Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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John McCain: Scoop Jackson Democrat

This is how Dean Barnett suggests conservatives should view John McCain as a coping mechanism should he become President. There’s something to the suggestion, it seems to me. It does bring to mind the legitimate point that there ought to be room for Scoop Jackson Democrats in the Republican party since there’s obviously no room for them among Democrats. But then Barnett considers McCain’s personal flaws and the many ways in which John McCain makes all charitable feelings toward him difficult for conservatives to muster. His latest remarks about ANWR are a perfect example of how he’s always willing to offer conservatives a gratuitous poke in the eye. Still, there’s a lesson in this. If conservatives don’t want to be guilty of imitating John McCain’s biggest vice, then conservatives ought to consider that when they’re wearing their GOP hat it might be wise NOT to poke Scoop Jackson Democrats in the eye.

Discussions - 7 Comments

I think this article is a bit of an exaggeration. But I actually agree that Giuliani and McCain are both something like Scoop Jackson Democrats. They are strictly speaking without a party now. It would be a mistake for the Republicans to completely alienate them, as Julie says. It would be equally a mistake, I think, to nominate one. There's a reason why Scoop never became president.

There's a reason why Scoop never became president.

And certainly not of the Republican Party.

Far from poking Scoop Jackson Democrats in the eye, the GOP seems to revolve around them. Let me see McCain or Giuliani take the level of abuse Huckabee has before you ask me to feel sorry for them.

Barnett : Interestingly, Republicans would universally welcome Lieberman's presence in the party. Some even feel he would make an ideal nominee for vice president.

Oh-kay. I think it is time to call a halt to this nonsense. It might help the GOP if at least one or two "right wing pundits" were even slightly right wing. Who is Barnett to pronounce Lieberman welcome to the party, and to the VP slot no less?

He is another pro-war liberal, that's who.

John, I don't feel sorry for John McCain either. (But really, I don't feel "sorry" for any of these guys.) John McCain's problems with conservatives are (almost) all of his own making. And the ones that are not of his own making stem from the ones that are. John McCain is not disliked among conservatives simply because he sometimes resembles a Scoop Jackson Democrat. It's his inclination to tweak them that turns them off. If he didn't do that, I really don't think many conservatives would be howling as much as they are about him. Similarly, Mitt Romney's problems (at least among conservatives) don't really stem from his Mormonism; they come from his own personal aptitude for looking less than genuine. And while I do think that Rudy's problems among conservatives stem from exactly this phenomenon, I don't feel especially sorry for him either. He had plenty of chances to build bridges in the early days of this election and, if he doesn't get the nomination, he can look back to those days, see his mistakes, and discover the reason. Peter suggests that while it's not a good idea to alienate those who resemble Scoop Jackson Democrats, it's also not a good idea to nominate one. That may be so from a strictly conservative point of view, so I respect his argument. But strict conservatives also need to remember that they've got a lot of persuading to do inside the electorate before they get to have the luxury of making such decisions. So it may come down to a choice between two Scoops. And then, which Scoop do you pick?

Stop right there Peter!

Giuliani does NOT go out of his way to piss off the base of the GOP. He may have disagreements with certain positions, but it's not like McCain, and it's not right for you to breezily compare McCain to Giuliani. McCain couldn't live with the idea of the base actually liking him. He ENJOYS, he deeply enjoys knowing that every hour of the day he's pissing off some member of the Republican base. That thought gives him deep pleasure.

And we ALL know it, we can see it, we'd be blind if we didn't see it. That's the kind of guy he is.

Julie, he does a bit more than "tweak" us, he infuriates us.

As for Rudy, he reached out, he appeared before groups like The 700 Club, and was well received too. It's just that he couldn't pander overmuch, otherwise he'd have looked exactly like Mitt Romney. Romney pandered to such an extent that he flipped on a host of issues; he didn't simply bend, he didn't simply display some elasticity, he broke in half, he about faced, he flipped. Thus he rendered himself such an abject spectacle, that he served as a cautionary to anyone else about the perils of pandering.

If Rudy loses his bid for the nomination, at least he can hold his head high. During this lengthy campaign season he bent somewhat, he moved to the right on immigration, LIKE most Americans, but those instances were wholly within the customs and usages of American politics. Nothing unusual, nothing outrageous, nothing unprecedented. He didn't pander, he didn't misrepresent himself and he didn't insult the American electorate. And for that we should all be thankful.

What Romney has done however is reveal the DEPTH and the PERVASIVENESS of the dry rot affecting our body politic.

As for McCain, if he should gain the nomination, I can assure you that by the time the general rolls around, his compelling biography will mostly bore the American people, and he'll be surprised when he finds himself rejected at the polls. A full year of nothing but the Hanoi Hilton and the ongoings at the Hanoi Hilton is NOT going to cut it. Like Kerry, he thinks he can run on the events of yesteryear. And like Kerry, he's going to find himself disabused of that unwise notion. But there is one thing that McCain has, he's got himself a sharp, classy wife. If she's looking that good now, God only knows how good she must have appeared in her prime.

Rudy did "build bridges," Rudy did reach out, Rudy brought on board men like Ted Olson.

But many of the groups before which Rudy appeared weren't content with the construction of bridges, they weren't satisfied by meet and greets, and they weren't inclined to accept professions that Rudy would govern consistent with the GOP platform. 12 LONG YEARS of the Bush family dissolved, like some chemical solvent, whatever trust and patience the base has for the GOP leadership. Few candidates in the long and glorious history of our party ever spoke to a base so unwilling to accept their statements at face value.

The thoroughgoing damage that the Bush men did to our party, EVEN TO THE DISCOURSE within our party, ESPECIALLY to the level of trust within our party, can't be stressed enough. It's almost as if the Rockefeller Wing emerged from their tomb of stone on a mission to destroy the modern and victorious GOP. Victory I suppose was just too much for the Rockefeller Republicans to countenance. They had to get us all back to that minority status, they had to get us back to being a faint echo of the Democrat party. That's hyperbole to be sure, .................................................................. but not by much.....................

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