Wednesday, April 12, 2006


The Closet McCain
Psst … he's not really a conservative. By Jacob Weisberg

Anyone who watches the Sunday morning talkfests, and probably anyone with half an ear tilted toward the political world, knows that John McCain is going to run for president again in 2008. If the polls are to be believed, the job is his for the asking--if he can just win the damned Republican primary.

Based on this, Jacob Weisberg's thesis today should be obvious, but for some reason we liberals can't read between the lines. McCain's recent pandering to the right has been uncomfortable for him--and some of those to whom he panders know it. But as the kabuki goes on, and McCain continues to show himself willing to put on an act, those on the right are likely to find a way to stomach him as their best chance to win.

Haven't we learned anything from The West Wing? The only way Republicans will have a chance to win in 2008 is to run from the center--and, while McCain is gesturing to the right at the moment, when only freaks like me and them are paying attention, he's one of their two great centrist hopes. (Giuliani is the other, but right now McCain gets all the attention.) This was the exact scenario that played out on WW--Democrat Matt Santos barely won over the moderate Arnold Vinick, while he probably could have trounced the bulldog they have playing the now-ousted Speaker of the House.

Leaving aside the issue of who our Santos should be, isn't it clear we should do everything possible to avoid them nominating their Vinick? Look, I like McCain, but he's not the guy I want as my backup choice in 2008. For one thing, despite his campaigning for Bush in 2004, he doesn't deserve to have to answer for all of Bush's misdeeds, nor does Bush deserve such an eloquent defender. But more importantly, 2008 may be a chance to show the country a real choice and face an electorate in the mood for our brand of government rather than theirs. We have two years to decide what that means--in the meantime, though, we should spread the word about McCain. He's posturing! He's not a real conservative! He's one of us!

Republicans have governed as extremists for the last five years. Their standard-bearer should be one of them, not a nice guy who keeps the label out of loyalty.

1 comment:

Victoria said...

I'd just like anyone to run from the center. Being a moderate sucks ass at election time.