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January 17, 2008



With all due respect to John McCain's service to our country, if he's so damn ineffable as a presidential candidate,

There is a reason Republican primary voters are so confused by Mr. McCain. He is a Republican who is disliked by the hard core of his party but loved by many independents and Democrats. He is almost universally regarded as a moderate and a maverick, a combination that independents love and conservatives loathe. The trouble with this widespread understanding of Mr. McCain’s politics is that it is entirely wrong.

then he can politely go eff himself.



John McCain found his job in the New York Times.

Ought to play well [for his opponents] in South Carolina.

Rick Ballard

From the first NYT piece: "Mr. McCain, who has acknowledged that the attacks in 2000 and his subsequent loss in South Carolina left him feeling angry and sorry for himself"

Just as he is today.

McCain should be pleased that his propensity to roll over has resulted in such a nice tummy scratch by the NYT and WaPo, the Republican go to sources for reliable information of interest to party regulars.

It's odd that they didn't mention the number of party leadership positions to which McCain has been elected. They don't even mention all the Senate leadership positions to which he has been elevated by admiring colleagues.

How odd. Surely they should mention the esteem in which he is held by people who know him best as evidenced by their willingness to elect him as a leader. After all, he seeks a nomination to represent them nationally as the face of the party for some years.


I don't know what my problem is. Eight years ago I was mad about McCain. He was the "prefect candidate". At the beginning of this election cycle he wasn't my first choice but I liked him alright. It's January and I can't stand him. What gives?

Other Tom

Keep your eye on the prize, folks. The prize is keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House.


Well, perhaps S Car will be his undoing again.
BTW rumors are flying that Leahy is endorsing Obama this afternoon--I see knife fights in the cloakroom.



The prize is keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

Indeed it is, but I'm not optimistic. The NYT tummy scratch is only to butter him up-then the drip, drip, drip of "Mr. Keating 5" and "Mr. Straight Talk and the Telecom Lobbyists" from his days as chair of the Commerce Committee. I'm sure the NYT will do a Judy Miller special on him right before the convention if he were to have a lock on the nomination.

Rick Ballard

Whether McCain can shoot the Red Witch off of her broom is dependent upon the composition of the largely undifferentiated muddle in a handful of states.

I hope that Rich is successful in his attempt to define the muddle. I believe that resonance with women under 45 is a key component (the age composition of the muddle skews younger than the standard VEP voter model) where McCain seriously underperforms. His embrace of the spurious AGW hypothesis is an attempt enhance his appeal but he's just in a bidding war which any of the Dem clowns will win.

I'm betting that the economy will remain the strongest single issue in November and that ain't exactly McCain's strong suit. On a straight gender basis, Romney did marginally better with women in MI while McCain did much better with women in NH. Which state better represents the battleground states of OH, MO and FL?

I don't think that the 'best suited to beat the witch' title will be determined until after the results of the 5th have been sifted. It may be better if it's not decided prior to the convention.

It's always possible that the Clinton's repeated attempts to suppress minority voters will work against them to the point where she can't even cackle her way to the nomination.


It's January and I can't stand him. What gives?

The key is to only take him in in small doses. Read the liveblogs instead of directly watching the debates (hah! that works for me, at least)

Other Tom

From RCP:

"The new Reuters/C-Span/Zogby tracking poll is out (Jan 14-16), showing little overnight movement, but a slight up tick for Thompson:

"McCain 29 (nc vs. previous day)
Huckabee 22 (-1)
Thompson 14 (+2)
Romney 12 (-1)
Paul 5 (-1)
Giuliani 5 (nc)"

I assume that those polled are all Republicans. I believe (but am not sure) that the SC primary is not open, and that only Repubs can vote in the GOP primary--correct?


OT, I think the SC primary is open, and Florida is closed.

So maybe that's why the big push in the NYT, because he needs as much momentum going into FL as possible, and there's only a few days before SC, and open primaries help McCain.

Rick Ballard

"the SC primary is not open, and that only Repubs can vote in the GOP primary--correct?"

No. It's open with the proviso that in the event a runoff is required, a voter must vote in the runoff primary of same party in which they cast their initial vote.

The really wicked thing in SC is that the Dem party votes a week later than the Reps. The county registrars are going to have a busy week with their eligibility lists.


Mr. McCain, who has acknowledged that the attacks in 2000 and his subsequent loss in South Carolina left him feeling angry and sorry for himself

The re-hashing of that story, and the special place it is given, bugs the dickens out of me. Although I find the whole "black baby" story slimey, how is it worse than the secret drug dealer story. How is it worse than any of the bajillion other smears that get tossed around during every election?
It isn't. It's been used as a cudgel against Rove, and a balm for the saddened media who couldn't beart to see McCain lose to Bush. I assume anybody who brings that story up as a defining moment is a robot.

