Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 20, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE REAL JOHN McCAIN....Mark Schmitt adds his two cents to the argument over whether John McCain is "really" a liberal or a conservative or a maverick or whatnot, and not surprisingly, comes up with exactly the right answer: namely that we're asking the wrong question.

I dont like the whole mode of analysis that assumes a politician has some "real" core of beliefs and then various positions he or she takes are either "real" or "political." That whole analysis is based on the cult of authenticity of which McCain, and to a lesser extent Bush, have been the greatest beneficiaries....But as McCain demonstrates, authenticity is itself a pose, one he adopted and has now discarded.

McCains latest move is necessary, if he wants to be president, but its awfully daring. Live by the cult of authenticity, perish by the cult of authenticity....I assume that McCain's gamble is that he has so strongly established the "straight-talk express" brand with the general electorate that he can perform the ritual obsequies of the Republican nominating process and still emerge with his reputation intact. But he can't. [There are] too many Republican activists who simply aren't going to stomach his nomination, and he can't spend two years in his current mode and expect the independent moderate voters in New Hampshire and elsewhere to remember what they kind of liked about him for a period in 2000.

It's obvious that McCain is a conservative, but it's also obvious that he really does have a few views that don't fit current Republican orthodoxy views that have gotten him way more mileage than he deserves for being a "maverick." Still, he is what he is, and endless hairsplitting over what word to apply to him has rapidly diminishing returns.

But Mark is right about the "cult of authenticity." That's been McCain's real bread and butter, and it's tiresome. McCain is no more a straight talker than George Bush, but both are terrific at manipulating our supposedly cynical and world weary media into thinking they're straight talkers. My fervent wish is that McCain's recent pandering to Jerry Falwell will at least disabuse them of this notion and finally earn him the coverage he deserves: that of an ambitious politician willing to work with whatever interest groups it takes to get him elected president. That's the real McCain.

Kevin Drum 12:54 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (75)

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Comments

But... Clinton is a LIBERAL. "Lie"beral. Bad, bad. Let's use the word "bitch" with abandon. Would you want the Taliban deciding who gets the fresh fruit at your local market? I think not.

Posted by: IOKIYAR on April 20, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Once you can fake authenticity, you've got it made.

Posted by: craigie on April 20, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, craigie, but the idea there is that you're supposed to continue faking authenticity. McCain's problem is that after faking authenticity for a few years, he's giving up on it entirely and hoping that people will remember him as he appeared to be years ago rather than as he is now.

Posted by: KCinDC on April 20, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Since the spring of 2004, when McCain was transmuted
from 'maverick' to 'steer' by unequivocally campaigning for Bush, he has demonstrated his
Faustian nature.

Ironically, the apparent deal he struck with GWB,
that for near-complete capitulation to then
popular Bush, will result in the loss of voter
support from the very base he succored these
many years. Including mine.

Posted by: Semanticleo on April 20, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

My fervent wish is that McCain's recent pandering to Jerry Falwell will at least disabuse them of this notion and finally earn him the coverage he deserves: that of an ambitious politician willing to work with whatever interest groups it takes to get him elected president. That's the real McCain.

Is there any politician anywhere in any party that has ever been elected to any office that doesn't know that there are key interest groups that need sucking up to? Kerry going to black churches? Bush speaking espanol? Appearing at whatever that college was in SC? Politicians posting on Daily Kos? Hellloooo...earth to WashingtonMonthly. I am sure that even Sistah Souljah moments are calculated risks.

Bashing McCain by the left probably helps give him the street cred needed with the right wing (but probably won't be enough). He needs that or he'll never get nominated. A few Sistah Souljahs can help not chase away the center.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 20, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

[There are] too many Republican activists who simply aren't going to stomach his nomination,

WTF world has this guy been living in? conservatism is without a doubt much less motivating than Republicanism, to Republican activists.

if it wasn't, you wouldn't see them defending the conservativelly-indefensible Bush.

all the old gripes about McCain will suddenly vanish, as soon as he gets the nod.

Posted by: cleek on April 20, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

he's giving up on it entirely and hoping that people will remember him as he appeared to be years ago rather than as he is now.

Funny, I get the same impression of George W. Bush's so-called "leadership."

