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Tilting at Windmills

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February 19, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

JOHN McCAIN'S IDEAS....Fareed Zakaria writes in Newsweek today that the reason conservatism seems so tired these days is that conservatives are still fighting the ghosts of the 70s and 80s. But all those hoary old right-wing warhorses, which got cheers when tax rates were high and judges were forcing parents to bus their kids to faraway schools, now seem about as relevant as attacking the tin trust:

Today's world has a different set of problems. A robust economy has not lifted the median wages of Americans by much. Most workers are insecure about health care, and most corporations are unnerved by its rising costs. Globalization is seen as a threat, bringing fierce competition from dozens of countries. The danger of Islamic militancy remains real and lasting, but few Americans believe they understand the phenomenon or know how best to combat it.

So far, so good. And before I go on, let me say that I like Zakaria. I always wish he didn't seem to have his finger to the wind quite so much, but he's a smart guy and an engaging writer. So what explains the final paragraph of his column, which seemingly pops up out of nowhere?

Political ideologies do not exist in a vacuum. They need to meet the problems of the world as it exists. Ordinary conservatives understand this, which may be why — despite the urgings of their ideological gurus — they have voted for McCain. He seems to understand that a new world requires new thinking.

Where did that come from? Whatever else you can say about McCain, "new thinking" pretty clearly isn't part of his appeal. On foreign policy, he's for the status quo squared. His only real problem with George Bush is that he hasn't been militaristic enough. And on domestic policy he's practically famous for not paying attention to much of anything beyond his two or three pet issues. If running for president requires him to embrace Jerry Falwell, swear fealty to supply-side tax drivel, and repudiate his own immigration plan — well, he's perfectly willing to do it. As near as I can tell, he really doesn't care enough about any of this stuff to think it's worth standing up against.

Personally, I think the Republican electorate did a pretty good job of choosing the least repellent of the candidates they were offered. But they sure didn't do it because John McCain was the candidate of fresh ideas. Where did Zakaria come up with that?

Kevin Drum 4:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (80)

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Comments

But McCain is a maverick, Kevin. Where have you been hiding, that you don't know that? And a maverick by definition isn't a slave to old ideas. Unless they're necessary to get him elected.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 19, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you get it? Establishment journalists heart John McCain. Read Ryan Lizza's take in the New Yorker.

Posted by: Alan Vanneman on February 19, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Where did Zakaria come up with that?

Try asking Nicholas Kristof.

He appears able to read the Republican mind.

Posted by: Curt M on February 19, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

While I agree with you your assessment of McCain, you are not looking at him through Republican eyes. Republicans are drawn to authoritative figures who know how the world should and dictate proper actions. And in response they follow those marching orders, period. So a candidate like McCain, who every three or four years, strays away from the talking points, is a radical.

It is kind of like when my mother wore pants to a Southern Baptist church in the 60s. It was not very radical by most people's standards, but was "wild and crazy" by local norms.

So I am stunned that so many Republicans will vote contrary to the dictates of Rush and the rest. This is heresy, and it is pervasive in the ranks.

Posted by: Catfish on February 19, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

I am the same age as McCain. Believe me, we don't specialize in new thinking.

Did you see the 60 Minutes piece on Denmark? They pay 50% for taxes, have no worries, and are rated the most happy and contented society. Why do we not have ANY debate on the kind of society and attendant worries that we put up with?

Posted by: Where's Sally? on February 19, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

You may be confusing new ideas with "fresh" ideas. One interpretation of Zakaria's comment: He seems to understand that a new world requires new thinking. might be that the "new thinking" he refers to, is to move away from the hard-core conservative values or philosophies and move more towards the center and left of center because that may be more broadly desired by the populace.

Posted by: pencarrow on February 19, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Ordinary conservatives understand this, which may be why — despite the urgings of their ideological gurus — they have voted for McCain.

Conservatives didn't vote for McCain. His margins came almost entirely from "independents" and "moderates".

Posted by: Jimmy Jazz on February 19, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

What Jazz said. And anti-war folk, at that!

Interest rates of zero!

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on February 19, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Political ideologies do not exist in a vacuum. They need to meet the problems of the world as it exists. Ordinary conservatives understand this, which may be why — despite the urgings of their ideological gurus — they have voted for McCain. He seems to understand that a new world requires new thinking.

If you define the problem as "winning in November", Zakaria's spot on.

