May 7, 2002

THAT THREAD'S A MITE FRAYED :

Democrats' daring: to dream of McCain (David M. Shribman, 5/7/2002, Boston Globe)
McCain wouldn't be the first conservative to consort with liberals; Winston Churchill, not an unappealing model to McCain, was a Tory, then a Liberal, and then a Tory again. And this wouldn't be the first time McCain thought about straying across the party line. Indeed, he almost did it last spring, when the Senate was deadlocked 50-50. He negotiated with top Democrats, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. But then Senator James M. Jeffords of Vermont left the GOP to become an Independent, the Democrats took power, and the lure of changing parties disappeared for McCain. He wasn't going to do it unless his gesture would swing power in the Senate chamber.

This spring he's been clinging to what one of his closest advisers calls ''the last thread'' that connects him with the Republican Party, his identification with Theodore Roosevelt. In retirement, McCain's hero did his best to make sure a Republican predecessor (and his handpicked successor), William Howard Taft, was defeated by a Democrat in 1912.


That has to be one of the more peculiar formulations you'll run across--that what ties John McCain to the GOP is his identification with TR, who in a fit of megalomaniacal pique quite intentionally gave us the disastrous Woodrow Wilson. Is McCain really only staying a Republican so that he can exact his own revenge on George W. Bush in '04? Mr. Shribman's essay, with its portrait of McCain only wanting to switch parties if he'd get the credit for changing the balance of power in the Senate, certainly leads one to believe that the Senator's ego is precisely that monstrous. But in what sense is this a connection, other than the sense in which a malignant tumor connects to a vital organ? Posted by Orrin Judd at May 7, 2002 11:55 AM
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