Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 18, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

JOHN McCAIN UPDATE....Steve Benen has updated his John McCain Flip-Flop Index. His latest turnabout comes on campaign finance reform, an issue that was once near and dear to his heart, and brings the number of McCain flip-flops to 15. That's pretty impressive.

And Josh Marshall points out the obvious corollary: McCain's strength has always been among independents, but independents don't like panderers. Is it any wonder that his poll numbers have collapsed?

Kevin Drum 2:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Don't misconstrue this as support for McCain.

I gave him $2000 in 2000. And I regret it. I have come to reverse my feelings for him as a politician.

But at the end of the day - when will the slime machine realize that this guy is done, and we can dispense with the character assassination and focus on someone else?

Dobson declared McCain dead.

Republicans can not win elections without the evangelicals.

Let's move on please, to more worthy targets.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 18, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

If Chuck Hagel decides to run, I think McCain is toast... unless, of course, he pulls some dirty tricks like what Bush did to him in 2000 SC primary.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 18, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's "flip flops" as you call them demonstrate his growth and maturing as a politician. Some people will like his new decisiveness, some won't. But we can all admire his continuing committment to telling us exactly what he thinks.

Posted by: Al on January 18, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

You mean he voted for campaign finance reform before he was against it?

Posted by: fyreflye on January 18, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is doing what all Presidential hopefuls do: move to the extreme for the primary, then move toward the center if they win the nomination. Hillary is doing this too. She used to sound like a moderate; more recently she has veered left.

There's no point in getting upset over politicians acting like politicians. McCain and Hillary are just doing what it takes to get nominated and to win the Presidency.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 18, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Great fake Al.

Posted by: Disputo on January 18, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

"New Decisiveness?" Bwah ha ha ha ha ha!

Posted by: CT on January 18, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is too old.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on January 18, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

First things first. We've got a rabid-dog-eat-rabider-dog republican primary for Governor coming up in May and I can't pop the popcorn fast enough.

With any luck, one of the bloodiest casualties will be ol' Mitch himself, since it pits his former golden boy Ernie against his tarnished angel Annie.

Bellwether for '08, and a preview of coming fratricidal GOP attractions.

For a front-row seat, check out the Herald-Leader's Pol Watchers blog.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 18, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

When McCain does not win his party's nomination, he will whither away into nothingness. Praise no god!

Hedley nails it. McCain has become too ugly for TV. Even the most die hard conservative bloodlusting American cannot vote for someone that disfigured.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

But Independents do not help with Republican presidential nominations.

Posted by: Big Red on January 18, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

But Independents do not help with Republican presidential nominations.

When they select a GOP ballot in the primary, they do (depending on State law).

Posted by: Disputo on January 18, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain Flip-Flop Index?

that doesn't matter...

dead enders can't count..

Posted by: mr. irony on January 18, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

It is mostly liberals, who would not support McCain in any event, rather than independents who get exercised about supposed instances of "flip-flopping."

What hurts McCain among independents is his perceived closeness to the increasingly unpopular President. To the extent any issue is influential the war and McCain's support for it are clearly a problem for him. The other issues people just aren't tracking closely enough for McCain's positions on them to make a major impact. What does, and will likely continue to make a major impact, is that Bush has lost the confidence of all but the hard core and the party activists. Candidates perceived as being close to him will continue to suffer for it outside this group, and McCain is so perceived right now.

Posted by: Zathras on January 18, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain's problem reminds me of a book I read. The Republican party base has been moved so far right by Bush and Rove that Atilla the Hun would feel right at home. McCain has had to suck up to the far right Neanderthal wing of the party. Unfortunately for McCain, in the world of the internet, blogs and You-Tube a politician can't do that without the rest of the world noticing. His natural base are the independents who are generally closer to the center. They have noticed and are abandoning him in droves. The Neanderthals see this weakening and are asking themselves why they should support McCain when the only thing he had going for him from their point of view was his potential ability to win the general. A classic Catch 22.

Of course the proper response for the Republican party would be to abandon the little sliver of Neanderthals calling all the shots, but those guys pay the bills. I guess if you live by edge politics, you die by edge politics.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 18, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

ex-Liberal;
I totally agree with you on Hillary.

. . . Some people will like his new decisiveness, some won't. ...
Posted by: Al on January 18, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Flipfloppery==decisiveness?

Orwell? Is that you?

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 18, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

too ugly for TV.

Don't know about ugly, but I saw him on CNN a couple of days ago. It seemed he had to remind himself to smile so he was repeatedly pasting on this demented little half-hearted grin.

I'm sure most voters will get creeped out by that.

Posted by: skip intro on January 18, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

We seem to think we can peg our next President.

Leadership vs. greed.

Greed has clearly deemed itself worthy of leadership lately.

Well, damn it, I'd like to see America embrace a true leader for a change, someone who transcends interest groups and "bases."

You simply cannot package prestige, it's earned.

Reagan is close to a god for the greedy.

