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Is McCain the Establishment Candidate Now?

According to Bob Novak, it’s because of his electability. But, to his credit, McCain refuses to be "Ms. Congeniality" or confused with Bob Dole. Novak speculates that the vacuum to his right, especially if Romney falters, might be filled by Oklahoma’s Frank Keating, whom I remember sort of vaguely as a very good governor and as Bush’s likely running mate in 2000 until Cheney took the reins. So there’s another very long shot for ya’.

Discussions - 17 Comments

Novak has a directly related column ">">,CST-EDT-novak18.article"> today about whether the Bush administration is prepared to change course on Israel-Palestine. One can foresee the Republicans becoming as divided over foreign policy as the Democrats.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone of note or stature to McCain’s right to threaten him, other than Gingrich that is. But Gingrich carries a toxic cloud with him wherever he goes, because he was made toxic by baseless ethics accusations. So the greatest challenge to Gingrich is a question of electability. McCain carries no such burden. McCain isn’t the establishment nominee so much as he’s one of the two clear choices of the GOP. It’s either going to be him or Rudy. If Allen had run a real, substantive campaign, he might have had a chance. And if Santorum had won reelection, he would have shot up on a very short list of men to be considered for the ticket. But both were defeated. Romney has played fast and loose with certain core issues, and he’s a Mormon, which even if it doesn’t hurt, certainly isn’t going to help. So I see Gingrich maybe firing up the base, and taking advantage of what I suspect might be an "articulation backlash." After 8 years of the Verbal Cripple in Chief, Gingrich’s ease and felicitation with the English language will seem a breath of fresh air. Moreover, Gingrich has been getting tossed hard balls on various talk shows for years. Has McCain, has Rudy. During the debates, Gingrich could easily dominate, while McCain and Rudy are seen to be slipping and sliding around issues.

The GOP debates are going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

Gingrich’s gift of gab is also his greatest liability. Since he began his post-Speaker career as a "public intellectual" he’s offered an opinion on every matter under the sun. That’s fine if you’re running for Philosopher King, but unfortunately there is no such position in our federal system.


There is such a position in our federal government. It is named Supreme Court justice (and that is not a good thing).

Those who think Republican primary voters would swallow Newt: why not Rudy? Or, imagine them in a debate. Rudy would turn out to be the more serious: New Yorkers know how to talk, too.

Steve T., I wouldn’t bet the farm on Rudy prevailing over Gingrich in a debate. Giuliani has spent much of his lifetime in the law, whereas Gingrich has spent his existence studying war, statecraft, history, strategy.

Phil is dead right that Newt has a run-on mouth, a "noisy mind," keen on sharing with his listeners his views on various subjects. But after 8 years of GW telling us "where his heart is," or "what’s on my heart," Gingrich CLEARLY revealing what he’s THINKING, and not just "feeling" could easily be a breath of fresh air.

Just ask yourself if you are wearied with GW’s communicative efforts and style. Which Republican doesn’t enjoy Gingrich skewing sacred cows on the talk shows. Which of us doesn’t appreciate his ability to make the complex clear, his ability to cut to the chase.

And Steve Sparks is dead right in his observations about the high court. What Stephen Breyer is doing presently is appalling, anti-American, unconstitutional and utterly appalling.

Steve T., I can easily see the party embracing Rudy, and tendering him the nomination. Rudy has difficulties though, that needs to be understood. Each of the three main contenders has problems, McCain, Rudy, Gingrich. I don’t think that Romney is enough of a heavy hitter to really enter the race and make a serious go of it.

Here’s my opinion: 1. Newt has no significant natural base, does have the air of amorality about him, and not a chance in hell. 2. I think the electability issue will gradually turn in favor of Rudy over John--if people end up craving tough competence and the character associated with genuine statesmanship, they’ll go with the proven record of excecutive effectiveness. 3. Romney’s fate is genuinely up in the air and largely in his hands. 4. Brownback will end up raising hell (or heaven or whatever) in at least Iowa... %. Frank Keating deserves a look, at least.

Please define what you mean when you say that Newt has "no significant natural base." He’s the foremost Conservative in the race. His base would be those that would like to see a Conservative get the nomination, especially after 8 years of George Walker Bush doing everything he could to destroy Reaganism. I don’t know what the Devil you meant with that. As for the "taint of amorality about him," is Rudy oozing morality, don’t you recall the funeral mass of John Cardinal O’Connor, where Donna Hannover was outside dishing dirt on Rudy. Rudy availed himself of the female help, if that bio pic starring James Woods is to be believed. And as for not having a chance, the same was said of Ronald Wilson Reagan, and the same was said of his efforts to overturn the Democrat majority in the House. Even his Gettysburg trilogy was pronounced a failure, that is before it went on to sell a great many books, generating huge interest in his counter-factual history. So Newt is used to accomplishing the impossible.

How can you say that Romney’s fate is "up in the air and largely in his hands." His deft dancing on certain important issues to the Republican party is a matter of record, it’s historical fact, he might be able to rise above his previous slipperiness, and I wish him luck in his attempts, but the matter is more in the hands of the GOP, then it is in his. It’s up to us now, it’s up to us to determine whether we shall make a big issue of his previous dance, or whether we will let it slide.

