Dick Morris reports that the McCain Campaign is in dire shape.
While this is regrettable, as I have often stated the many reasons for considering John McCain as a candidate for President, it is not unexpected. Among McCain’s problems are his lack of money, he has only $500,000 on hand, and as Morris reminds us all, “That’s barely enough to run for Congress”.
The other part is that McCain doesn’t seem to be the same maverick who was willing to buck the system and obtain crossover votes. This was noted on Sunday’s Meet the Press by NYT op ed columnist Maureen Dowd. McCain has lost the edge he had when he was daring Party officials to cross him and his rising stem of popular sentiment. That independent streak may have cost him the nomination in 2000, but might have lead him to a popular vote victory in the national bid. McCain has also put all his political eggs into the “Surge”. The problem is, if it works he may not get enough credit, and if it fails he will get a good deal of criticism.
Rather than upset just the Party apparatus, McCain has also done much to alienate the hard Right of the GOP, which includes many of the primary voters. McCain’s positions in favor of campaign fincance reform, global warming, illegal aliens, and his softness on the Bush tax cuts, among other positions make him one of the more reviled candidates. Supporting one of these issues would be problematic, but McCain has lent support to four. Since that is one more strike than is allowed by baseball, I hardly think that the base of the GOP – who can often be compared to umpires in particularly bad moods, are likely to say anything other than “Yer out!” McCain’s consistent pro-life position, and the fact that he is a genuine hero, are not enough to stem the tirade of the harder right elements of the GOP. Even McCain’s consistently pro-life stance won’t help him much with the base, and nobody wants to talk too much about Iraq – other than McCain. Seemingly, the only candidates that will satisfy the hard right are impossibilities like Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo – whom no one other than the most ardent Conservatives and those outside their own districts even know. The hard base does not like McCain, and despite the alleged numbers of Evangelicals among them, they do not forgive and forget. Then again, the ultra right of the GOP would likely not like “The Gipper” doubtless finding some fault with him.
However, the biggest threat to McCain’s loss of “The Maverick” is Rudy. Simply put, Mr. Mayor is Conservative enough for Centrists and Independents. Although they are not too far separated by age, Rudy looks young, and McCain looks tired, very tired. Even the Senator’s website, with the myriad of black and white photos, makes him look old. Rudy also threatens McCain’s largest asset, Independent Centrist voters, who are likely not comfortable with many of the Democrat’s positions – and the perception of cutting and running. Centrists are also not too upset by Rudy’s moderate – liberal – conservative stands on abortion, gay rights, and gun control. What they see in Rudy is a law and order person, who can run a bubbling cauldron. While Giulliani is vulnerable on the right flank, he is more vulnerable from Romney and Huckabee than from McCain. Even while McCain polls well against Democrats, he may be marginalized as “That old guy who is for the surge”.
If McCain is marginalized so early on it will be a sad day not only for the GOP, some of whom’s members wouldn’t recognize a statesman if Abraham Lincoln were to address them, but mostly for this country. I say this even though I wouldn’t vote for him if he were in the primary. I’m a Rudy guy.