Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Repubs Begin to Get It

New York Times headline this morning: “Some in G.O.P. Express Worry Over ’08 Hopes” The article by Adam Nagourney and John M. Broder leads off saying, “Republican leaders across the country say they are growing increasingly anxious about their party’s chances of holding the White House, citing public dissatisfaction with President Bush, the political fallout from the war in Iraq and the problems their leading presidential candidates are having generating enthusiasm among conservative voters.” Only George W. Bush and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) are confident about George W. Bush and Senator John McCain. Former Repub congressman from Oklahoma Mickey Edwards said, “My level of concern and dismay is very, very high…we don’t have any candidates in the field now who are compelling.” California’s former Republican Party chairman Shawn Steele said the candidates were being dragged down by their associations with George Bush as well as with the war. The NYT went on to say, “Republicans made their comments a day before Senator John McCain of Arizona, once the party’s presumed front-runner, is to give a speech intended to revitalize his troubled candidacy. In the speech, focused on Iraq, Mr. McCain will warn against making policy about the war based on 'the temporary favor of the latest public opinion poll' and assert that the administration’s strategy for securing Baghdad is the right one, according to excerpts released Tuesday by his campaign.” This is the John McCain who claimed on Monday that he would have gone to Iraq and walked around the Shorja market whether he had protection or not. A pointless boast since the military would not have allowed it. The other two GOP frontrunners are former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Gov of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. Federal prosecutors told Giuliani’s Police Commisisioner Bernie Kerik on March 30th that he is likely to be charged with several felonies, including tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wiretapping. This is the Bernie Kerik that George W. Bush wanted for his homeland Security chief. And then we have Romney, the macho man. Last week, he claimed he’d been a hunter all his life, when in fact he’d hunted varmints once in Idaho when he was 15 and had shot at defenseless quail let out of a cage once last year in Georgia. But Romney is not known for his integrity. He has flip-flopped on abortion rights, gun control, same-sex marriage and his pledge against new taxes. According to the NYT, “Mr. Steele and other Republicans argued that the candidates were in a difficult position as they tried to distance themselves from a president who is having so many difficulties, while at the same time not alienating Republican base voters and donors who remain loyal to Mr. Bush and his foreign policy. “It’s a dying administration,” Mr. Steele said. “There’s a fatigue factor and there’s a rubbing-off when it’s not very smart to be closely associated with such low ratings.” The current issue of Newsweek (April 16) has an article by Jonathan Alter that precisely describes McCain’s fall off the catbird seat (“McCain's Meltdown”). “On the surface,” Alter says, “McCain's strategy for becoming president makes perfect sense. He repressed the maverick spirit of the 2000 campaign (it didn't get him elected last time, he's said), hired a bunch of Bushies and signed off on a strategy of kissing up to the hard-core conservatives who dominate the Republican primaries. The fact that many liberals and independents fell out of love with him didn't seem relevant; they don't vote in those contests. Under the GOP's system of primogeniture, the nomination traditionally goes to the guy whose turn it is. It's McCain's turn, so he figured all he had to do was sound a few conservative themes and line up the right endorsements. He'd lock it up early, then tack to the center for the general election.” “But something's gone terribly wrong…the magic is on the wane…that’s because he's bogged down in Iraq,” Alter says. Alter closes his article saying, “John McCain may be playing the political angles on various social issues, but not on Iraq. Henry Clay, the great 19th-century senator, once said, ‘I'd rather be right than be president.’ Sadly for McCain, the odds are growing that he'll be neither.”

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