Kennedy is more closer to the masses.

Lincoln was a genius.

So was Carter, but a victim of circumstance (seems our Iran hostage outrage carries forth to the present day).

Nixon; devious.

Etc.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 18, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

I wish you would quit SwiftBoating McCain.

BTW, Your golden boy Obama threw his halo in the ring this week. I like the guy, and predict he'll be the next William Jennings Bryan. For those of you who did not read history, he was another nobody vaulted to Presidential candidate by a good convention speech. When folks looked at his credentials they decided to vote Repub. The more things change...

Posted by: ex-minion on January 18, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

McCanine--lapdog of the right-wing nutjobs.
(Picture Falwell or Dobson carying a small dog in a basket, the way Paris Hilton carries her pooch, but the dog has the face of McCanine).

Posted by: bubba on January 18, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

When folks looked at his credentials they decided to vote Repub. The more things change...
Posted by: ex-minion on January 18, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

I don't disagree - the SCLM will roast him on this - and HateRadio will blast him over his drug-use statements (despite the fact that the difference between him, and Bush's statements; Obama's willing to be straight about his past, while Bush tried to hide it).

However, Obama's qualifications are far better than Bush's were when he ran for President. What was he - governor of Texas for a term and a half? Am I supposed to be impressed by that?

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 18, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I used to be a huge McCain fan but the second he started courting the christianist right, he lost me. I'm not voting for anyone - ever - that takes policy direction from theocrats. If he had any real balls, he'd run as an independent.

I'm starting to agree with others that the real GOP candidate for 2008 has yet to emerge. What they've got on the slate now is a bunch of guys who are either unelectable in a general or never going to win a GOP primary dominated by socially conservative voters.

Here's hoping for a Tancredo/Brownback primary win :)

Posted by: arteclectic on January 18, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

For the first time in memory, I don't have much trouble with the main contenders on both side. I think either Obama or Hillary or McCain or Romney would be a big improvement on the last few Presidents we've had. If the Repubs reject both McCain and Romney, and go with another smarmy southern Pat Robertson type - think Brownback, Huckleberry, etc. - don't be surprised if McCain and Lieberman hook up and run as Perot without the Cuban hit teams.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 18, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

I live in AZ, so McCain is on TV more here. Prior to that recent CNN interview, where he looked pretty normal, McCain was looking really bad. Worn out with discolored skin and that big scar on his face beaming to the world he is a cancer survivor. I could vote for an ugly person, I did vote for Kerry, but I just think that in today's world of polished made-for-TV candidates, that McCain has let too much time pass to be presentable. He was not a professional actor, so he doesn't know how to act good looking, even if he is not.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

It is mostly liberals, who would not support McCain in any event, rather than independents who get exercised about supposed instances of "flip-flopping."

Yeah, like all those liberals who were criticizing Kerry on his Presidential run [rolls eyes].

C'mon, Zathras, I expect this kind of bullshit from "ex-liberal" and not-at-all-ex-minion, but I have come to expect better of you.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

. . .I used to be a huge McCain fan but the second he started courting the christianist right, he lost me. I'm not voting for anyone - ever - that takes policy direction from theocrats.
Posted by: arteclectic on January 18, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that's not the only issue - I mean, taking direction from Theocrats is bad enough. But USING religious faith as a political tool (which Bush did, and McCain is clearly doing) - well, guess what? That's a textbook terrorist tactic. It's what Osama bin Laden does. It's what Ahmadinnerjacket does. It's what Arafat did, and it's what Sharon did. It's also what Stalin did, if you look at Communism as a quasi-religion (for purposes of this discussion, it is). Disgusting. I was very disappointed in McCain for doing this. And it backfired. Dobson doesn't want any more pretend evangelicals. He's taken enough heat over Bush, Foley, hell, even Haggard. Clearly he's done carrying the water of hypocrites (except his own water, of course).

If he had any real balls, he'd run as an independent.

Don't be so sure - you call Lieberman's independent run an act of bravery? I call it craven cowardice.

McCain certainly could have fought back more against Bush. When the 2000 campaign started to get really slimy (when McCain was beating Bush in the polls) McCain started to fight back - but then he backed off. I don't know if he was afraid of something, or if some kind of deal was made, or what. But it cost him the primary.

If this is an internal Republican Party power struggle between the Organized Crime BushCo folks, and a less radical Moderate faction (to which we'll say McCain belongs) - then McCain stepped aside in 2000 to disastrous results for his country.

If that's the case - how can we trust him to protect us from the Corporatist fascist pirates now? Well - frankly, we can't. He's hired some of the same slimemeisters for his campaign. He obviously feels there's nothing more to be gained by trying to portray himself as the "straight talker" - because he's not really working all that hard on that anymore. And it shows.

I'm starting to agree with others that the real GOP candidate for 2008 has yet to emerge. What they've got on the slate now is a bunch of guys who are either unelectable in a general or never going to win a GOP primary dominated by socially conservative voters.