How Rudy and McCain shall battle it out is yet unclear. For one of the main issues that shall inform the struggle for the nomination is Iraq, Iran, and how the President governs in the next two years. If GW chooses to implement the will of the establishment, McCain could be left trying to salvage something worthwhile from the wreckage of the Bush administration.

But I think it’s a safe bet that it will either be Rudy or McCain. It is well to recall that Rudy is going to have one hell of a problem explaining away his pro-choice, pro-homosexual nuptials positions. I don’t know how he’s going to do it, and rest assured, McCain is going to use his strong pro-life track record against Rudy.

If you meant that Newt has no state behind him, and thus has no "natural base," I would ask you to identify "natural base" that Richard Nixon had when he won the nomination in ’68. And what natural base that George Herbert Walker Bush had when he sought the nomination in 1980. Clearly the lack of any elected office held at that time didn’t hinder either man in his quest. GHWB probably would have won the nomination but for the fact that he went up against a political heavyweight, Ronald Reagan. Likewise, what base did RR have in 1980?

It needs to be noted that the Republican party hasn’t turned to anyone who wasn’t a fully known commodity, examine the career of RR, GHWB who was then Vice President, Bob Dole, then Majority leader and Senator for many a year, and then we turned to the Governor of Texas, George Walker Bush, who had defeated a heavyweight, Ann Richards, and decisively won reelection. We don’t turn to the untested, unless they are men like Grant, Eisenhower, who clearly have other attributes and accomplishments to recommend them. Rudy has serious accomplishments behind him, is known, popular, very popular, and nobody in our party wants to dislike him. McCain has an incredibly compelling biography, is a man of mercurial character, not a man to be trifled with, takes politics seriously, and has assiduously courted the media. But also has driven good chunks of the GOP base crazy.

Recall too how well McCain’s speech at our last Convention was received, for someone who aggravates the base, he also has the ability to provide leadership, and he doesn’t dodge a fight.

It will surely be interesting to observe this Presidential campaign season.

I think Newt has more of a chance than Peter allows him...those ethics charges are pretty old now, none where proven, and his divorce...hell, we elected a womanizer TWICE. To counterbalance his "toxic cloud," he has but to point to the "Contract with America." I think he is a very strong contender.

Nonetheless, my money would be on Rudy. He is associated with those days just after 9/11, and his record (cleaning up crime in New York, administering the crisis post 9/11) is stellar (at least in the eyes of conservatives). If anyone can beat O’Billiary, it’s Rudy.

Our problem is the state of Republican affairs in Ohio. Our party of late has done its level best to kill brand. WE’RE the ones now associated with runaway fiscal spending. And the one commanding position we held with the American people was foreign affairs, but GW’s waffling between internationalism and unilateralism is simply killing us. George Bush’s ENTIRE second term has been delivered over to drift, it’s a situation where others are driving the train, and he’s simply a bystander. We’ve never taken the White House without Ohio, and the Ohio GOP has created an absolute mess of the Buckeye State. The Democrats are picking up seats at our expense because we’ve embraced Rockefeller Republicanism, whereby we offer the same as the Democrats, just less of it. We can’t win a bidding war with the Democrats, they’ll always outbid us. GW, Gerson, Rove, Card, et al, have created a situation where our domestic salience is lost, which leaves our claim to leadership one of social values and foreign affairs. But there too GW and his team are trying to forge a "new tone." He NEVER wanted to appoint Alito, or anyone like Alito for that matter. He wanted Meirs, he wanted another O’Connor, he wanted another Kennedy, he wanted somebody to balance out Roberts, he wanted to do what his father did, balance Thomas by Souter. That’s all "new tone." His second term has been a disaster.

Well, I could be wrong...It could be that I just don’t find Newt likeable and was a little bit too close to a couple of his questionable ethical calls.

Who cares about his ethics if he knows how to wage and win this war? I’m interested in victory, not in pretending that there aren’t personal fortunes to be made in politics.

Newt probably isn’t very personable. But I’m a Conservative, and not looking for someone to "feel my pain." Whatever favourable view of Compassionate Conservatism that I might have held, George Walker Bush forever destroyed. So I’m not looking for anyone to be personable, nor to feel my pain, not to play well with the other children in the sand lot. No. I’m looking for someone to spend every hour of his day making the lives of our enemies miserable and brief. I think McCain can do that, Rudy is a lawyer, and might be too enamored of a lawyer’s procedural approach to solving problems. War is a place where law and norm breaks down. Especially with an enemy who recognizes only one law, shariaa, which rejects the very foundational of international "law," which is a contrivance of the West.

There are some typos in my last post, but you guys get the gist, unlike the Bush White House, you’re not slow on the uptake.

Dan, Very spirited, but so far you’re the first to accuse Rudy of being too attached to procedure. Talk to the NYC Mafia about that.

Lawyers are temperamentally vulnerable to claims of legality, procedure. Right now I suspect placing a lawyer in the White House. Rudy may be impervious to such temptations, God I hope so, for he very well might get the nomination.

I like Rudy though, and if he gets the nomination, I’ll vote for him. He’s tough. McCain is too. Rudy could easily carry New Jersey. Democrats can’t win without the Garden State.

I’d like to support Rudy as well, but I’d like to know more about his "social" positions. I know he’s OK with abortion...what else? Gay marriage? Does he dislike private ownership of guns? How is he on affirmative action and other multicultural lunacies?

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