Posted by: David W. on February 19, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Where did that come from?

Haven't you heard his speeches lately? He wants to be our friend! How can you argue with that, my friend? Clearly Zakaria would like to be friends. Why are you so anti-friend, friend?

Posted by: enozinho on February 19, 2008 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Where do I get me some of this candidate repellent? Summer's coming and the woods will be full of the little bloodsuckers.

Posted by: thersites on February 19, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

I think Fareed meant to say that Republicans recognize on some level that the solutions to our current problems are with the Democrats, so they voted for the closest thing they have...

Posted by: Jason on February 19, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Anderson Cooper has been hosting David Gergen and FZ discussing the host of problems facing the Unites States on CNN. The programs are informative with DG doing his best analysis to date. What surprised me was how little FZ knows. He was wrong about a few facts and his punditry was limited. I wish I could give some concrete examples and I do apologize for that- but do see the shows (the one I saw was on foreign affairs)- and one will conclude that FZ is nothing but a gasbag.

Posted by: Raoul on February 19, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

I, too, have noticed his use of "friend" a lot in arguing with straw men. My read: McCain is not really as much a hawk as he pretends to be; his practice of addressing opponents as "friend" is really a "dog Whistle" to the Quaker community that he is secretly one of their own.

Posted by: Neal W on February 19, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Where do I get me some of this candidate repellent? Summer's coming and the woods will be full of the little bloodsuckers.

Me, too! But I don't want the kind with DEET in it. I know the Bush appointees at the FDA say it's so safe and healthful we should be feeding it to our babies in bottles, but I remain suspicious.

My read: McCain is not really as much a hawk as he pretends to be; his practice of addressing opponents as "friend" is really a "dog Whistle" to the Quaker community that he is secretly one of their own.

Bwa!

Posted by: shortstop on February 19, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

I just saw my dittohead brother-in-law and my hillbilly brother over the weekend. You have to keep in mind what an utter, humiliating defeat for conservatives McCain's nomination represents. They have no voice in this election. It's amazing!

Posted by: goethean on February 19, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes, even the smart, engaging writers just mail it in. I read this column a few days ago and thought this column was a rushed piece of work.
So I didn't take it seriously.

Posted by: kim on February 19, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

And before I go on, let me say that I like Zakaria. I always wish he didn't seem to have his finger to the wind quite so much, but he's a smart guy and an engaging writer.

So, you like man with no moral center because he can turn a phrase? Fascinating.

Posted by: F. Frederson on February 19, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

He seems to understand that a new world requires new thinking.

It's unclear what McCain thinks, especially when he hasn't had his nap.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 19, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Kevin, maybe this is why mainstream media figure Fareed Zakaria thinks John McCain is the candidate of fresh ideas:

His only real problem with George Bush is that he hasn't been militaristic enough.

As for why the Republicans picked him, maybe the John Bolton wing of the party, the one that hijacked the government on or around 9/11, is still basically calling the shots for the Republican party. I know the Democrats sure haven't intimidated them or successfully prosecuted or impeached them for anything.

Posted by: Swan on February 19, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on February 19, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Don't waste your thoughts on Zakaria/McCain. The first, America's favorite Southeast Asian, passing as Muslim, so-called Arab moderate, gung ho war with Iraq guy; the second, an over the hill white guy you can spot in every American Legion Post bar throughout this great land of ours are yesterday's news and are not worth investing any further blather about. Give them a rest.

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on February 19, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Seems like the pundits have anointed McCain the winner.

Hillary or Obama have a tough, may be even insurmountable, problem ahead.

Snatching defeat from etc..

Posted by: gregor on February 19, 2008 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Ha!

MHR, have you ever read Saul Alinsky's book, "Rules for Radicals"?

Why am I even asking that? Of course you haven't! That was just deliberate flame bait to side rail the discussion!

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 19, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

MHR, have you ever read?

Could've saved yourself a few keystrokes, Dr. M.

Posted by: thersites on February 19, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

his practice of addressing opponents as "friend" is really a "dog Whistle" to the Quaker community that he is secretly one of their own.

About dang time one of these fellows started pandering to ME!

And where did Zakaria come up with the "fresh ideas" nonsense? Sufferin' goldfish, Kevin, don't you ever read Somerby?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on February 19, 2008 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Zakaria supported the Iraq invasion and thinks that Thomas Friedman is a good economics writer. At best, Zakaria is a slightly less annoying version of your standard MSM shill.

