August 05, 2006

McCain - Bad Calls, More Bad Calls and an Ewww Factor

Shakes responds to the idea that John McCain is unbeatable in 2008 by providing an overview of the man, the myth, the opportunistic Bush-lovin' conservative Republican senior senator from Arizona. Of course he's beatable.

Posted by armand at August 5, 2006 04:40 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Politics


i agree with the post's overall point, but i'm annoyed that it ignored the obvious consistency of mccain's rejection of the FMA and his embrace of an arizona anti-gay-marriage provision. in rejecting the FMA, as the post notes, mccain took the old-school republican position that such matters were properly reposed in states' discretion. he never said anything about personally wanting gay marriage to be okay or saying that on the state level he'd lobby in favor of gay marriage. he said the decision belongs with the states, a procedural and structural point. once in the states, though, he never said he'd take one side or the other. it's okay not to like his position, but it's silly not to recognize that it in no way impugns his intellectual or political integrity. like most republicans, he's pretty much hated teh gays all along.

Posted by: moon at August 6, 2006 03:41 PM | PERMALINK

True, I think that point is handled poorly in the post, but I think it could have been framed differently and still fit with the post's theme - I don't remember what he was saying publicly at the time of the amendment debate in DC, but perhaps he was less than honest/forthcoming about what he REALLY thought/would do - that he fostered a "maverick" image more than he made clear the substance of his politics.

But that problem aside, I think this post raises quite a number of problems with McCain, lots that would make good campaign points against him, and of course it doesn't even get into some of the reasons I dislike his politics (say that he seems to support an intrusive state role in even more parts of society than Bush does - I mean baseball steroids anyone?).

Posted by: Armand at August 6, 2006 08:48 PM | PERMALINK

the other points i agree on, but the post even quotes his little government party line on where the gay marriage decision belongs. to my knowledge, he's never said anything to suggest he isn't, at heart, a social conservative.

Posted by: moon at August 7, 2006 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

And it would be nice if the Cokies of the world managed to point that out once in awhile. Of course he's a strong "social conservative". His 2004 Eagle Forum rating was a perfect 100. Quite the rebel - not.

Posted by: Armand at August 7, 2006 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

i think you nail it. for a while, i was charmed by mccain, but it was always an in-spite-of sort of charm for me, because i never thought he was a progressive waiting to happen. i'm actually sort of glad that the pressure of his heir apparency for the GOP nom has flushed him out of the brush on key issues, because i was never entirely comfortable with being charmed with him, and now i'm not charmed at all.

he was an appealing martyr when he appeared to be standing up to and distinguishing himself from the bush wing of the party. but now that he's acceded to the base, rather than reaching out to the center, he's signaled his true nature, and it's really unpleasant that he, of all people, is as much of a toadie to the party's basest exponents as the other big names.

i suppose i should be happy, inasmuch as the eminently beatable array of democratic hopefuls should fare better in a polarized election than they would against a moderate republican with the sort of compelling narrative mccain used to deploy, but somehow i'm not. it's just unseemly that the 10 or 12% of our population that represents the most repressive, fear-mongering underbelly of American culture continues to command half of the political stage. i really don't know if i have the stomach for another general election predicated on the convenient misrepresentation that that peculiar brand of bullshit actually represents the view of anyhing even approaching a plurality of americans.

but i can't see it going any other way. mccain seemed like the last best hope for some sort of more secular conservatism, something hearkening back to the small government conservatism of his political forebearers. but nothing could be more clear than that it ain't gonna happen.

and you're right that cokie and the rest ought to get down to business and call a spade a spade. mccain would be bush minus the inappropriate smirks. and that's not nearly enough of a change . . . for principled conservatives or the nation as a whole.

Posted by: moon at August 7, 2006 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's smarter than Bush. OTOH, I suspect he'd be even more authoritarian in practice, if a bit more careful in appearance.

Nobody who had anything to do with the campaign finance "reform" boondoggle will ever have a claim to being a small govt conservative. Never ever.

Posted by: jacflash at August 7, 2006 01:40 PM | PERMALINK

Actually I agree that he'd likely be more authoritarian in practice. As witnessed by baseball and "campaign finance reform" there's little he doesn't want to regulate. And he appears much more focused than Bush (who depending on how you look at it is either lazy or a huge delegator, so there's room for a lot of his more authoritarian tendencies/wishes to fall through the cracks before they are implemented).

Posted by: Armand at August 7, 2006 01:59 PM | PERMALINK

a focused bush . . . {shiver}.

thanks -- now i'm not going to sleep for a week.

Posted by: moon at August 7, 2006 04:07 PM | PERMALINK

Better hope Edwards is as good a candidate as y'all seem to think he is. :-)

Posted by: jacflash at August 7, 2006 04:33 PM | PERMALINK

What, we shouldn't hope Romney, Huckabee, Allen or Hagel can take out McCain? OK I doubt Hagel can and I hope Allen doesn't - but hey that leaves Romney and Huckabee.

I don't know how good a candidate Edwards will prove to be - but at this moment I'd say he and Warner have the best shot (among the Dems). Though every day that goes by without Edwards raising more money is another day you have to wonder about his campaign - at least a little bit.

