Carol Platt Liebau: Demonizing John McCain?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Demonizing John McCain?

Over at Real Clear Politics, John McIntyre writes about the volte-face the liberals in the MSM are doing, as they begin to attack John McCain -- and how, ironically, those attacks may help McCain gain some much needed bona fides with Republican stalwarts (as I've noted before, the overt adoration of the MSM is a big stumbling block for McCain in GOP circles).

But most Republicans don't just dislike McCain because the press likes him (as John notes, "his major weakness is he lacks the trust of the party faithful and conservatives"). It's because he seems to put his own political advantage above what's good for his party. The most recent example is the immigration bill, Kennedy-McCain, which calls for only "virtual" border security while providing a guest worker program. A bill like this -- underbalanced on the border security side -- if it passes, risks demoralizing Republicans to a degree that could depress turnout next November.

Other examples include the whole "torture amendment" debacle -- discussed on this site here -- and his self-important posturing in the whole Gang of 14 escapade (discussed on this site here).

John McCain is a war hero and a great American. But as a politician, he's an opportunist who's willing to put personal interest above almost everything else (a charge to which many of his Senate colleagues will heartily attest, at least in private).

For a long time, McCain was willing to cultivate his press constituency with only minor regard to party loyalty. Now that it's turning on him, it's hard to feel too, too sorry.

Finally, it's worth wondering whether all the pro-McCain polls are a function of anything more than name ID. At this point, not that many normal Americans know George Allen (or Mitt Romney, for that matter). Couldn't his convincing showing against Hillary Clinton be a greater reflection on her unpopularity than on him?

And even if not, given the animosity toward him on the right, and the growing dislike that will be orchestrated by MSMers like Krugman on hte left, it's worth wondering if McCain will eventually end up with "wide" support that's less than even skin-deep. And that kind of support becomes mighty hard to win with.


Blogger stackja1945 said...

McCain seems too pliable.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Couldn't his convincing showing against Hillary Clinton be a greater reflection on her unpopularity than on him?

No, if that were the case than other people with good name recognition--Giuliani & Rice are the two most often polled about--would also poll better than Hillary by similar margins, but they don't.

McCain's 2008 coattails will help rack up a GOP victory large enough to keep his less sensible instincts in check.

9:50 AM  

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