Perhaps people misjudge him because he writes in the same magazine as Robert J. Samuelson - with competition like that, anybody can look like a genius.

Posted by: alex on February 19, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

What I really want to know is the answer to the question posed at the top of this page. "How sexy is too sexy?"

Posted by: Mark on February 19, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

"... Denmark? They pay 50% for taxes, have no worries, and are rated the most happy and contented society. Why do we not have ANY debate on the kind of society and attendant worries that we put up with?"

Well, we pay 50% in taxes too, have lots of worries, are the only industrialized nation without health care, live in fear, have an economy in ruins... but heck, we have a military that can kill anyone, anywhere on the globe our president deems necessary within 11 minutes.

What's to debate about that?

Posted by: Buford on February 19, 2008 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Dr Wu wrote:

the second, an over the hill white guy you can spot in every American Legion Post bar

John McCain sure isn't the type that hangs out at veterans' club bars. He's the country-club type, the type who takes his wife to see a symphony orchestra or an opera in Lincoln Center.

Posted by: Swan on February 19, 2008 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

I think you'd be more likely to catch John McCain eating wine and grapes off a tray at some cocktail party than at an American Legion bar.

Posted by: Swan on February 19, 2008 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Rove Republican coalition has been redefined as "conservatism," but I have no idea what the term means today.

Big spenders? Big government? Catholics? Evangelicals?

Posted by: Luther on February 19, 2008 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

He seems to understand that a new world requires new thinking...." Where did Zakaria come up with that?

I think it was typo. He meant to say "nude thinking." Remember the old advice to people who are nervous speaking in public, "Imagine the audience is nude." It the only way McCain can stay awake through one of his speeches.


Posted by: tomeck on February 19, 2008 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK
Well, we pay 50% in taxes too...

If that's the case, then you should probably fire your accountant.

Posted by: phleabo on February 19, 2008 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

So what explains the final paragraph of his column, which seemingly pops up out of nowhere?

We know the answer, don't we? Any criticism of one party or ideology must be balanced by a criticism of the other, or at least some sort of hedge, as in this case.

As analysis this trope is pretty lame. Why does it exist?

Beats me. Part of it might have to do with the sensitive disposition of the typical conservative, as exemplified by their attention towards media bias, rather than factual accuracy. Or maybe the author thinks this sort of swaying is necessary if he is to maintain a broad readership. Who knows?

Posted by: Measure for Measure on February 19, 2008 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

I've noticed a couple contrary trends in op/ed writing, which both are subsumed under "bad writing".

One, as in this case, a conclusion that is really not supported by the body of argument, almost like a disjointed broken limb, with the writer meandering over some thoughts and then suddenly punctuating the whole thing, almost by rote, with a conclusion that may or may not make sense or be supported by what came before.

Two, as in the last Jonah Goldberg column I read sometime last week (about racism and its distribution in big urban states compared to more rural lily white states), there is really no conclusion or clear focus or prescription to the column at all, basically with the body of the argument meandering over various thoughts and talking points (like One), and pretty much ending that way too, so that there is almost a sense of disorientation as you conclude the op/ed wondering if maybe you missed something (because there seems to be a meandering setup but then just a cliff).

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Abandoning the fight against the Tin Trust? I'm disappointed.

Posted by: dSmith on February 19, 2008 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Jimmy Jazz, the police came here and asked about you.

Posted by: heavy on February 19, 2008 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Better get used to the media fluffing the maverick straight talker for the next 8 1/2 months....

Posted by: bushworstpresidentever on February 19, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Well, looks like we're on the same team now, Drum. When Huckabee dropped out, that left me without a dog in this race. Best I can hope for now is an Obama win.

Yes, Obama is the most liberal senator, and he has plenty of baggage, like that whole reznor scandal, but he's got a positive message and an almost Reaganesk quality to him.

Long and short of it is, McCain is going down, and we're on the same team now, Drum.

Posted by: egbert on February 19, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

If Zakaria wasn't extremely cautious about how he phrased his opinions (finger in the wind), he risks being labeled an angry, un-American Muslim. Bye bye lucrative media career. He's in a tough spot, considering his background. Of course, that's no excuse to fluff, fluff, fluff McCain, but it seems to be the thing to do these days, as it always is in the circles Zakaria fequents.