Well - I think Bush has exposed a critical weakness of the party. There are three factions:
1. Fiscal Conservative-Social Moderates
2. Crypto-Corporatist Fascists (posing as pseudo Libertarians)
3. and the Theocrats.

Republicans need these three factions to win. They need the first faction to fool the Independents and Swing voters. They need the second faction just for the money to fund the slime campaign to assassinate the character of opponents, (and to fool the gullible evangelicals) and they need the third for the money, and their significant voting block.

Bush got the convergence of the three in 2000.

But now, they've lost 1. because fiscal conservatives don't trust them anymore. They've lost 3. because they've proven themselves to be hypocrites, they didn't successfully ban gay marriage or abortion, and they're losing 2, because without 1 and 3, they won't win, and they won't have any power (earmarks, no bid contracts) to sell.

Faction 2 probably does not trust McCain because he backed Campaign Finance Reform. I doubt they'll forgive him.

Faction 3 doesn't trust him, because in the past he was clearly not a hardcore social conservative, and they've been burned by Bush; who was a carousing drunk, draft dodger cokehead, who claimed to be sent by God - but not the same God. If Bush was sent by God, it was the God of Incompetence.

McCain could probably win over Faction 1. By scaling back the religious rhetoric (he no longer has anything to gain there, after Dobson's rejection) - but without 1 and 3, I doubt he will even win the primary.

Giuliani is another one who may win Faction 1, but not 3 or 2.

Romney might win over 3 - but there's a lot of distrust of Mormons among Southern Baptists who make the bulk of the US Evangelical vote.

The real question is: which Republican candidate will have the backing of Faction 2?

Forbes? Some other industrialist Dark Horse? Some former IranContra miscreant? Someone peripherally associated with Duke Cunningham or Abramoff? A former General? (that one Air Force religious whackjob "My God is bigger than their God" would be interesting.).

Here's hoping for a Tancredo/Brownback primary win :)

Oi. I don't even really know who these guys are.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 18, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

"McCain is too old."

But who in the republican party who thinks they might be able to win a presidential race in 2012 or later would run this time?

It's going to be all about candidates like mccain who don't have another four years, and those who's chances won't be much better in an election cycle where republicans aren't in the middle of loosing a very expensive war.

Posted by: jefff on January 18, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Oi. I don't even really know who these guys are.

Unelectable darlings of faction #3 is who those guys are :)

And I totally agree, social conservatives and fiscal conservatives won't get fooled again by a corporatist in "compassionate conservatism" clothing. Lieberman's was an act of cowardice because he had lost fair and square and decided to be petulant. If he had run as an indy from the get-go, it wouldn't have smelled near so bad.

Posted by: arteclectic on January 18, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

It seems McCain thinks he can't win without Bush, but surely Repugs understand you can't win with Bush either.

It's a lose lose situation but it was McCain that has render himself un-electable.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 18, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is like Slim Picken's in Dr. Strangelove.

'Cept the bomb he is riding with glee to his own destruction says "Iraq" on it.

Until he flip-flops on Iraq...
He ain't got a chance in 2008.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on January 18, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm starting to wonder if any of the three Republican frontrunners can actually win the nomination. Look at the conventional wisdom:

McCain can't win because he's alienated independents and moderates by trying to cozy up to both Bush and the religious right.

Giuliani can't win because he's pro-choice and pro-gun control and has had a messy divorce.

Romney can't win because he's a Mormon and may not be as ardently against gay marriage as the religious right would prefer.

So who is the religious right going to coalesce behind? Brownback??

What I predict is that moderate Republicans, pissed off by the fact that their party has been hijacked by the religious right, are going to turn out in numbers much much higher than normal and hand the nomination to Giuliani, that Brownback will then enter the general election as an independent, and that in a repeat of 1992, the Democratic candidate, whomever it ends up being, will win the election with only about 40% of the popular vote.

Posted by: mfw13 on January 18, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is over...dumb slut didn't know what was best for him.

Posted by: Jimm on January 19, 2007 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

Especially for a guy who've I've always given the benefit of the doubt...in acknowledgement of what he's served and gone through...but then he had to go and sell out, whore himself to the powers that be, the money, instead of the grassroots.

Fool.

Posted by: Jimm on January 19, 2007 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK

What I predict is that moderate Republicans, pissed off by the fact that their party has been hijacked by the religious right, are going to turn out in numbers much much higher than normal ...

One comment: Moderate Republicans had no problem with the fact that their party has been hijacked by the religious right as long as it led to victory. The growing perception of Republican extremism among swing voters, though, is becoming a political liability, and 2006 shattered Rove's rep as a genius with his "turn out the base" strategy. One benefit I do hope for is that moderate Republicans try to take their Party from the nutjobs, but really, looking at the Republicans, nutjobs of one stripe or another is all they have left. These days, there's a word for moderate Republicans: Democrats.

Posted by: Gregory on January 19, 2007 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly