President McCain


In last week’s WashPost, Dick Morris had what I think is the best account of why McCain is going to win the presidency. Here’s the crucial bit:

To sum it up: A candidate who cannot get elected is being nominated by a party that cannot be defeated, while a candidate who is eminently electable is running as the nominee of a party doomed to defeat. In this environment, McCain can win by running to the center.

So, here’s your talking point of the day: Be it resolved that the next president of the USA will be John McCain. Discuss.

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President McCain

  1. A very interesting premise. In a strange way he might take a page out of Harpers book after all Harper came up through the middle of Martin on one side and Layton on the other. Harper appeals to the populist reform roots and well there are actually more similarities here than I can type as the more I think about it hmmmm.

  2. Obama has Charisma and offers hope. Does McCain really offer the same? It’ll be a good fight, but I wouldn’t count Obama out too soon.

  3. god help the world if mcbush actually wins

  4. Morris’ assumptions of Obama’s unelectability seem to fall quite short. The Wright “scandal”, judging by every poll released afterward, caused hardly a blip in the American public’s perception. Racism is still an issue, true, but this is hardly going to energize the Republican base significantly against the pro-immigration McCain.

    In fact, Morris’ strategy for McCain is a losing strategy. Much like the strategy of democrats in the previous elections to be “Republican light” didn’t attract republicans, and simply turned off large sections of their base, McCain campaigning on a similar “Democrat light” type of strategy would do the same thing. The Democrat hatred of Bush and anything connected to him is so visceral right now that no Democrat is going to swing to McCain. They may not vote, but they will not vote to keep in a politician seen as being a Bush “Attaboy” as McCain unfortunately ended up being portrayed throughout the last four years. At the same time, the republican base has little to be motivated about with McCain other than that he’s not a Democrat. Personally, I don’t think it’s enough to get most of them out.

  5. With all due respect T. Thwim, the Democratic strategy of running social conservatives in conservative areas has proven to be a great success (see Mississippi special election for one example).

    The fact that 60% of Kentuckians and W. Virginians voted against Obama after he had practically already won the nomination doesn’t constitute a worrisome sign?

    You are right that the Wright issue hasn’t caused a change in poll numbers. Public perception hasn’t necessarily changed public opinion much, but it has caused greater feelings of negativity towards Obama. He now sits (according to a Newsweek poll) equal to McCain in favourability/unfavourability thinking.

    Moreover, having someone like Obama openly talking about easing the embargo on Cuba and talking directly ‘without preconditions’ to Iran has fired up the GOP base. McCain can go ‘Democrat lite’ without worry now.

  6. These are leads from the the following polls taken in May:

    CBS/NY Times: Obama, 11 points
    USA Today/Gallup: McCain, 1 point
    Ipsos: Obama, 4 points
    LA Times/Bloomberg: Obama, 6 points
    NPR: Obama, 5 points
    Quinnipiac: Obama, 7 points
    ABC/Washington Post: Obama, 7 points
    Reuters/Zogby (including Ralph Nader & Bob Barr): Obama, 10 points
    GW-Battleground poll: Obama, 2 points
    Investor’s Business Daily: Obama, 11 points
    Newsweek: Tie

    AND, it should be noted, these polls reflect a potential nominee who hasn’t yet been officially confirmed as the standard bearer.

  7. Position – con.

    Argument – “running to the centre” will not be enough. The Republican party’s biggest problem right now is not its ideological direction; rather it is an increasingly entrenched reputation for incompetence and corruption. And this problem extends beyond the oval office. Pollsters and pundits are predicting a massive Democratic sweep of both Houses, as voters reject incumbent Republicans who put themselves on the wrong side of issues such as Iraq, Katrina, and the economy.

    As the real campaign heats up, John McCain is going to find he has fewer and fewer friends on the campaign trail, as local Republican politicans are going to be preoccupied with saving their own skin. The press will have a wild succession of field days with local republican candidates saying things that put the McCain/whoever ticket on the defensive one way or another.

    The litmus test of this election is whether or not candidate x is: (1) willing to question any and all policy decision taken over the last 8 years, and (2) able to demonstrate basic competence and good judgment.

    In this context, I think McCain will be dragged down by a combination of his own record (both in the Senate and in the public – bomb bomb Iran) and the damaged Republican brand.

    There is only one way that I see McCain overcoming this. That’s by naming a high-profile, eminent (and preferably registered independent) person as his running mate. Someone like mayor bloomberg, but better. In this scenario, it’s possible (though still not probable) that American voters will consider voting for a quasi-independent white house ticket along with a strongly Democratic Congress. The obvious problem with this scenario is that there’s no evidence that the Party will allow McCain to do this.

  8. Position – pro.

    Argument – if the overarching ballot issue in 2008 is not ideology but sound management, there is no Republican better-positioned to help the party wash its hands of the mistakes of the past 8 years – without having to give significant ground on questions of policy or ideology – than uber-maverick John McCain.

    As a principled small-government conservative with a record of cross-partisan cooperation on issues such as electoral reform and now the evironment, John McCain can neutralize the competence issue simply by showing that, while he is a Republican and a conservative, he is not necessarily beholden to the Republican establishment interests that were the real perpetrators of the problems in Iraq and on the hurricane-ravaged Gulf coast.

    Military decisions based on bad intelligence? “As a former soldier I will do my damndest to make sure that never happens to our soldiers again.” Unqualified political appointments to head government agencies? “Not on my watch.” Priveleged access for special interests? “I don’t owe anybody any favours.”

    Those issues effectively dealt with, the rest should be straightforward. People know where he stands on the issues. They also know he’s willing to work with political opponents on issues that matter to all Americans. He won’t go to war with a Democratic Congress.

    And besides, he doesn’t need to sweep the centrist/independent vote, he just needs to keep it competitive. If Republican diehards agree on one thing, it’s that a moderate conservative who’s willing to work with Democrats is still a hell of a lot better than a limousine liberal. So the base will be there for him.

    Okay, I don’t believe a word of it, but there you go.

  9. My Goodness the US population cannot be that stupid to elect another War Monger to continue the Disasterous Bush Administration. The War Criminal Bush Administration has run the United States credibility to it’s lowest point in it’s history. Wake up America.

  10. Whomever the Bilderbergers decide should win will win. Outwardly, McCain is a scarier choice for the average non-rich American and the world at large, but either one will do what they are told. Too bad Ron Paul bowed out of the Republican nomination campaign months ago….oh, that’s right, he’s still there but his own party and the MSM have chosen to ignore him.

  11. I would agree, if not for the beginning idea: that Obama is unelectable. He is more than electable; if he wasn’t, how did the Democrats come to ‘elect’ him?

  12. The vision of our forefathers? Slavery – women can not vote – blacks count as half a human being – And they were Deists at best, not the Christians that some would have us believe. Lets move up to the present. If you do not care for either candidate you should still vote. You must prefer one over the other. Stand up and be counted!

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  13. Everyone have the right to choose weather they vote or not… I know that every single vote is important.
    If they don’t care either candidate that’s fine.

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