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Posted by on Jan 21, 2008 in At TMV | 17 comments

John McCain & The Republican Death Wish



Beyond the recent fisticuffs between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over who is blacker, no aspect of this campaign season is more surreal than the view of too damned many Republicans that their most electable candidate is unacceptable.

That, of course, would be John McCain.

This counter-intuitive enmity – harshly articulated by disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who recently said “McCain has done more to hurt the Republican Party than any elected official I know of” – did not develop overnight.

In fact, it has been lurking in the shadows in the form of what McCain advocates call President Bush’s “Death Star,” the advocacy groups and lobbyists that backed Bush in 2000 and have remained Washington’s conservative power brokers.

Let’s get this straight: The most fervent supporters of the sorriest president in modern times, a man who has almost singlehandedly brought the Republican hegemony in Washington to an end and a once proud party to its knees, have their BVDs in a knot because McCain won’t drink their Kool Aid.

Extraordinary, isn’t it?

I probably should mention at this point that McCain is the only Republican whom I would consider voting for short of a successful Draft Chuck Hagel movement, which makes this state of affairs even more vexsome on a personal level.

In a Washington Post article headlined “McCain Faces Payback From Old GOP Foes,” reporter Jonathan Weisman wrote that:

“Over the past decade . . . McCain has annoyed, aggravated and nearly destroyed some of the most powerful members of Washington’s Republican establishment, creating a list of antagonists including anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and the vehement Gun Owners of America.

” ‘It is conceivable that he can be nominated because of the [primary] system we developed,’ said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a longtime McCain foe. ‘It’s not conceivable that he could come out of this nomination fight or the national convention with the kind of enthusiastic support he is going to need for the general election.’ ”

Weisman notes that McCain supporters seem to relish a fight with the Washington establishment:

“John Weaver, a longtime McCain adviser, said the senator’s opponents long ago lost their power and influence, even if they don’t realize it.

” ‘Here’s who John McCain has angered: self-described conservative lobbyists who basically represent special interests,’ Weaver said. ‘They’re angry at him because he has put the national interest in front of their special interests.’ “

So what’s a party establishment rooting against perhaps the only man who can prevent a Democratic takeover of the White House to do?

Hope for a McCain-Mitt Romney showdown, says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

“I think a lot of the establishment types in the GOP would rather go with Romney. And I think it’s a very open question how well McCain will do if this becomes a head to head race between McCain and Romney.

“There’s also the issue of open and closed primaries. South Carolina, like Michigan and New Hampshire, but not many of the coming primaries, is an open primary. But if you look at the numbers, John McCain lost Republicans by one point to Mike Huckabee [in South Carolina].

“There aren’t many open primaries left. And to best of my knowledge McCain has not won once this year among Republicans. He loses among Republicans and makes it up with big support from Independents.”

So there you have it. So-called establishment Republicans would rather almost certainly lose with Romney than possibly win with McCain.

Photo for Vanity Fair by Jonas Karlsson

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • superdestroyer

    The problem with the Republican Party is it can either commit suicide with John McCain with his open borders and unlimited immigration support along with restrictions of free speech and campaigning or the Republicans can continue their chronic collapse due to demographic changes in the U.S where there just are not enough middle class, private sector whites to maintain a political party.

    Either way, in the long run, the Republican Party will eventually become irrelevant to the political process and the U.S. will be the one party state that progressives seem very giddy to create.

    I just find it humorous but consistent that progressives writers want the Republican party to commit suicide quickly instead of waiting for the inevitable Republican decline.

    The other question is what kind of politics do the elite, white, progressive political writers think that U.S. will have when Hispanics and black voters dominate politics? Do the elite, white progressive activist really believe that they will maintain their power when the U.S. becomes a one party state? Seeing how elite white progessive avoid local politics in places in Philly, DC, Baltimore, Chicago, it seems that liberal progressives have not thought through what the changing demographics of the U.S. really means to politics.

  • MJDaniels53

    For Tom DeLay to accuse McCain of damaging the Republican Party is a little like Bill Clinton lashing out at Billy Graham for hurting the cause of sexual purity.