Posted by: Gregory on April 20, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think liberals tend to underfalue the power of style. There is a significant segment of the voting public that will believe that McCain is a sincere straight-shooter because he LOOKS like one and SEEMS to be one, seeing being believing. All the discussing of his stand on thisor that issue will not influence their opinions.

Posted by: lily on April 20, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

lily is right. For lots and lots of people - maybe all of us - voting is more emotional than rational. Repubs understand this better than Dems. That's one reason they can be more two-faced and get away with it. The other reasons are Fox News, the NYT, Joe Klein,...

Posted by: craigie on April 20, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

IMHO, McCain was pretty much true to his "straight-talk express" brand until he endorsed Bush in June 2004, at which time he turned into a total Bush suck-up, and has subsequently turned into a broad-spectrum GOP suckup, sucking up to both Bush's Big Business backers and the 'Christian' Right crowd.

His approach has been to do as much of this as possible under the radar, so he could preserve the full value of his straight-talk brand, and until the Falwell thing, it seemed to be working.

(Of all the 'Christian' right loonies he might've sucked up to, I have no idea why he picked Falwell. For one, Falwell's long been revealed as a total nutcase, having accused President Clinton of having had several people killed in furtherance of his political career; for another, Falwell was yesterday's news fifteen years ago, having been eclipsed by Robertson, who's been eclipsed in turn by James Dobson. Why McCain didn't snuggle up to Dobson instead, I'll never understand.)

There's really three interlocked questions with respect to McCain. One is, who are the big money boys in the GOP going to line up behind? At this point, the choices have really been winnowed down to McCain and George Allen, and recent reports have suggested that McCain's getting the upper hand.

The GOP doesn't so much have a nomination fight as an anointment followed by a set of primaries that the anointed one wins. Obviously, the anointers have to be satisfied that the anointed one has managed to quell the doubts, if any, of the Christian Right voters, which brings us to the second question: how's McCain doing with them?

The answer is, probably pretty well. If the folks in the pews don't hear anything bad about McCain in 2006 from the Dobsons and Robertsons of the world, and get a steady supply of good hints about him from those sources in 2007, then they'll OK him in 2008.

Finally, there's the question of whether the press will continue to help McCain sell the Straight Talk brand to moderates for the next two years, while McCain sells a somewhat different brand to the fundies. Given what we've seen of the press over the past several years, I can't see why not. Can you?

Posted by: RT on April 20, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I think you capture the reason for McCain's broadest appeal - the perception of authenticity.

The phrase "Cult of Athenticity" is a useful rhetorical phrase as long as you acknowledge that its a bit of hyperbole.

McCain is conservative.
McCain is a LOT more authentic than say George W. Bush (No that is not saying much).
McCain isnt anywhere near as much a maverick as short hand takes appear to suggest.

I suspect that McCain supporters who are not right wing who continue to support McCain will see his latest moves as being not as much showing his lack of authenticity but merely playing the game. (I.e. he is just trying to fool the right wingers that he needs some of to get the nomination, but not people like me). Of course, that is an extremely difficult game to play. He may be able to pull it off though I doubt it.

Posted by: Catch22 on April 20, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Once you can fake authenticity, you've got it made."

Let's hope he is more skilled at it than this guy.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on April 20, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

lily is correct. Especially since both parties have carved up the electorate so cleanly. The 10% left in the "center" who don't pay much attention to politics (if they did pay attention they would not be in the "center" -- the "center" being not some actual state of beliefs but merely what is left over) vote by feel.

Its really the only rational explaination as to why Gore and Kerry lost. Kerry, in particular, would have had it made had his personality been a bit more like McCain's.

Posted by: hank on April 20, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Totally off topic, but this off the BBC News site:

"Earlier, in a protocol gaffe, when China's national anthem was announced, it was referred to as the anthem of the Republic of China - the formal name of Taiwan. China's formal name is the People's Republic of China."

Posted by: kostya on April 20, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike,

Was there ever a period of time when Kerry didn't embrace black churchs?

McCain eschewed Falwell before and now he's thinks he's peachy keen.


We're talking about some major hypocracy here.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 20, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

False equivalency. McCain is MUCH MORE of a straight talker than Bush, although not as much of a straight talker as he gets credit for.

