Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCain the Candidate

If you had bet on John McCain as the GOP presidential candidate last year at this time, you would have received VERY good odds. But McCain beat the odds, and some formidable opponents, despite a lack of money, a moribund staff and what looked like a case of bad burnout. Now he basks as the presumed nominee, though the hardest part of being elected is yet to come.
At some point you could normally expect the candidate to start reaching to the middle of the electorate and give uncommitted voters, who tend to gather in the center of the political spectrum, some reasons to come your way. I think that day will still come, but McCain's got work in his own party's back yard first.
It's called (in Karl Rovian terms) "solidifying the base", which means you can't go after any "I"s or "D"s until all the "R"s are all rounded up and put safely in the corral. This year it won't be easy, not only because McCain used to be thought of as less orthodox than most GOP faithful, but also because the base itself has taken a licking seldom seen, as the Bush crowd's approval ratings did a face plant from the 80's to the current 30 or so.
Here's what McCain must do. First, he's been mending fences with the sometimes ferocious religious Right. In 2000 he referred to the Falwell/Robertson types as "agents of intolerance". Not so now. Falwell died and Robertson tied his wagon to what turned out to be a dud star (Giuliani), but McCain has the endorsement of Rev. John Hagee, a hate-spewing, Israel -defending, human caricature who would like us to attack Iran TODAY. McCain also has Rod Parsley on his side, with credentials similar to Hagee's AND an Ohio base that could prove handy in that battleground state. Parsley says we're "at war with Islam", though McCain may not go quite that far.
The moment of McCain showing a small candle opposing torture is gone, blown away by presidential politics. He's now on board for those popular "advanced interrogation techniques" which never seem to be defined, at least not by the Attorney General, Roberto, I mean, Bob Mukasey. Don't listen for the word "torture" to pass McCain's lips again.
The last three elections have featured plenty of fear mongering by the GOP. Last week McCain , in reply to a question, gave an answer Cheney would have been proud of: Big John's worried that Al Qaeda may try to influence the election by attacking as the election draws near. This is masterful because it shows 1. He knows what Al Qaeda's thinking, 2. That Al Qaeda wants a
Democrat in the White House, and 3. It's not too early to be scared. Brilliant!
Of course, not every moment is magic. McCain had to be reminded yesterday that Al Qaeda troops could not have been trained in Iran, because they (A.Q.) are 100% Sunni, and therefore about as popular in Shi'ite Iran as anthrax. Well, my friends, you can't win 'em all.
We may never find out what kind of president McCain would be. But running the country and campaigning to run the country are two very different things.


Blogger Muslims Against Sharia said...

Muslims Against Sharia call on Senators McCain and Obama to cut all ties with their racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic supporters.


8:38 PM  

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