops! I amend my statement that 2000, 2002 & 2004 were influenced by 9/11. Obviously the 2000 election was not.

Posted by: pchuck at May 18, 2008 1:10 PM

Curt may be right...The rule of PC, plus white guilt, fear of black backlash, add McCain's tactics against a slick opponent...see link

Posted by: RC at May 18, 2008 3:37 PM