It’s simple really. John McCain backed into the Republican nomination out of a sea of confusion, disunity, and complacency. You noticed over and over in key primaries early on. Republican turnout was about as robust as Eeyore making his way across the Hundred Acre Wood. Meanwhile Democrats were bouncing in Tigger fashion to pull the lever for their favorite candidate. Including in this bouncing were brand new voters being drawn in by a fresh new candidate the likes of which some had not seen in their lifetime.
Let’s face it, the Republican Party is in disarray and is trying desperately to hold on to power by using the same old playbook – one I’ll argue is outdated. The conservative wing of the Republican Party has been in a special kind of funk because they got McCain, the guy their beloved Bush Neocon patsy trampled over with vicious smears to reach the White House. Seeing John pander to Bush now on the White House lawn after the events in South Carolina in 2000 is a special kind of irony.
Conservatives now have to pretend to be enthused by the guy who is reported to have once thought about switching parties and join a Kerry-McCain ticket. That and his unwillingness to bend on torturing evil doers is a great strain on the soul of the modern day Republican Party. The candidate they now have is a fence-sitting wishy washy supposed straight talking maverick.
But while the conservatives wanted to dance to the beat of the same Bush drum, your average Republican voter seemed to want to pull away from the wingnuttiest of wingnuttery by going for the so-called “moderate”. Now the game for conservatives is to find out how much they can swing John over to the right.
There’s no doubt that the Republicans this time around are getting their “least worst” candidate. The Democrats, on the other hand, are battling it out at great lengths and with a furious flutter of primary politics to get their “greatest best” candidate. There’s a big difference here. The common spin on the Democratic primary has been that the protracted battle hurts the party overall. I once argued this, but through the lens of candidate preference. Now I’m not so sure. There is a reason for the energy. There is a reason for the intense battles among those who would otherwise have their guns trained on Republicans. It’s called political energy and enthusiasm and it must have the GOP machine absolutely in a panic. We are setting up for what could be a tidal wave of Democratic and Independent voters taking back our country from the insanity that is neo-conservatism and the modern day Republican Party (ie: not your father’s Republican Party).
John McCain is shaping up to be an opportunist of the highest order. Someone willing to bury incredibly hurtful smears in order to get a beloved conservative icon like Bush to endorse him. The Bush campaign once called McCain “the fag candidate” while Bush himself subtly reinforced such smears by publicly stating he would not hire openly gay people for his administration. Bush once smeared McCain’s daughter who was adopted from Mother Theresa’s orphanage in Bangladesh by calling up voters and telling them John had “fathered a black child”. Bush’s brain Karl Rove once spread rumors that John committed treason while a POW. Bush surrogates once called McCain a coward and a traitor and hinted at him being a “Manchurian Candidate”.
I’m not really sure how you assuage these types of vile attacks, but Senator McCain has not only let it flow like so much water under the bridge, but he has actively sought out the support of Bush in order to get elected and pander to the more “conservative” elements of the party through which he is seeking the Presidency.
It all smacks of political opportunism. I get the real sense that John personally thinks the Neocons are a bunch of idiots. He also thinks the Democrats are too liberal for his moderate Republican sensibilities. That only leaves an indpependent run and he’s too smart to think that a run on the Maverick Party ticket would pan out.
So John reluctantly accepts the position of Republican standard bearer and the modern day Republican Party, still heavily influenced by conservatives, reluctantly accepts John as their candidate.
The result a net loss of political energy that will undoubtedly run up against a tidal wave of energy from the Democrat side fully aligned behind their candidate Barack Obama. Every single poll showing heads up match-ups is bunk. They are completely meaningless especially when you have a settled candidate on one side and a lively battle on the other. The only reason McCain is even holding steady is because he’s flying under the radar and the Democrats are entrenched in a primary battle. As soon as the Democrat candidate is settled, look for that to change and change quickly. The political stage is set for historic change and there is usually nothing one can do once those wheels are in motion.
John McCain doesn’t stand a chance.