Dick Morris’ latest attempts to grab attention for himself come at the expense of John McCain’s campaign to be the Republican nomination for 2008. A Voice of Reason, in a most interesting post, takes Morris’ view that McCain’s campaign is faltering at the first hurdle and looks into the reasoning behind this.
A lack of campaign finance is naturally a huge concern. John McCain’s website (www.johnmccain.com) lists numerous fundraising events that are happening in the near future, indicating that McCain is aware of this problem. On the other hand, McCain might not feel too concerned by the absence of millions in his campaign chest – after all, he is the most well-known of all the candidates and as a Senator his views have received much attention without the need for excessive campaigning. Hopefully, the McCain team are aware that his celebrity status will not be enough to win the Republican nomination.
A Voice of Reason makes a fair point when he states, “McCain doesn’t seem to be the same maverick who was willing to buck the system.” McCain’s compassionate conservatism (illegal immigration, environment) has traditionally appealed to moderate voters from both parties and to a seemingly growing number of independents/undecided. This would be ideal if he were running for the Presidency right now. However, the nomination/primary system dictates that any politician has to appeal to their own party first and foremost. Thus, almost every candidate from both parties is having to ‘nuance’ their feelings on major issues and to tow the party line to some extent. McCain is no exception; a maverick politician usually has more work to do than a political poodle in convincing the base to choose him as the candidate.
The problem arises when the compassionate conservative makes attempts to ‘appease’ the extremists of the party; if the ‘old guard’ Republicans accept him and choose him as a candidate, they run the risk of having a Presidential candidate who will be accused of flip-flopping to win the nomination. The moderates and independents would understandably begin to wonder if this candidate can be trusted to stick to his principles and his word.
At present, I personally believe McCain retains (‘hangs onto by a thread’ might be more accurate) his maverick reputation in that his so-called ‘flip-flops’ could be seen more as changes in emphasis rather than policy.
His belief in sending more troops to Iraq (much earlier than the timing of this latest surge) might well be the proverbial albatross around his neck. On the other hand, a change in fortune in Iraq (however unlikely that might seem) might tip the balance in his favour, as might the growing threat of Iran. Voters might see McCain as the most reliable candidate to defend America’s interests. This situation could also bode well for Giuliani who has the reputation for handling a crisis at the time of homeland America’s darkest hour with calmness, intelligence and resolve.
As it stands, McCain seems to be gaining ground on Giuliani in the polls (if they mean anything). Talk of a dire situation for the McCain team seems somewhat hyperbolic. Dick Morris has his own agenda which seems to gravitate around the theory of getting as much publicity for himslef as possible.
If the leading two candidates for the Republican nomination are not McCain and Giuliani when it comes down to the crunch, the Republican Party will have shot itself in the foot. I, too, am pleased to see the apparently cordial relationship that exists between John and Rudy. Maybe a dream ticket in the offing? They would be unbeatable.