Carol Platt Liebau: Rise of the Moderates?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rise of the Moderates?

Real Clear Politics' John McIntyre seems convinced that John McCain is the strongest general election candidate (assuming, of course, that he can hold the conservative base - a big assumption, at this point at least).

As evidence, he notes that the GOP chose in '06 to showcase moderates like Schwarzenegger and Giuliani at its convention, in an effort to send a message to moderates and Democrats that they were welcome.

Well, that's good politics, especially when one has a conservative nominee -- like George W. Bush. In a sense, Republicans could afford to showcase their leftward face because (and perhaps only because) the right flank of the party was so completely on board -- and because conservatives are realistic enough to understand that, with a liberal MSM providing the lens through which the rest of the country would view the convention, this was the best way to get good coverage.

The question now is twofold: First, given the widespread conservative mistrust (and outright dislike) of McCain, how will this year's convention look? Isn't there a good chance that a number of conservative speakers will have to be showcased endorsing McCain just to quell the concern of a largely dispirited base?

Second, if so, how's that going to play in the MSM (with a narrative that McCain's sold out to the right, perhaps?) Will the press really go easy on McCain hoping that conservatives in the GOP will be marginalized through a McCain victory? Or, more likely, will they be unable to resist the temptation to compensate for their formerly favorable coverage of the "maverick" -- especially when he's up not against a conservative, but a real, dyed-in-the-wool liberal?

As I noted last night: Get ready for some new press buzzwords in the press coverage:

Temprament: The 2008 version of 2000's "gravitas" - The purported reason McCain is unsuited to the presidency

Gender Gap: The 2008 version of "Is Bush is too conservative?" - The purported reason McCain can't win the presidency

Keating 5: The 2008 version of "Bush is stupid" - The purported reason McCain is unworthy of the presidency

It's not going to be pretty.


Blogger LarryD said...

McCain has been useful the the MSM's agenda, and he has courted them. But anyone who expects the MSM to play nice when it's McCain vs a "liberal" Democrat, has not been paying attention. They will turn on him and rend him in a heartbeat.

6:35 AM  

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