Posted by: MG on February 19, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain is a criminal. McCain has been influence peddling for years. Are Americans going to allow another criminal to steal the White House???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 19, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

reznor scandal

What does Nine Inch Nails have to do with the presidential race?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 19, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Jimmy Jazz, the police came here and asked about you.

Police walked in for him. Just sayin'.

Posted by: shortstop on February 19, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Not only that. McCain was never tortured in Viet Nam and people who served with him call him a lying scumbag!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 19, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Even worse - ”Tough on terror” John McCain helped arm Islamic terrorists!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 19, 2008 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kev -

I can't really put it in words, but I think I understand what Zakaria means. It's not about McCain's "new" ideas so much as the fact that no matter how he panders, you know at some level that he doesn't share many of the lunatic ideas of the con movement.

Posted by: mars on February 19, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "And before I go on, let me say that I like Zakaria. I always wish he didn't seem to have his finger to the wind quite so much ..."

You're kidding, right?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 19, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Let’s not forget - John McCain was the most reprehensible of the Keating Five and made beaucoup bucks from looting S&Ls!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 19, 2008 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Police walked in for him..."

Oh He was here, but he sure left fast!

Buncha aging punk rockers here. I thought that was the wshington monthly comments non-troll demographic.

Oh, and the "new ideas" thing? He means newer than Reagan's first term. That would be new in this context.

Posted by: URK on February 19, 2008 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

But, but, but why is he continuing to follow the same old course renamed the new way forward. Why is he talking about a balanced budget if hes doing the same thing as maverick, no foreign policy, McBush

Posted by: Jet on February 19, 2008 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

In his Wisconsin victory speech this evening, John McCain wasted no time in firing shots across Barack Obama's bow. Hoping to highlight the Democratic frontrunner's inexperience, McCain to partisan cheers ridiculed Obama's promises as "eloquent but empty." But in a preview of Republican duplicity to come, McCain blasted Obama's past advocacy of unilateral American attacks against Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan, attacks the Bush administration itself is now finally carrying out.

For the details, see:
"McCain Attacks Obama for Bush's New Pakistan Policy."

Posted by: Angry on February 19, 2008 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is not a Maverick, hes a bellicose mule hanging the same old (R)carrot, on a stick, in front of himself trying to convice people hes an elephant.

Posted by: Jet on February 19, 2008 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Buncha aging punk rockers here.

Ow! Gracefully, URK, gracefully. Plus, I was a child fan. :) Like a child bride, only not.

Posted by: shortstop on February 19, 2008 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

I've just spent time reading McCain's biographical sketch on Wikipedia, and I have to say, we had better not underestimate him. Whatever we think of his politics, this man is a survivor and a man of tremendous courage and honor. His experiences as a POW bring a lump to your throat--the torture, broken bones, suicide attempt, and most of all, refusal to be released early for North Vietnamese propaganda purposes. That he's the Republican nominee doesn't change any of that.

Posted by: Steve on February 19, 2008 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

From MTV. Sure, it starts with them walking in, but the later part of the song goes "police came in they said now, where's Jimmy Jazz..."

But then some here might suggest that I'm both rude and reckless.

:-P

Oh, and John McCain's newest idea is that waterboarding isn't torture and just like that has exposed himself (ugh...there's a horrible thought) as an apologist for torture.

Posted by: heavy on February 19, 2008 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Listen, the man's biography entitles him to respect for his personal courage. His batshit insane ideas, his support for torturing others, his support for a new 100 years war against the Iraqi people, and his childish notion that we can just "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran" mean that he is unqualified to lead a brownie troop in song, let alone the nation.

Posted by: heavy on February 19, 2008 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

To heavy: I didn't say that he'd make a good president. I said we better not underestimate him. His biography is powerful stuff, and deservedly so. Winning in November won't be easy.

Posted by: Steve on February 19, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Ordinary conservatives understand this, which may be why — despite the urgings of their ideological gurus — they have voted for McCain. He seems to understand that a new world requires new thinking.

Bill Clinton was a triangulator that worked from left-of-center for the Democratic party, John McCain is now a triangulator working from right-of-center for the Republican party. No big whiz here Kevin. The right-wingers need a pragmatist to win (if they are to win). McCain may kowtow to the conservative fringe all he wants, but everybody knows which way the wind is blowing and purist conservative ideology has lost voters for a generation. A *perceived* true believer on the right is doomed to lose big time.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 19, 2008 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not saying that his personal story isn't moving. But his personal story tells us nothing. No amount of suffering gives him the right to be President. The American people (I hope) are smart enough to notice that his story may be moving but he would be better off sitting on a porch in a rocking chair drinking mint juleps.