    Even granting the neoconservative establishment’s view that McCain is not their brand of conservative and is even “liberal” on some issues, his willingness to listen to and work with Democrats to get things done appeals to a large majority of US voters. Most US voters aren’t ideological purists and part of the disgust people have with the political process these days has to do with pols who are so “pure” ideologically that they don’t get anything done once they hold elective office.

    The stranglehold that people like DeLay have had on the Republican Party and which the Move On-style Democrats want to exert over their party is truly frightening. It’s harmful to the country and when allied with material and political acquisitiveness, as in the case of the corrupt Tom DeLay, it’s even more frightening…not to mention paralyzing.

    Mark Daniels

  • casualobserver

    Best tactical move for McCain would be to shift campaign rhetoric/focus to his support for border security. If he emphasizes that is the logical first step to concentrate on anyway regardless of what else is done later, my estimate is he stands to regain about 2 lost voters for each 1 open border afficianado he loses.

    That math could work, especially if HRC is the Dem candidate because knowledgeable Dems do not want to make Iraq/terrorism the lead issue in a campaign against a decorated hero. (yes, guys, I’d love to see you try that one out so that you can see just how inflated the “Kumbaya” movement actually is.)

  • superdestroyer

    McCain has zero credbility when discussing border security. The idiot Republicans in Congress fail to hold hearings or pass legislation when they were the majority. McCain has represented a border state for years without any achievements on border security or limiting immigration. When the open border supports have said jump, McCain has always been willing to jump for them. Everyone must realize that a McCain administration will support open borders and unlimited immigration because it would be the bipartisan thing to do. McCain is even too stupid to realize that all of the Hispanic who would have been given amnesty under the proposals would have become automatic Democratic voters and would have voted every Republican in Arizona out of office.

  • Slamfu

    The GOP is going to become irrelevant as long as it continues to serve shady corporate backers ahead of the american people. They’ve done everything they can to cover up that fact but after 8 years the people have caught on despite the rhetoric, secrecy, and distraction issues put forward by this administration. McCain is seen as someone not connected with that as so he has a shot at winning.

    Of course, those same power brokers have as much to lose from a McCain victory as they do from a Democrat in the oval office so they are simply going to back the most likely lapdog and hope he wins. The mere fact that Wiesman thinks that McCain would not have popularity in the general election is refuted quite nicely later in the article stating that in open primaries he wins. I.e. he has the support of independents which is exactly the kind of thing you need to win the general election. They don’t wish to see that though.

  • DLS

    There is nothing counterintuitive about conservatives’ and others’ disdain for McCain.

  • DLS

    “The GOP is going to become irrelevant as long as it continues to serve shady corporate backers ahead of the [A]merican people.”

    That is a convenient myth and fuel for Republican-bashing, but the Democrats do business with corporate interests as well, along with worse special interest groups.

  • DLS

    “The idiot Republicans in Congress fail to hold hearings or pass legislation when they were the majority”

    That’s where Slamfu had a legitimate point (usually nothing but hype or largely myth instead). Bush as well as many other Republicans often serve the business community, probably the most powerful and well-known GOP special interest group. They want lax immigration controls because this alleviates any labor shortages; ideally there would be a surplus, enabling many jobs to be paid at minimum wage (when not below that).

  • BradB

    “The problem with the Republican Party is it can either commit suicide with John McCain with his open borders and unlimited immigration…”

    Just because John McCain did not support mass deportation, doesn’t mean he is for unlimited immigration. Illegal immigration is not as simple as you or other mass deportation supporters might think. John McCain approached this issue in a very practical manner. He indeed agreed that his solution was not perfect and needed changes.

    The only other approach to illegal immigration problem by other candidates is “talking”; in case is of hopeless politicians like Tancredo, its “talking loud”. I would definitely vote for McCain as he has the guts to take on tough issues and he is not like other republican candidates pandering to special interest groups and lobbyists.

  • shaun

    One of the things that draws me to McCain as the only Republican I could vote for is that he is the only presidential candidate whose views on immigration reform are not merely based on punitive measures.