Posted by: RM on April 20, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just going to get this out of the way so we can be done with it. McCain is too ugly and too old to be President. I'm not say it's right, but it's true. His injuries are going to make him look silly and weak while he travels around trying to look casual and excited with rolled up sleeves.

He's short, pudgy and ugly. Unless the press plays defense for McCain, there are going to be tons of images of him looking un-presidential, at least on a superficial level.

Posted by: enozinho on April 20, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

What's the relapse risk for melanoma?

Posted by: The Liberal Pat Robertson on April 20, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

*he's giving up on it entirely and hoping that people will remember him as he appeared to be years ago rather than as he is now.*

And as darkness is more accurately the 'absense of light', McCain's 'maverick' appeal was more accurately his unwillingness to march lockstep with the GOP on everything. Good cross-over appeal in 2000.

But now that our nation is much more firmly divided, this aura does not carry the same appeal. Just as well, since McCain himself has abandoned it.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on April 20, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I got a letter from John McCain this week. Now, I'm not on ANY mailing list that Republicans normally use, so I have to think he was using lists that came from environmental or liberal sources. The letter was asking support for the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, and it started out by saying (I'm doing this from memory) that global warming is a serious threat and we have to do something about it. So the first thing I wondered was, is he writing this to Republicans and conservative lists, too? My guess is no, that he sponsored the bill, and sent the mailing to liberals and environmentalists to position himself as a moderate and an environmentalist for a Presidential bid -- at the same time that he's sidling up to the fundies for the same reason.

Anybody else get this letter? Or is it just in Iowa that he's angling for Democratic support?

I think it's good that he embraces the need to deal with global warming, and I want EVERYONE to know it. But at this point it's hard to trust his motives on anything.

Posted by: Peter A on April 20, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

"McCain's problem is that after faking authenticity for a few years, he's giving up on it entirely and hoping that people will remember him as he appeared to be years ago rather than as he is now."

Well, given the attention span of the US public, that is probably not a bad strategy. "Oh yeah, McCain, that's that maverick Republican guy from... some Southwestern state, I think. Yeah, I like him, he'd be a good president." So long as the press is willing to go along with it, that could be a winning strategy.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on April 20, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

There is a significant segment of the voting public that will believe that McCain is a sincere straight-shooter because he LOOKS like one and SEEMS to be one, seeing being believing.

that's aided to no small degree by the media's absolute adoration of him. they've been head-over-heels for him since '99 - everything from John Stewart's fawning, to A&E's velvet-gloved Biography, to the feel-good movie adaptation of his time as a POW. and, as we should all know, it'll take more than inconvenient facts to get the media over this crush.

Posted by: cleek on April 20, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

McCain?

One of the Keating five?

Censured by the Senate?

Say what?

Talk straight to me baby... talk straight.

Posted by: koreyel on April 20, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

McCain blew whatever credibility he had with the all important independant scene once he started hugging Bush, but the Falwell butt kissing took that to a new level.

Half the GOP doesn't care for him either way, and sooner or later on his campaign trail his temper and arrogance will get him in some controversy that will sink him.

Posted by: Plastic Turkey on April 20, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just going to get this out of the way so we can be done with it. McCain is too ugly and too old to be President.

I said this about Bill Richardson, minus the "old" part, and was lambasted from here to Tulsa. I didn't say I care what the guy looks like. I said a lot of people will. And so they will.

However, I don't think most people find McCain ugly. Which is why we need to plaster that photo of him hugging a disdainful Smirky on every flat surface in the country. Then they will.

Posted by: shortstop on April 20, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

McCain does not have enough energy left for a 2008 presidential run. Certainly not enough to do the high-powered maverick bit again. Look at him -- watch McCain in interviews. He's not the same person he was 6 years ago.

Posted by: PapaJijo on April 20, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Much of the left's and the media's confusion on McCain is that they want to support him when he's useful as a tool against the administration, but then he slides over to support a conservative or administration position, and the usual "Against Bush ====> Our Hero" mantra doesn't work any more.

All that's left for them then is actual objective analysis of the various political positions, and that generally creates a mental melt-down.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 20, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Some say Senator McCain is selling his soul in order to run in 2008. He actually decided to sell his soul during the 2000 race, when he decided he loved the attention the media gave him more than actually being president

Posted by: KStan on April 20, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Much of Tom Brosz' confusion on Bush is that he wants to support him when he's useful as a tax-cutting fool, but then Bush simultaneously spends like a drunken sailor and stomps on civil liberties, and the usual "Dems are the real high-spending busybodies" mantra doesn't work any more.