Rick Ballard

"I assume anybody who brings that story up"


That would be Elisabeth Bumiller, noted Republican cheerleader at the NYT. I don't think she's smart enough to be a robot though. ClymerClone, yes. Robot, no.

Cecil Turner

This bit of liberal history repackaging is particularly inane:

He knew a bungled war when he saw one and pressed early for increased force levels. He backed the injection last year of some 30,000 troops, a surge that has produced results.
Bad news for the war protesters pretending to martial prowess: "more troops" is not a strategy. And claiming "more troops" would've been a panacea--if only the evil Bushies had recognized the received wisdom of the ages spouted by a bunch of folks who not only don't study war, but are militantly opposed to using the national mechanisms for it--is not only not proven, it's not even persuasive. Moreover, a casual glance at the recommended troop levels suggested by those who claimed they were necessary shows the numbers were generally in the category of "more than we have" rather than any pretense of practical operational advice.

Here's an alternate theory on troop levels: it's related to occupation strategy (shocking, huh?). If one wants to patrol neighborhoods, it's considerably more troop-intensive than laagering. It's also related to willingness to use violence: it takes fewer troops to reduce insurgent strongholds than to "keep the lid on." The primary shift under Petraeus's "surge" was a change in strategy to a more hands-on COIN approach, not merely the increase in numbers.

McCain was undone amongst Republicans and conservatives because of his support for the surge?

I think his point was that the lessening anti-war sentiment breathed new political life into McCain . . . a point on which I agree. However, IMO, it just means McCain was right once. (Which still ain't a bad record, at least on Iraq.)


"The county registrars are going to have a busy week with their eligibility lists"

I just can't see how they can possibly track who is voting where. It is just not that easy to do.


Two stories that appear to be related:


Mac is back in South Carolina...But Why?

This is an upbeat blog:

When I traveled with the McCain campaign in early November, a reporter asked the Senator (who was still polling poorly) how he planned to win the nomination. McCain said he would do it the traditional way, by winning two of the following three early contests -- Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina (he didn't mention Michigan, which may help explain at some level why his message to Republicans in that state was so off-key).

McCain acknowledged that his prospects in Iowa weren't very good, so it became clear he was banking on New Hampshire and South Carolina. Even back then, a McCain victory in New Hampshire seemed quite possible to me, but I wondered how he could reasonably expect to win in South Carolina, an extremely conservative state in which only Republicans can vote. McCain explained that, unlike in 2000, he had secured endorsements from key members of the state's Republican establishment. But with polls showing him barely reaching double digit support and running well behind Romney, Thompson, and (in some polls) Giuliani, this sounded like wishful thinking.

Yet today, McCain is at the front of the pack in every South Carolina poll I've seen, and holds a lead of 8 percentage points over Mike Huckabee (ironically, the only contender not ahead of him in early November) in the RCP average.

But now there's a new Rasmussen poll out:

South Carolina Republican Primary

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary shows that John McCain and Mike Huckabee are tied at 24%. In a race that has already seen four different candidates with the lead, much could still change in the coming days--7% of voters have yet to make up their mind, 10% say there’s a good chance they could change their mind, and another 24% might change their mind.

Mitt Romney attracts 18% support and Fred Thompson 16%.


Knife fights in the cloak room? I'll go with Leahy on that one as long as Hillary can't fight by proxy.

Marti Garlow Leib

In a day and time in American history when we are faced with challenges that demand a spirit of unity and cooperation, it is an affront to moral, social and ethical principles for candidates seeking public office to use negative “strategic smear tactic” campaigning to try to help themselves win the support of the voting public. Unity of spirit does not require uniformity in belief, but it most assuredly requires a display of fairness, integrity and civility between dissenting, vying and opposing forces.
We are in an election year when our Youth are showing a genuine and encouraging interest in becoming sincerely engaged in the process of choosing forward-looking leaders. This is a significantly hopeful difference. Surely it is more inspiring and beneficial to the young leaders of the future when candidates seeking public office display appropriate guidance by simply stressing their own qualities of expertise, personal characteristics, and strengths rather than engaging in negative, misleading and deceitful “smear” tactics against opponents? It should seem more logical to any thinking human being that the most technically trained, socially loyal, morally fit and intellectually competent candidate is the one who demonstrates his principles are imprinted in his or her own steps along the pathways of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. I challenge the candidates, and those who support them, to accept and assert responsibility as appropriate guides to the Youth of this nation by leading them down the “high road” of fairness, integrity, honesty and civility as we go through this important process of choosing leaders.


Thanks, Marti, I needed a little more self esteem.


I continues to astonish me that the conservative taliban will let their hatred of hispanics hand the WH to Hillary or Obama. Blinded by hate.

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