Posted by: Armand at August 7, 2006 05:59 PM | PERMALINK

two young, vigorous, good-narrative moderate dems against any of the potential fusty, doomsaying, barbarian(/gays/transparency-in-government-fanatics)-at-the-gates-variety republicans sounds pretty damned winnable to me.

romney? come on. this country's more ready for hillary than it is for a mormon.

Posted by: moon at August 7, 2006 08:55 PM | PERMALINK

Romney is damned impressive in person and on the stump, and his record is pretty strong, and I actually think he's a pretty good guy, all things considered, but I agree with Moon: the Mormon thing will doom him.

Posted by: jacflash at August 7, 2006 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

What, there isn't religious tolerance in America? I'm shocked; shocked I tell you.

Posted by: baltar at August 7, 2006 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

I think you two are probably right, but I'm not entirely convinced yet. Why? Because so far he's been running an extremely good campaign - and the ability to run a good campaign can outweigh resume factors. He hasn't made a single wrong step yet and he's made lots and lots of right ones. And the ground team he's building around the country is stocked full of top GOP talent.

The Mormon thing is a weakness, as is the press's tiresome love affair with McCain - but I think he's too savy and talented a pol to be discounted yet.

Posted by: Armand at August 7, 2006 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

i agree that romney can't be written off entirely yet, but i thought his past record was more speckled than all that. i can't remember what it was, but when the Times magazine did its piece on him a few months back, i remember thinking, "This guy can't go the distance," and it was more than the mormon thing. ugh, i need memory pills or something.

Posted by: moon at August 8, 2006 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Reynolds and others are talking up the idea of a Giuliani-Romney ticket. Thoughts on how that'd play in Peoria (and Boise)? I can't see Giuliani getting traction in primaries in the hardcore red states, but I might be wrong.

Posted by: jacflash at August 12, 2006 09:34 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think he would, either, but I've been wrong before (actually, often) about what would fly. If Giuliani doesn't run, what else is he going to do?

Posted by: baltar at August 12, 2006 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I think Giuliani will probably run. Question is, will he get anywhere in the primaries?

(Aside: I admit to being amused by the slim but distinct possibility that a Giuliani-Romney ticket could end up winning MA. I can't imagine any other combination of GOP stars that would have even the faintest of chances.)

Posted by: jacflash at August 12, 2006 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

i will say this about giuliani -- the thought of him in national politics was about the scariest credible thing i could imagine before 2000. now it's the second scariest thing. seriously. if you thought bush was an autocrat who despises transparency, concensus, etc. . . . wow, giuliani's a nutbag who gained national acclaim for reading the same script that any mayor's staff would have put in his hands on 9/11 and in the days that followed. but for those of us who were around the city during the earlier days of his mayoralty, just {shiver}. . .

Posted by: moon at August 14, 2006 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Moon, I hear you, but compared to Bloomberg he kinda looks like a libertarian, at least at this distance. And while I'm not exactly a Giuliani fan, I do think that President Giuliani is a much less scary prospect at this point in history than another iteration of President $Evangelical_True_Believer.

Posted by: jacflash at August 14, 2006 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

giuliani, given the chance, would be a secular bush -- except instead of coming from his nutjob staff, rudy's ideas would all be homegrown. seriously, nobody remembers that he was sued and lost something like 30 consecutive times on matters such as press access, sequestration of public records, etc. he has no more respect for democracy than bush, and quite possibly less.

i don't think the same is true of bloomberg, though i'm no longer in or around the city and so don't follow NYC politics very closely. i don't mind lovers of democracy with different convictions than my own; our democracy by design soften the edges of the most disturbing leaders. i fear most those leaders who manifest little regard for democracy, and on that front rudy's every bit as scary as dear leader.

Posted by: moon at August 14, 2006 01:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, but is he as scary as George Allen?

Posted by: jacflash at August 15, 2006 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

That was just off the charts wacko. Even if he doesn't know that macaco means "monkey" in several languages or that it's an insult for north african immigrants in particular, he's got to have half a clue that singling out the one brown man in the room and saying "welcome to america" is stupid. He might not even think it's wrong (obviously) but as a politician, he's got to know it's stupid.

Or not, as the case may be.

Posted by: binky at August 15, 2006 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Did you read the New Republic piece on Allen a couple of months back? He's like Bush, only bigoted, much stupider, and way less compassionate.

Posted by: jacflash at August 16, 2006 07:54 AM | PERMALINK

Ooh, and I just read a comment by Sirkowski over at Liberal Avenger noting that Allen speaks French, as his mother was a Euro-Tunisian (near the bottom of the page). This lowers the chances of him being naive about foreign language and north african slurs.

Posted by: binky at August 16, 2006 03:38 PM | PERMALINK

He didn't just pick the word out of thin air. Is anyone other than his campaign seriously arguing otherwise?

Posted by: jacflash at August 16, 2006 04:02 PM | PERMALINK

actually, best i can tell, that's exactly what they're arguing. "it means what?"

Posted by: moon at August 16, 2006 10:36 PM | PERMALINK
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