Wednesday, December 15, 2004

John McCain postures for bigger things.

So John McCain’s been pretty visible lately. The man’s obviously got other things on his mind besides being a good senator—but what? For a while I figured he’d be looking to vie for the Republican Party leader position in the Senate, since it’s long been established that Senator Frist is stepping down in 2006. Frist isn’t seeking a second Senate term; many speculate he’s eyeing a presidential run in 2008. Personally I find Frist as exciting as Lamar Alexander. In other words: as exciting as plain, cold oatmeal.

The obvious speculation is that McCain is gearing up for his own presidential run in 2008. Until recently, I didn’t think he’d do it. I’m still not sure, but I’m more inclined to think he will. I figured that since McCain would be 72 in 2008, he wouldn’t try the run, but that bit of conventional wisdom might not apply this time. 72 isn’t as advanced an age as it used to be.

There’s a feeling that McCain is a progressive, but I’ve never seen any evidence to back that up. He’s a considerably less repulsive conservative than Bush, but he’s still a conservative. He’d be more prone to work with Democrats and more prone to thumb his nose at the right wingers in his party (he’s already been decrying Donald Rumsfeld as “incompetent,”) but the last thing this country needs is another four to eight years of Republican administration. Still, he’s popular among Democrats and Republicans alike, and if Karl Rove doesn’t attack McCain’s military record like he did during the 2000 primaries, he could very well become our 44th president.

One thing that could stand in his way are the conservatives in his own party. If he doesn’t make nice with them (and make promises to them) by 2007, his presidential prospects are grim. But he probably will. After Bush and Rove attacked, degraded, and tarred McCain relentlessly during the 2000 primaries, McCain cozied up to Bush, supported Bush, and even campaigned for Bush during both the 2000 and 2004 elections. I’ll agree that there’s something to be said about making peace with your enemies, but the amoral personal attacks that Bush made are something quite different. McCain ought to know better than to trust Bush again. That McCain is rewarding a devil like Bush for this kind of behavior has certainly cost a lot of respect on my part.


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