May 21, 2008


John McCain's GOP converts (JOHN FEEHERY, 5/21/08, Politico)

McCain’s maverick image was crafted in those early years of the Bush administration, when the senator clashed repeatedly with the House Republican leadership and, occasionally, with Bush. In the view of House Republican leaders, McCain was all too willing to team with Democrats in both the House and the Senate to stick it to them.

But all of the House Republican leaders from that period — Hastert, Majority Leaders Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, and Rep. Thomas Reynolds — have departed the stage or are about to leave, while McCain is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. And McCain has done his part to mend fences with most House Republicans. He was right on the Iraq war, being the first to complain about the incompetence of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the need to increase our presence in Iraq.

He has come out strongly against tax increases, enough to earn the endorsement of Grover Norquist. And looking back now, McCain was right on some of the issues on which he clashed with House Republicans. He was right in his instincts to be more bipartisan. McCain was right to want to reform earmarks. He was right about the political potency of climate change. He was right to call for more intense oversight. He was right to team up with Lieberman, who has turned out to be a true patriot who cares intensely about protecting this country from terrorism.

Now McCain finds himself in an interesting position, as savior of the Grand Old Party, and House Republicans in particular, amid the doldrums of three straight special election losses in former party strongholds (including Hastert’s old Illinois district).

Historical irony being what it is, a new crop of House Republican leaders are now trying to tie their fortunes to McCain.

Rather than "historical irony": you could just say history.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 21, 2008 7:27 AM
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