Tuesday, May 24, 2005

So- who really won?

Not Frist, obviously. Not really Reid, either.

McCain. The big winner. The really big winner.

While extremist right wingers deplored the deal, just about everyone else loved it. Running a country as large as the United States isn't easy- partisanship has its place in policymaking, but when it comes to the business of governance itself, there is simply too much to lose to have allowed a house of Congress to close up shop while the President and his hatchet slip a roofie into the national Red Bull and vodka.

What people love about McCain- hell, what I love about McCain- is that he is beholden to noone. Politicking is about branding, same as in cars and colas. Bush was "Decisive Leadership," while Kerry was "Careful Reflection." McCain is "Principled Maverick;" doing the thing he thinks is right, no matter who else agrees or disagrees with him. This is not unlike the Karl Rove spin on the President (a decisive man of principles), except for the fact that the President is in more pockets than a Times Square hooker when the disability checks come out. McCain is nobody's pocket.

Of course, the bulk of Republican activsts feel like McCain stabbed them in the back, making it that much harder for him to win the Republican nomination in 2008. He certainly has more name recognition than any of his possible primary opponents- and far more than any possible Democrat except for John Kerry, Al Gore, and Hilary Clinton (in none of those cases is the name recognition a plus). McCain- a man whose love of country is unquestionable- has just won the Presidency in 2008, if he can get past the primaries against people with half the qualifications and a tenth the integrity.

The Republicans have to be careful. Control of all three branches of government is a recipe for backlash- which has already begun. The social conservatives do not mask their contempt for anyone whose worldview differs from their own. Their attempts to install a theocracy of (a particular brand of millenial apocolyptic) Christitanity are naked, unbridled efforts to expand and enlarge their power base- not to serve God. McCain, who is neither overtly religious nor particularly interested in the social consertive's pet issues (abortion, gay marriage, Terry Schiavo), will not have that wing of the party's support. Between 25 and 45 percent of the primary voters- out of play.

Slightly off topic- a three way race in 2008. Frist vs. Hillary vs. McCain.... hmmmmmm. Social conservatives obviously back Frist and latte liberals get behind Hillary. The middle gets in back of McCain. A little electoral math and I could see a three way tossup. Hmmmmmmmm...

Of all Republicans, I do not fear McCain's leadership. I do not necessarily agree with him- recent comments he's made praising Bush on the the war made me wince- but I believe that he will make all his decisions with the best interests of the nation at heart, and after having listened to all the evidence (unlike the current President). An informed, cautious leader- one can only hope.

1 comment:

Brew said...

It seems really unlikely that the current GOP leadership will let McCain expand his roll any further. They were clearly unhappy with the deal - and clearly they thought it was an end run around their policy goals.

So, I think they'll crush him - maybe not with the same vitriol they used to crush his 2000 campaign, but crushed none the less.