All that's left for him then is actual objective analysis of Bush's actual political positions and actions, and that invariably creates silence or misdirection as Tom's only options.

Posted by: shortstop on April 20, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

"All that's left for them then is actual objective analysis of the various political positions, and that generally creates a mental melt-down."

That is Pulitzer level writing. Look out Tom Friedman.

How is it you haven't been discovered yet?

Posted by: HeavyJ on April 20, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

McCain can't give a straight answer on the Social Security issue. First, he lies to his own Arizona voters as to its solvency and when called on his lies - he has his staff send an accurate letter that completely contradicts his stump speech. McCain also can't give a straight answer on tax rates. Then again - this is the same fellow who 1st asked Bush to stop the SwiftBoat lies and when Bush refused to do so, McCain campaigns for him. I'm beginning to think that George W. Bush has more integrity than John McCain even if Bush's integrity score is next to zero.

Posted by: pgl on April 20, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK


Taking huge amounts of Keating money.

Campaigning for/French Kissing Bush after Bush disembowled him with lies in S.C.

Aquiescing to having his torture bill castrated.

Kowtowing to Falwell.

What's there to like again?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 20, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

However, I don't think most people find McCain ugly.

Shortstop, like you, I don't really care about his looks, but for some reason it matters. McCain looks good in a suit on Meet the Press. But he's pasty and short and he won't look good without the narrow frame of a tv interview setting.

I think it's something we'll know rather quickly. Just like we knew Dean would never be president once we saw his wife.

Posted by: enozinho on April 20, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, find that picture! Share.

Posted by: Gaia on April 20, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm... if you restrict the search to politicians who *aren't* ugly and old, the field narrows up very quickly...

Posted by: MJ Memphis on April 20, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's obvious that McCain is a conservative, . . .

Given his craven need to appease whoever he thinks holds the reins of power (witness his sucking up to Bush in both 2000 and 2004), the only thing obvious about McCain is that, first and foremost, he's a politician. What his "core values" are is really anyone's guess.

Posted by: Jeff II on April 20, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop nailed it.

No, really.

What?

Posted by: S Ra on April 20, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Who else does the GOP have right now? Bill Frist was supposed to be the man, but he self-destructed. The other names out there lack name recognition and appeal to nobody beyond their narrow base. Right now, it looks like the Republican nomination is McCain's by default. Despite his shortcomings, McCain has widespread name recognition, and the media likes him.

McCain's biggest strength with the Republicans I know is that they see America as a nation at war, and McCain with his military experience impresses them as someone who would know how to run a war the right way. Also, the fundies in these parts believe that McCain is one of their own. A lot of it seems to go back to what has been said upthread - that, in this day of image manipulation, as long as you look like a straight talker, and act like a straight talker, what you actually say and do is of little importance.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 20, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, find that picture! Share.

Come on people, show a little initiative. This took one click on google.

Posted by: craigie on April 20, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

McCain has taken some rather controversial positions(campaign finance, immigration, cutting a deal on Judges, ect) and I think he deserves respect for that as a genuine moderate. He's been willing to buck his party in the past, and I'm sure he will in the future.
As a social conservative, I fear his potential to upset our gains (& worry about his supreme picks).

But the tone of this article is off a bit.
too many Republican activists who simply aren't going to stomach his nomination
Hell, I'm voting for him. Social conservatives are going to need to be reassured, sure. But McCain has the voting record to prove it. I think there were better ways to enhance his bona fides without kissing Falwell (spent force).

Conservatives like to win. If his only real challenges on the right are Brownback & Allen. look for the party to not only support him grudgingly, but enthusiastically!!
The so called religious-right has waited to long for to little. They know that when your guy is in office you get most of what you want most of the time.

Im excited about McCain!!!
(disagree?)

Posted by: Fitz on April 20, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Come on people, show a little initiative.

Hehe, that picture is gross.

Is the slogan "Corruption through Osmosis" too sciency for the fundies?

Posted by: enozinho on April 20, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Every time I feel like eating or having sex, I just look at that photo. An hour later, I've finished vomiting and violently shuddering.

