Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Friday, September 16, 2005
The McCain conundrum
The polls won't let it go: the fantasy horse raise between John McCain and Hillary Clinton (and in fantasyland, Rudy Giuliani and Hillary) is in full swing. And I think it's safe to say the Democratic Party hopes it's all just wild speculation that either will run for president in 2008.

The biggest problem that John McCain would pose for the Democratic Party in '08 is his basic lack of overt objectionability (he and Hillary even seem to like each other). I'm no McCainiac, and have lost tremendous respect for him over the years for his insistence on publicly sucking up to George W. Bush (including all the hugging... blech...) but I have to admit that had he been the nominee in 2000 instead of the current president, I might have been tempted for the first time in my life, to cross party lines and vote for him. If he runs in 2008, I suspect he'll have a good shot at pulling in some moderate Democrats, and a very good shot at winning over many independents. That would certainly offset the likelihood that the extreme religious right wouldn't be with him (they hate him, he hates them) and would make him competitive even if Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity couldn't bring themselves to strap on the presidential knee pads and give McCain the full Monica they've been giving George W. Bush for five years.

That said, McCain would have to get through a primary where Freepers count because turnout counts, and it remains to be seen whether the Black and White megachurches would line up behind him (even though he is pro-life), and whether the righties, like Limbaugh and Falwell, who dislike him, would fall in line (perhaps via a deal cut between McCain and the current president, assuming Dick Cheney doesn't strap on his heart juicer and run himself...). And that would take a considerable amount of pride-swallowing (which, actually, Rush might be quite good at by now...)

McCain would have one other big problem: his unswerving support for Bush's policy in Iraq, which turns off Democrats and authentic conservatives (meaning non-neoconservatives and Bush cultists) allike. Sure, Hillary basically backs the war, too, but she does so with consistent objections and an obvious desire to change course. McCain, for some ungodly reason given his combat experience, absolutely tows the Bush/neoconservative line, and would have a hard time convincing me, at least, that he would do a single thing differently in Iraq as president.

That alone might be enough to push the American people into Hillary's arms.

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posted by JReid @ 12:17 PM  
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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