To defeat this, worse than Bush, old man we merely need to remind everyone of just how insane he is. To remind them that he would engage in further militaristic jihads. That a list of his crazy statements strung together make a commercial with a little girl, a daisy, and a mushroom cloud redundant.

Posted by: heavy on February 19, 2008 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

Heavy, you are rude, reckless, and i'd wager that you either have been or soon will be drinkin brew for breakfast.

and yeah shortstop, gracefully. Goes without saying. I've been having trouble for a while getting use to the fact that most of the kids in my classes are younger than the album we've been stealing lines from.

Posted by: URK on February 19, 2008 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

oh, and egbert is on our side now???!!!?? does this mean that i have to start reading posts that begin "ahh kevin."?

Posted by: URK on February 19, 2008 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Where did that come from?

Zakaria's floppy rectum.

Posted by: Duh on February 20, 2008 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

I've been having trouble for a while getting use to the fact that most of the kids in my classes are younger than the album we've been stealing lines from.

There is hope. Not that long ago, I found two songs from said "album" on my 17-year-old nephew's iPod after I heard him singing "Spanish Bombs" at the top of his lungs. Kid has good taste, plus this allows me to claim LC is a classic known to all generations. Everyone wins.

Posted by: shortstop on February 20, 2008 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Strummer is not dead, just sleeping, and will some day return from his cave to rescue us all.

By the way, I picked up a New Yorker from 1998, and guess what! Fareed Zakaria was there, telling us that conservatives all look lame because they are following these outmoded, irrelevant issues from the 1970s and 1980s.

I haven't read Somerby, but I suspect that if he doesn't use the words "witless, sheeplike blowhard" about Zakaria, he is being uncharacteristically polite.

Posted by: MFB on February 20, 2008 at 3:12 AM | PERMALINK

Zakaria fervently supported Iraq war. When there was overwhelming lack of evidence of WMD and overwhelming lack of evidence of Saddam's non-involvement in terrorism, much less 9/11, idiots like Zakaria had their fingers in the wind and supported the neoconservative Iraq project.

Maybe that is what makes him heart McCain. You know, with McCain, the warmongers of the world can get another 100 years of war.

Posted by: rational on February 20, 2008 at 3:50 AM | PERMALINK

Let the Swiftboating of John McCain begin

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 20, 2008 at 5:45 AM | PERMALINK

that's just a stupid argument Kevin. Both nominating processes are enslaved to the bases of their respective parties and are accordingly distorted and perverted. You're telling me the Dems are superior here when they are about to nominate a guy whose only credential for the job is that while safely ensconced in Illinois with like thinking lefties he opposed the war - you're telling me that makes the democrats the enlightened adults here? That's just biased idiocy.

Posted by: offman on February 20, 2008 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

There is hope. Not that long ago, I found two songs from said "album" on my 17-year-old nephew's iPod after I heard him singing "Spanish Bombs" at the top of his lungs.

There is hope indeed. My girls are a bit young for the Clash right now, but I'm laying the foundations with Elvis and the Beatles, and I need to throw some Who into the mix as well.

Posted by: Gregory on February 20, 2008 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Where did Zakaria come up with that *hit?

Yeah, the media, continues to flow and ebb with a blue moon. McCain's fresh ideas??? 100 year war and all, and kind of stuff that only Cheney would love. Clearly the only ideas McCain has these days are the one's Cheney tells McCain to have, and certainly there ain't nothing fresh about any of that. Maybe Zakaria just got tired of beating the hum-drum and decided to spit in his own column. Bushie made it cool to BS. Hey, I know - let's just make something up out of thin air, cause, see Bushie does it all the time, and it's always worked for him. Just spit in the wind see if it falls on your readers, are the public in general, whatever.

But this from a guy who once said "Bush should make up some BS, and invade Iraq anyway, (cause WMD was pretty lame). Then, Zakaria got booted off the ABC round table group, at least for while. I think, however, it was only because he made Mr. Will mad, and Will's the guy that actually rans the damn show anyway. It's why ABC This Week completely sucks anymore. Sam was good but you just can believe a word that self-loving maggot, George Will says so its all garbage not worth a second of your time. Maybe all it says in the end, is that you can teach Zakaria to sit-up and beg, because it's how you make money these days, in the news BS.