Posted by: shortstop on April 20, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

How dare you bring up food and sex in a thread about John McCain and George Bush! Eeewwww!

Posted by: craigie on April 20, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

How dare you bring up food and sex in a thread about John McCain and George Bush! Eeewwww!

Oh, you were thinking about both of them anyway. Food and sex, I mean--not George and John. I hope.

Posted by: shortstop on April 20, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

"My fervent wish is that McCain's recent pandering to Jerry Falwell will at least disabuse them of this notion and finally earn him the coverage he deserves: that of an ambitious politician willing to work with whatever interest groups it takes to get him elected president. That's the real McCain."

Reminds me of the old adage about Hollywood: beneath all the false tinsel is the real tinsel.

I think the media honeymoon is almost over. Timmy really grilled McCain--over Falwell, over taxes--and McCain got visibly testy. The ole' Straight Talker can't really defend himself too well when asked about his changes in position.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 20, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

psst, they're listening!

http://www.washtimes.com/national/20060418-110124-3694r.htm


"A lot of blogs now have become very big on the Internet, and we're getting a lot of rich information on blogs that are telling us a lot about social perspectives and everything from what the general feeling is to ... people putting information on there that doesn't exist anywhere else," Mr. Naquin told The Washington Times. . . .
"I can't get into detail of what, but I'll just say the amount of open source reporting that goes into the president's daily brief has gone up rather significantly," Mr. Jardines said. "There has been a real interest at the highest levels of our government, and we've been able to consistently deliver products that are on par with the rest of the intelligence community." . . .
The OSC uses powerful computers and software technology to "sift" the Internet for valuable intelligence. It also buys information from commercial databases.
In the past, open-source reports were used mainly by intelligence analysts.
"But now our customer base literally ranges from the president to local police departments," Mr. Naquin said. The Fairfax County police use OSC products, as do police departments in San Diego, New York and Baltimore. The center also provides support to the U.S. military.

Posted by: cld on April 20, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Every time I feel like eating or having sex, I just look at that photo. An hour later, I've finished vomiting and violently shuddering. Posted by: shortstop

So, that's what my pattner, Pat, mean when talking about "cumming."

Posted by: Al on April 20, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Who else does the GOP have right now?

I prophetize Sen. Brownback winning the Republican nomination in 2008.

Posted by: The Reverend Hostile on April 20, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Why McCain didn't snuggle up to Dobson instead, I'll never understand.

Absolutely. I find Dobson's brand of theocratic nuttiness, especially his ingenious ability to reveal the insidious homosexual influence of Spongebob Squarepants, much more credible than Falwell's oh-so-ordinary Christofascism.

Posted by: mr. ziffel on April 20, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

mr. ziffel

Huh? Do you have any idea what an empire that "nut" Dobson has? How many people he influences?
Even Falwell has his own University!

What have you done?

Posted by: Fitz on April 20, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Huh? Do you have any idea what an empire that "nut" Dobson has? How many people he influences?

Of course I do. It says a lot about the state of our nation's culture and it's a goddamn shame.

Even Falwell has his own University!

...where they teach Intelligent Design 101 and End Times Theology 666.

What have you done?

I start by thinking for myself, but what's that got to do with McCain cozying up to the religious right?

Posted by: mr. ziffel on April 20, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Is this the picture shortstop was talking about?

http://www.thehollywoodliberal.com/mccain_hugs_bush.jpg

Posted by: fembot on April 20, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

There isn't a real John McCain. He has matured as a politician beyond that stage.

Posted by: Myron on April 20, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"There isn't a real John McCain. He has matured as a politician beyond that stage."

QFT

If McCain becomes President, he will have done it without my vote because I've lost all faith in him. He is a Republican, now. One of the inner circle, and as such, I see nothing outstanding about him other than the comparison to who he use to be.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on April 20, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is at best an opportunist. He passed on his only opportunity to become president by spurning the offer to be vice-president on the Kerry ticket.

Posted by: DonQuixote on April 20, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I see Sam Brownback as pursuing the fundametalist vote so hard that he risks turning off everybody else within the GOP coalition. Although there will probably be a significant challenge mounted by Brownback or somebody like him pursuing a nativist/Christianist platform, I just don't think you can win the GOP nomination without appealing to the country club Republicans who still control the purse strings. (Even Charles Koch can't fund a Presidential campaign by himself.) Those people are almost as scared of the Brownbacks and Tancredos as we are. George W. Bush's real secret is that he's as comfortable in a corporate boardroom as he is at a pig roast.

