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Senator McCain And The Dark Side - Soul For Sale

It has been rumored that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) would like to run once again for President in 2008. There is, however, a problem with Senator McCain as a national Republican candidate. He is a moderate in an increasingly conservative party. Furthermore, when it comes to crunch time, the Republicans just can't count on him.

Senator McCain’s latest defection came during an appearance on CBS' Face The Nation on Sunday April 10, 2005, when he declared that he was against changing Senate rules to prohibit filibusters of President Bush’s judicial nominations. He left his ultimate vote open with the caveat, "Yes, but I will listen to our leadership." If this betrayal of the Republican Party comes to fruition, it will be a pretty good indication that McCain has gone over to the dark side permanently. The Republicans will survive his defection. The question for McCain to answer is: Can I survive as a Republican if I vote against this rule change? I think the distinguished Senator already knows the answer.

After Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) secured the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2004, it was reported that Kerry approached McCain to be his running mate, although both men deny it. True or not, war hero and former POW McCain could never have supported Kerry because of Kerry’s anti-war positions, questionable military career, and uninspired service as Senator from Massachusetts.

Furthermore, if he lost as Kerry’s running mate, McCain’s political career would have been virtually over. Unable to continue as a Republican in the Senate, he would have been relegated to the backbench as a Democrat in the Republican controlled Senate. (A nightmare scenario for the proud and powerful Senator.)

Sure to lose if he ran against incumbent President Bush and unwilling to support John 'I Have A Plan' Kerry, Senator McCain had few options in 2004, but he understands politics and realized his power could only be preserved by remaining a Republican in the Republican controlled Senate. He decided to bide his time as a Republican Senator and wait until the next Presidential election. He even surprised many by campaigning for incumbent President Bush, though there was thought to be no love lost between the two men.

Quite possibly, the reported invitation to be Kerry’s running mate, if only a figment of some reporter’s overactive imagination, inspired something in McCain.

McCain must realize that, based on his 2000 Presidential bid, he cannot win the Republicans' nomination in 2008. He knows he is too moderate/liberal for conservative Republicans to support realizes his best chance to further his political career in the 2008 is on the Democratic ticket.

He also knows full well that Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), odds on Democratic Presidential nominee in 2008, is a terribly polarizing candidate who will not garner enough independents and moderate Republicans to win on her own. The Democratic nomination is Hillary’s for the asking. The question for Hillary to answer is: What do I need to do to get elected? Hillary knows she has to run to the middle and she is attempting to position herself there. On the other hand, McCain is already in the middle. He can attract the moderate support Hillary needs, and he can believably support the former first lady, especially in her new, more moderate incarnation.

This defection from the Republicans in the filibuster fight, should it come to pass, will be only the first real salvo. Soon thereafter, McCain will declare that he has sold his soul to the dark side, the price being a place on the Democratic ticket in 2008. Vice-president may be the closest McCain will ever come to the White House, but I believe he is a realist and even he is smart enough to figure this one out.

Senator Clinton, on the other hand, may not realize it yet, but her success or failure in 2008 may hinge on whom she chooses as a running mate. Clinton/McCain sounds pretty formidable to me and would very likely carry the day. It could be only be a matter of time before Hillary, the smartest woman on earth according to the Kool-Aid drinkers, figures it out too.

Posted by Rick | April 23, 2005 11:09 PM

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