Carol Platt Liebau: McCain on Endorsements

Monday, January 28, 2008

McCain on Endorsements

This item from Jim Geraghty deals mostly with the report by John Fund that suggested he didn't want to appoint Justices like Alito, whose politics are (supposedly) worn on their sleeve. McCain disputes it, but it's not a stretch to suspect that's what he believes. Often, moderate Republicans seem more comfortable with liberals who wear their politics on their sleeves than conservatives who do the same.

At the end of the dispatch is one noteworthy exchange:

Asked about his reaction to the New York Times endorsement, McCain said, "My reaction was, as with several other liberal papers that have endorsed me, I'm glad that they support that they support my views, but it doesn't mean I support theirs."

Of course, McCain's stealing a page from the Ronald Reagan playbook -- that's the approach that Reagan took when the John Birch Society endorsed him in his 1966 campaign for governor.

That being said, we all know that The New York Times ed board also endorsed Hillary Clinton, and hasn't morphed into accepting McCain's stated views (any more than such a statement would have been plausible coming from Pat Brown if the John Birch Society had endorsed both Ronald Reagan and him in '66). The endorsement's not coming because they support McCain's views -- it's because they suspect that he actually supports theirs (or, at least, comes as close as any Republican can).

Oh, and those who support John McCain because they think he's best positioned to reach out to independents might want to take a look at this piece by Steven Hayward about Reagan's gubernatorial victory. Here's a key point:

Reagan understood that with a Democratic voting edge of three-to-two in California, a Republican could only win by appealing to crossover voters. This required a united Republican Party more than a centrist campaign.

Anyone think that McCain is best positioned to unify the Republican Party?


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