  • superdestroyer

    McCain was in the U.S. House when the last amnesty bill was passed to reform immigraiton. That program, in the long run, has been a disaster that has destroyed many places in the U.S. and allowed for the establishment of criminal gangs in the U.S., accelerated identify theft, and turned many formerly middle class neighborhoods into the barrio.

    Yet, many people are willing to overlooked passed failures, present conditions, and future problems due to unlimited immigration for the seemingly sole reason of political gain of the Democratic Party.

    Also, I wonder how many thousands of earmarks has the alleged fiscal conservative Senator McCain has inserted into budget bills. I know that there is no federally funded water project that Senator McCain would not support.

    In addition, Senator McCain has put his own children on the payroll of his campaign. Nothing else signals potential cronyism and corruption than putting your family members on the payroll. The same goes for Huckabee and Romney.

  • BradB

    “McCain was in the U.S. House when the last amnesty bill was passed to reform immigraiton.”

    The mistake last amnesty bill did was of not securing borders. We definitely need to secure our borders first (fence, agents,…) and then deport every criminal illegal immigrant. I do believe we should allow the ones who are here from years to stay.

    Mass deportation is not an option – Not because of ethical or political reasons, but because of practicality and feasibility.

  • superdestroyer

    During the last immigration reform, there was a promise for better border security and improving workplace enforcement. Yet, the security was unfunded and the workplace enforcement regulations were never propogated.

    The Democrats and the Republicans lied during the last immigration reform bill and thus have no credbility this time.

    They do not have to deport. They just have to greatly improve border security, establish interior immigration enforcement, pass a comprehensive workplace enforcement, use all sections of the government to enforcement immigration (such as the Social Security Administration investigating misuse of SSN), and force state and local government to assist in border enforcement.

    However, none of the candidates have gotten anywhere near making such proposals. Senator Obama’s immigration proposal is nothing but a repeat of the lies from the 1980’s while also massively increasing legal immigration. The Democratic Party’s proposal are nothing but open borders and unlimited immigration. They just give a little lip services to controlling the borders.

    McCain would sell out fiscal conservatives, pro-border enforcements, and the entire middle class of the U.S. in the name of bipartisanship. The only people you know he would not sell out are the Democratic party. He will end up doing whatever they want.

  • Slamfu

    GOP is always going to dissapoint you guys on the immigration front guys. Democrats are at least more up front about immigration. They are going to allow it to happen because they get more votes. GOP talk a tough game but really the cheap non-union labor of illegal immigrants is the backbone of many businesses who have their pocketbooks backjing the GOP. Pro-business folks tend to favor the GOP and they want the savings. My dad is right there with you guys, even worse he thinks illegals should be shot on sight. But when it came time to put that new deck in his backyard I certainly didn’t see him ask for proof of citizenship when those mexicans were doing the work. Why? Because that contractor was by far the cheapest. That in a nutshell is how things are going to work in the GOP with the immigration issue.

  • superdestroyer

    The Republicans who support open borders are like the media like the LA Times that has supported open borders and unlimited immigration. The business need to remember that they need the middle class and upper middle classes to support many of their business just like the LA Times needs literate, English readers to continue selling a newspaper.

    The open borders crowd is short sighted and foolish as the old big three automobile companies who failed to look into the future.

  • DLS


    “usually nothing but hype or largely myth instead”

    The corporate plutocracy hype, that is — what I wrote was not a characterization of Slamfu’s postings in general.

    * * *

    “They just have to greatly improve border security”

    The solution to Yucca Mountain NIMBYism — deposit the radwaste at random locations along the border.

  • Slamfu

    “The open borders crowd is short sighted and foolish as the old big three automobile companies who failed to look into the future.”

    I believe you have that backwards. The rallying cry of anti-immigrants from the start of this nation’s history has been how lazy uneducated poor immigrants will ruin this country. Yet every state that has signifigant immigration is and always has been an economic powerhouse as long as they’ve had that cheap labor force. Texas, California, New York are all prime examples. Its the closed border folks that are the short sighted ones.

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