Or at least I hope. Put it this way: if the fundies can put somebody in the White House with no help from anybody else, then it really is all over.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 20, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

The last word on whether to vote for McCain or not, via Ezra klein:

"McCain will drift toward the path of popularity and success. Were this the 1980s, and he were facing a Democratic Congress, he might be a safe bet on the strength of his lets-make-a-deal instincts. But there is no Democratic Congress. No Democratic House, no Democratic Senate. So McCain will be hemmed in by his right flank, a position he's currently proving himself perfectly comfortable in. In that context, there is no promise of his liberalism, and no check against his conservatism. And that's not a state of affairs I feel comfortable giving one ounce of support to."

Posted by: brewmn on April 20, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ill tell you guys something. You may know democratic base politics, but you dont know Republican politics worth a damn.

#1. McCain is a Conservative, (always was) the right just gets upset because hes a media darling and a maverick sometimes.

#2. Lots of Country Club Republicans ARE (what you call) Fundies.
{except Episcopalians} If you consider issues like abortion & gay marriage the province of some far right wing religious sect, then no wonder you cant win an election.

#3. Looks like you guys are going to have to run against McCain:)

Posted by: Fitz on April 20, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

"#3. Looks like you guys are going to have to run against McCain:)"

Fitz,
I am a former Republican, so I know as much, if not more than you.
McCain has yet to clear the hurdles for his bid, he's making strides, but that was thought of him too back in 2000.
There is still the litmus tests he must go through, which he may or may not pass. I think he'll pass. But if he does run, I will not vote for him.
If he does win, I hope he is a far better president than the current occupant.
And if he does a better job than what I thought he'd do, then I will admit that too.
But I still won't vote for him.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on April 20, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm... I wonder if Robertson and Falwell have forgotten McCain's remarks about them during the '00 election. Didn't he compare them to Louis Farrakahn?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on April 20, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

#2. Lots of Country Club Republicans ARE (what you call) Fundies.
{except Episcopalians} If you consider issues like abortion & gay marriage the province of some far right wing religious sect, then no wonder you cant win an election.

That's the second string; they have their share of clout, but they're still not the real players. The real clout in American politics still lies with people who are so secure that issues like abortion and gay marriage mean nothing to them one way or another. If those issues mean something to you, you just aren't rich enough to play their game.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 20, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

If he runs, McCain will be the Republican nominee, despite the fact that a lot of Republicans in the base dislike him. Losing has a way of changing perceptions.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on April 20, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

If those issues mean something to you, you just aren't rich enough to play their game.

Superbly put as always, doctah.

Posted by: shortstop on April 20, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus
I dont know how much money your talking about here, but I dont think we share a similar mindset. I dont believe some shadowy ruling elite controls our politics, any more than I believe George Soros controls the Democrats. Hes one player among many. Lots of rich people care about all sorts of things. (what was Soros beef by the way?) I happen to know people with excess of 50 100 million personally (I know not billionaires) who care deeply about gay marriage and abortion, and give to the Republicans. So I dont get your point or agree with it.

Sheerakahn
Im pretty confident. I voted for McCain in the 2000 primary here in Michigan. (he won) Bushs big name had most of the money tied up way early, and the establishment was behind him because of his dad. McCain was stupid to think he could run to the center going into the South & should have never made that comment about Falwell & Robertson. I think the reporters got to his ego, and he thought he was a breakaway candidate.

If he plays it straight through the primary hell win.

Posted by: Fitz on April 20, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK
what was Soros beef by the way?

I think his main objection was people putting an apostrophe in the middle of his last name.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 20, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

My point is that there ain't gonna be no populist takeover of the GOP. The same thing is going to happen to the right-wing activists as what happened to us with the Democrats in the 70's - we got granted a few small victories, then the big-timers decided to reassert themselves. They thought all that liberal talk was going to scare off the moderates, so the party leadership appealed hat-in-hand to corporate America. Once a few checks came in, the activist left was told we had nowhere else to go, so sit down and shut up.