Posted by: me-again on February 20, 2008 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

McCain, the man who is not up on the economy and wants a 100 years war in Iraq, apparently has been flexible on a few things -- immigration and global warming. He used to be agaisnt torture, but didn't have the courage to vote his convictions. No doubt some MSM find that hypocrisy a sign of strength, but his real new idea is that he'll do anything to win. As for running on a war record, please ask Presidents Al Gore, John Kerry, Bob Keary, and Bob Dole about how their military service, when compared to their opponents, led them to stunning Presidential victories. McCain has endured much in the service of his country, and that should be respected. However, the Presidency is not the Irving Thalburg award, its about who is best able to serve us in the future. For McCain, it is clear his best days of service are behind. For Obama, his best days are to come.

Posted by: RP` on February 20, 2008 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

"You're telling me the Dems are superior here when they are about to nominate a guy whose only credential for the job is that while safely ensconced in Illinois with like thinking lefties he opposed the war - you're telling me that makes the democrats the enlightened adults here? That's just biased idiocy."

Since that isn't even remotely what Kevin said, forgive us if we believe that you really ought to be looking in a mirror when you rant about "biased idiocy."

Do feel free to come back when you're actually willing to read what we write and have a coherent argument to make.

Posted by: PaulB on February 20, 2008 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

First, anyone, who at any time, in any way supported George W. Bush (or Ralph Nader in 2000, for that matter), has nothing of value to offer anyone, and certainly not whatever the Democratic party decides to do. Period. STFU.

And it's not like Obama got into Harvard Law thanks to Daddy's connections, where he pulled "Gentleman's C's"; the dude was the Editor of the Harvard Law Review. There will be no need to have floats in honor of "C" students at his inaugural.

Obama didn't have the "experience" to vote for authorizing war with Iraq.

Posted by: MaxGowan on February 20, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

WE MUST ONCE and for all get out of this 'every-four-years-I-shall-act-blindly' rut. They do not give a rat's ass who we support. They only worry if we don't support them, and get really irritated when we oppose them. So, let's at least give them more things to worry about.

"The two ruling parties are in the midst of a family dispute. The kind of Republicans that have been running their party for the past seven years, and are deeply unpopular, are reportedly not liking McCain (clearly popular with the Republican rank and file) representing their party in the presidential elections; some are even willing to support Hillary Clinton, who they claim to have better conservative credentials.

"Likewise, the Democrats are split between two factions of their party; one representing the Establishment (the DLC/Openly Corporate wing), and the other representing the establishment in more nuanced, still-capable-of-imagination, that old dreamy, vague, happy to remain abstract (since the concrete ain't pretty, and to face it you'd have to get specific) wing of the party associated mostly with the Kennedy nostalgia and his general aura. As of this writing, the dreamy wing is slightly ahead, proving that the rank and file of the Democrats are not too happy with the establishment wing; or else they just like dreaming."

Posted by: AntiGowan on February 20, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

A charitable interpretation of the 'new ideas' comment would be that it is a comment on the rest of the field more so than on John McCain. And you have to admit (with the possible exception of looneytunes Ron Paul and the other (as yet) survivor Huckabee) that the rest of the republican field was quite hidebound.

Posted by: Sam Jackson on February 20, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the "new thinking" is a relative assessment, as in "Hasn't always chugged his Kool-Aid" (e.g., dared to stray from the Bush party line, from time to time).


An incredibly low bar to jump over, but given the state of the GOP these past 8 years ... almost any change is welcome.

Posted by: Cathexis on February 20, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

goethean: "You have to keep in mind what an utter, humiliating defeat for conservatives McCain's nomination represents."

The term "conservative" has come to mean "a weak-minded, ignorant mental slave of the fake, phony, corporate-sponsored pseudo-ideology preached by Rush Limbaugh". It used to mean someone like John McCain.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 20, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I believe I've had a comment deleted.

Was it really that bad?

Posted by: Horatio Parker on February 20, 2008 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a new idea, same as other time honored ideas like the Keating Five: a story of a powerful senator and a lobbyist hottie McCain and Vicki Iseman

WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.
A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, in his offices and aboard a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.
When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s clients, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.
Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity....

Posted by: Mike on February 20, 2008 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Macaria on March 12, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK
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