Skip to comments.John McCain: The Democrats' 'Favorite Republican'?
Posted on 05/28/2005 1:32:29 PM PDT by echoBoomer
Craig Crawford's 1600: The Lone Arranger.
Democrats are wrong to think that John McCain is their favorite Republican. The Arizona senator could be their worst nightmare in 2008. By leading his colleagues from the brink of disaster in the Senate filibuster debate, McCain proved to be at the top of his game and, for now, hes standing almost alone as a nationally known leader with the instinct and skill for commanding the politically profitable middle ground.
Rather than pander to his partys activist ideologues in the bid to silence minority voices on judicial nominees, McCain helped forge a coalition of Republicans and Democrats to muzzle, at least momentarily, the left and right wings of both parties.
This is what John McCain has always done, said Paul Alexander, author of Man of the People, a 2003 biography of McCain. He genuinely believes in finding the political center on any issue. Thats why he is so popular with so many Americans.
The social conservatives who dominate pivotal Republican presidential primaries now despise McCain more than ever, thanks to his high-profile thwarting of their drive to shut off debate on President Bushs judicial picks. Conservative firebrand Pat Buchanan called McCain a sellout.
But to broaden its base and entrench its power further, the Republican Party can no longer remain addicted to the extremist agenda of social conservatives, whose growing influence threatens to repel general election voters. McCain could be the political Houdini his party needs to make this difficult transition.
McCains appeal to independents and to moderates in both parties poses as much of a danger to Democrats as it does to his own partys right wing. It will be no easy task for him to change the dynamic of GOP primaries and win the nomination. But he is clearly aiming to try and, if he succeeds, Democrats could be on the losing end of yet another presidential election. If they nominate someone perceived as too liberal, such as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, social conservatives would have no one to vote for. Sure, they might stay home on Election Day, but McCain has the potential to make up the difference with his almost unparalleled appeal to centrist voters.
Will McCain run? I think I can wait a couple of years and then decide, McCain told radio host Don Imus on May 26. Theres no reason to make that decision for a couple of years.
That means yes according to the Washington art of non-denial denials. Indeed, a recent New Yorker magazine profile concluded that McCain is running.
While McCain is heralded as the big winner among 2008 GOP possibles in the filibuster showdown, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is widely viewed as the big loser. The Tennessean hoped to lay claim to the conservative mantle by delighting evangelical Christians with a maneuver that smoothed the way for pro-life jurists. Instead, he got neutered by the gang of 14 that cut their deal in McCains office. Conservative Hits
Frists debacle probably ended his play for the hearts of social conservatives, seriously hampering his White House aspirations even at this early, but critical, stage of the next race when consultants, junkies and pundits of all stripes are already handicapping the field and, in some cases, quietly making commitments to a candidate.
How odd that the driving force of GOP presidential politics, the social conservatives, have no obvious horse to ride. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania would like to be their choice, but he let Frist take the lead and the hit in pursuing a filibuster ban.
Amazingly, only Republican moderates such as McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani are fueling the Republican buzz machine. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is angling to join the field of moderate hopefuls, but for reasons that arent yet clear, he did not seize the opportunity in the filibuster debate to move out of McCains shadow as a leading GOP maverick.
The conservative leadership vacuum allows McCain to dominate this beginning phase of the race. (While Giuliani earned credentials as a national hero after Sept. 11, he lacks the high-profile platform that McCain enjoys in the Senate.) Democrats should not be too gleeful about the disarray among conservatives, however. If moderates such as McCain rise, the GOP could move much further down the road toward the permanent majority that Bushs political architect, Karl Rove, has so often predicted. So it might even have been better politically for Democrats had Frist been able to push his filibuster gambit and win it. Letting Bush pack the courts with arch-conservatives would play well into the Democratic 2008 strategy of portraying the GOP as under the thumbs of wackos.
But how can Democrats pursue that labeling if no one like Frist can emerge as the poster child for right wingers? Let McCain become the national face of the Republican Party and the Democrats extremist attack has no punch at all.
Contributing Editor Craig Crawford is a news analyst for MSNBC, CNBC and The Early Show on CBS. He can be reached at email@example.com.
He is NO, I repeat, NO republican.
What a total load of crap. I don't know a single Republican that would waste a vote on him.
**By leading his colleagues from the brink of disaster in the Senate filibuster debate**
This is where I stopped reading.
"...the Republican Party can no longer remain addicted to the extremist agenda of social conservatives, whose growing influence threatens to repel general election voters."
D'oh! So that's why we keep losing elections! Golly! If only we had run Marshmallow McCain in 2000 there would be a Republican in the White House today.
Read some of these threads and take a look at the new poll here on FR...
What is this guy smoking? If the two candidates in 2008 are hillary and John McManiac, I probably won't be able to get myself to vote. This is not a guy who can be trusted with his finger on the nuclear trigger. He should be in a padded cell.
LOL - you made it futher than I. I only read the title. lol
Yeah, why not McCain/Chaffee? Wouldn't it be just brilliant? Or McCain/Arnold? Or Snowe/Collins? Or Specter/Bloomberg?
How about a better headine?
John McCain, the Republicans Least Favorite Democrat
Or maybe even better the Republicans should nominate David Souter as their presidential candidate (they once nominated Earl Warren as a candidate for vice-president, now didn't they), I'm sure many "moderates" would appreciate that...
That would be fine but I nevertheless think that Fat Ted deserves the title :-).
Have you seen crawford on TV?
He looks and sound like howdy doody. Further, his insight into Republican politics is nonexistant and is filtered through the typical MSM viewpoint. I noticed this piece of nonsense:
"But to broaden its base and entrench its power further, the Republican Party can no longer remain addicted to the extremist agenda of social conservatives, whose growing influence threatens to repel general election voters"
That this clown likes McCrazy is just one more reason to be against him.
McCain and the gang of seven saved the Republican Party from itself. That is why President Bush has been praising their efforts.
If anyone thinks that the Republican Party will stay in control of the US Senate for ever, they have no clue as to American political historical precedent. Over the short term, perhaps the compromise was a loss, but over the long term, think of a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate majority and NO, repeat NO recourse for the Republican minority to stop the lifetime appointment of left wing, not liberal judges to the federal judiciary or Supreme Court. The mere presence of the filibuster option keeps judicial appointments more toward the center.
He's right up there with Warner.
The assumption seems to be that the center of political gravity loves activist courts, that "resolve" divisive social issues by judicial fiat.
He's an idiot, and he plays one on TV!!!
McCain's an a-hole's... a-hole.
OK, I read the FR poll. Support for McCain as a presidential candidate is in low single digits.
If the compromise results in a rare use of the filibuster on federal judges going foward than Mccain has a chance.
If the Democrats keep it up however, and Mccain doesn't back a new effort to stop them, Mccain can absolutetly forget about it.
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