And should the fundamentalist right get too loud and proud, the same thing is going to happen. The GOP leadership is going to say that the fundies are scaring off all the moderates,and tell them to go back and sit in their corner,and not come out until the next election. And 99.99% of them will do just that; God forbid they vote for a Democrat. The rest will find another Murrah Building to blow up...

And not to be too snarky about it, but any small-town Babbitt can put $50-100 million in the bank these days without too much effort. That ain't enough to shine the shoes of the folks that really matter in this country though - you'd better bring at least a couple of billion as a stake if you want to play Texas Hold-'em at their table.

(BTW, Fitz, I more-or-less agree with you on McCain and the nomination. Just don't be surprised if he's the guy who winds up kicking the fundies' keisters all the way back to Jesusland, for if the GOP nominates him, that will be a big part of the reason why they did.)

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 20, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Fundie" is just shorter than having to write "fundamentalist" or "evangelical" all the time. No real harm intended.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 20, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I think his main objection was people putting an apostrophe in the middle of his last name.

Since you mention apostrophes, Chris, we've been noticing it's time for a refresher. It's is the contraction of it is. Its is a possessive. Thank you, dear.

Posted by: Mrs. Terwilliger, cmdicely's old grammar teacher on April 20, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

#2. Lots of Country Club Republicans ARE (what you call) Fundies. {except Episcopalians} If you consider issues like abortion & gay marriage the province of some far right wing religious sect, then no wonder you cant win an election.

Probably true in the Bible Belt. But certainly doesn't apply to CCRs on either coast, most of whom, as with most people on either coast (until you get south of Maryland on the East Coast), aren't particularly religious. CCRs are very typical of pre-Reagan conservatives and are most likely mainstream protestants, if anything.

Posted by: Jeff II on April 20, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus:

1) I agree with you about the small-town Babbitts and the people who really pull the strings. They're gonna anoint somebody for the GOP nomination, and that person will win the nomination. That's how it works.

2) McCain isn't gonna kick the fundies' asses back to Jesusland. He needs their votes. So do the GOP PTB, and they know it.

3) I think you're right about no populist takeover of the GOP, but the question is, how do they stop it? The fundies ARE the votes in the GOP; the GOP needs them a lot more than the '70s Dems needed the liberal wing of the party.

How they stop it is that the Dobsons and Robertsons are much cozier with the guys running the GOP show than they are with their own supporters, and their (gullible) supporters haven't a clue. So when the Dobsons of the world gradually start dropping hints here and there that McCain might have his good points, then a bit later they find reason to make common ground with him on an issue or two...keep this going, and by 2008, the fundies will be ready to vote for McCain.

Instead of winning NH and losing SC, McCain will lose NH but it won't matter if he's the anointed one, because he'll win SC, that graveyard of GOP insurgencies, as the establishment/fundie candidate, and go on to win the nomination from there.

Posted by: RT on April 20, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK


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Posted by: ksrsrc on April 21, 2006 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

A few things about the McCain/Bush pic:

1)First is how awkward it looks. Both George and John look like it is the first time either of them has ever experienced a hug and it is extreeeemly uncomfortable.

2)McCain is eyeing Bushs jugular with the resignation of a rape victim wanting to plunge a knife in there but knowing he never would.

3)Something about the staging of this photo strikes me as if breast feeding is about to begin. I wonder if the lump on the boy kings back is the clasp of a nursing bra?

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on April 21, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

I wish that you're wrong, but I fear that you are right.

Political lines are so blurred at the highest levels. Clinton balanced the budget and reformed welfare while Bush has obliterated any sense of budgeting restraint and passed a bogus faux-liberal drug bill. I think that McCain's getting desperate. He knows that 2008 will be his last best chance at the presidency, yet his conservative poll numbers are weak. He's in a no-mans land. Popular for his sound-bites, but not embraced by either party. Unfortunately, he's responding to this uncertainty by pandering in a rightist direction.

Damn, damn, damn.

Posted by: Berkeley Choate on April 21, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

A lifelong Republican here. I just changed my voter reg to independent. This President and Congress is a national disgrace. Mitt Romney is one cool cat

Posted by: slayde on April 21, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

A lifetime Democrat here. I just changed my vote reg (and my wife also) to independent. This President and Congress is national discrace. Mitt Romney is not a real Christian so am at this point screwed!

Posted by: AluminumKen on April 22, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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