Sunday, December 16, 2007

McCain On The Move?

John McCain picked up two major newspaper endorsements today, which if history is our guide, should give him a boost in support. McCain is already showing stength in New Hampshire, but his campaign is polling well behind in Iowa. With that mind, McCain surprisingly picks up the critical endorsement of the Des Moines Register:
McCain has his flaws, too, of course. He can be hot-tempered, a trait that�s not helpful in conducting diplomacy. At 71, his age is a concern. The editorial board disagrees with him on a host of issues, especially his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage. McCain foresees a long, hard and difficult deployment of troops in Iraq. The Register�s board has called for withdrawal as soon as it's safely possible.

But with McCain, Americans would know what they're getting. He doesn't parse words. And on tough calls, he usually lands on the side of goodness of compassion for illegal immigrants, of concern for the environment for future generations.

The force of John McCain's moral authority could go a long way toward restoring Americans trust in government and inspiring new generations to believe in the goodness and greatness of America.

People debate the power of endorsements, but this is the same paper that endorsed Edwards in 2004, giving him the momentum to move from a distant fourth to a strong second on caucus night. McCain doesn't need to win Iowa, but if he could move up in the polls and finish a respectable third, the stage is set for the crucial New Hampshire primary. As an aside, the paper also endorsed Clinton the Democratic side, which finally gives her campaign something to crow about, in the face of Obama's impressive rise.

McCain has already received the endorsement of New Hampshire's most important conservative newspaper. Today, the Boston Globe joins the chorus:
A general election campaign with John McCain in it is more likely to turn on substance, not demagoguery.

As a lawmaker and as a candidate, McCain has done more than his share to transcend partisanship and promote an honest discussion of the problems facing the United States. He deserves the opportunity to represent his party in November's election.

The fact that a Boston paper picks McCain over former state governer Romney isn't irrelevant. McCain has moved into second in New Hampshire, this endorsement will only put more wind in the campaign's sails.

Why the fascination with an American conservative on a Canadian center-left blog? I've always been intruiged by McCain, despite the obvious policy disagreements. The guy is quite simply apolitical, taking stances which have no corelation to the winds of public opinion, a rare trait, no matter the affiliation. Ethanol is a big issue in Iowa, very, very popular with state residents. All the candidates pander to this reality, bending over backwards to champion ethanol as the saviour of America's oil dependence. What does McCain do? In last week's Iowa debate, McCain forcefully argues against ethanol subsidies, a stance that is political suicide. I respect anyone who has the "stuff" to put his principles over politics. Ditto for New Hampshire. The issue of climate change doesn't even register in polling of Republicans, it is a non-issue. What does McCain do? McCain runs ads in New Hampshire, arguing for immediate action on climate change. A campaign with limited resources, chooses to highlight an issue that brings little political gain because it recognizes the urgency- how can you not respect that?

I don't agree with the McCain on a host of issues, but I respect him. I see McCain's campaign as the struggle of principle vs pandering, a case study in political discourse. All the newspaper endorsements essentially argue the same- we don't endorse all his stances, but we admire the process that holds them.

UPDATE:

This is interesting:
Democratic and Republican sources say that Sen. Joe Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut and fierce supporter of the war in Iraq, will formally endorse Sen. John McCain tomorrow in New Hampshire.

The endorsement is further evidence of Lieberman's slow drift to the right in American politics and is bound to generate intense anger among Democrats who support him. But Lieberman and McCain have often walked in lockstep together on the prosecution of the war, have traveled to Iraq together, and have worked together on domestic issues like climate change.

The move will heighten speculation that McCain might ask Lieberman to join his ticket.

14 comments:

Mushroom said...

McCain is a progressive in the Reagan-Teddy Roosevelt mode. Your fascination is acceptable. May be the best challenger to Hillary, unless Obama becomes in January the remake the JFK.

But, don't you want to see the GOP melt down? I, for one, would love to see Huckabee win Iowa, Florida, and South Carolina and for Tancredo to become the dark horse candidate. Then we get a 40 state victory for the Dems or something weirder on the Presidential campaign trail.

Steve V said...

mushroom

I think you mentioned Romney's strength in the part of NH adjacent to Mass. Apparently, the Boston Globe is well read in this part of the state, I wonder how that will playout.

I suppose I should think big picture, McCain consistently scores best in the head to heads with potential Dem nominees.

Anonymous said...

McCain is "too" stubborn. It's one thing to be stubborn, but another when your stubborness won't let you admit you are wrong.

He's too military - his whole family - grandfather, father, himself and son are military guys. They look at life that way.

And, he definately has a mean streak and poor judgement. He has said some hurtful things over the years that he considered funny at the time.

I think McCain has reached his past due date.

Anonymous said...

Reagan was progressive - he was part of the neo-conservative movement.

Steve V said...

"McCain is "too" stubborn. It's one thing to be stubborn, but another when your stubborness won't let you admit you are wrong."

Anon, just curious if you could cite examples?

Mushroom said...

Anon.

When I say Reagan was progressive, I am saying it in the 1900s mode. No way we can compare Reagan to wackos such as Huckabee and Tancredo. McCain would be the antithesis of most Republicans working in the White House today.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember exactly and haven't looked it up but I do know he thought it funny to call Chelsea Clinton ugly and there was a remark about tarbabies he thought funny.

He can be a nasty piece of work.

Anonymous said...

Whoops - meant to say, when he called Chelsea CLinton ugly, she was a kid at the time. I can't imagine how that must of hurt her.

Steve V said...

anon

There was a recent on McCain's mouth.

Steve V said...

McCain also picked up the endorsement of New Hampshire's Portsmouth Herald today.

Mushroom said...

Steve,

More endorsements leading to the primary season.

Des Moines Register goes to Hillary.

Boston Globe goes to Obama. Do I smell hatred for a Cubs-Yankees supporter?

Cover story on Edwards on Newsweek. Too little too late?

Steve V said...

"Cover story on Edwards on Newsweek. Too little too late?"

I found that odd, especially the title "Sleeper". In my mind, it's a two-way race now, even if Edwards somehow manages to take Iowa.

RuralSandi said...

Lieberman has endorsed McCain - Lieberman is totally for the war and totally for attacking Iran - this is frightening.

Miles Lunn said...

I don't agree with McCain on every issue, although he does seem at least like an improvement over Bush, mind you that is pretty easy to do. I wonder what you think, Steve of his immigration policy. It seems that he is looking into what is best for the Republicans long-term rather than short-term. Most of their base favours less immigration, but with the Hispanic population expected to surpass the 25% mark in 25 years, the Republicans won't be able to win in the future without doing well amongst Hispanic voters, which I think McCain understands, but many others don't.

Besides, with 12 million illegal aliens in the United States, you cannot just kick everyone of them out, so it makes sense to stop those from illegally immigration there but grant amnesty to those who have been there for a while.