Friday, January 25, 2008



Several polls have come out of late that indicate that John McCain is the “most electable” of the Republican candidates. Whether poll respondents are asked to choose whom they would prefer in head to head match-ups with the Democratic candidates, or are simply asked who they think is most electable, John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) leads the GOP pack, in most cases by a wide margin.

Anyone with an attention span longer than that of the typical three year old has to ask how these polls can possibly be right.

There are many reasons that people cite for being supportive of McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) and/or for thinking he would be the strongest GOP candidate: his (completely fabricated) outsider image, his willingness to buck the GOP conventional wisdom on many issues, including campaign finance reform, immigration, and taxes (though one has to ask why GOPers find this so endearing), his (somewhat authentic) reputation for telling people the truth rather than what they want to hear (as in Michigan, where he said that jobs that aren’t coming back are indeed not coming back), his fiscal conservatism (again, one has to ask why GOPers who seem to think that George Bush is a great president would find fiscal conservatism at all appealing), and his (almost completely fabricated) national security credentials (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?).

While one can understand the appeal of John McCain’s (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) fiscal conservatism, and maybe of his straight talk, it is hard to fathom his appeal, especially to independent voters, of much else about John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?), most especially his stance on the Iraq war. While this issue is fading ever so slightly on the national political radar screen, it can’t help but be a major, even if it isn’t THE major, issue in the campaign. Recall that the Democrats did so well in the 2006 elections not because, as liberal commentators would have you believe, the American people have suddenly become enthusiastic about the usual banal Democratic laundry list of anodyne big government programs. The reason that the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, and the reason that Democratic turnout is way up in the 2008 primaries while GOP turnout is way down, is because people realize that this the Iraq war is an idiotic, counterproductive war that will serve no purpose other than killing lots of people, making the Middle East safe for terrorists for generations, and making George Bush’s pals lots of money. And the reason that the Democratic congress is now less popular than George Bush is because it has done absolutely NOTHING to end this tragic, if not fatal, chapter in the history of U.S. foreign policy.

While it can be justly said that all the GOP candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul and, to a far lesser extent, Mike Huckabee, are brimming in their enthusiasm for the Iraq war, and that the foreign policy portions of the GOP debates so far have consisted of trying to prove who can get us into a war with Iran the most quickly, there is no doubt that John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) is the GOP candidate who is most enthusiastic about continuing and expanding the war in Iraq. His “national security credentials” are limited to his background (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) and his willingness to send countless number of people to their deaths in an ill-conceived and self-defeating war “on terror.” If John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) gets the GOP nomination, his enthusiasm for this war will be trumpeted (at the expense of sounding VERY trite) 24/7 by the Democrats, regardless of who their candidate is. McCain’s senseless, impulsive ditty “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran” will be played more frequently than ads for Coca-Cola, GM cars, Ford cars, Toyota cars, and get out of debt schemes combined. The results will be eminently predictable: we will have a repeat of the 1964 elections, or, if you prefer, the 1972 and 1980 elections with the parties reversed. The GOP, already crippled by eight years of Bush/Cheney, may collapse as a party.

I am not predicting that John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) will get the nomination; as I said in my 1/9/08 and 1/16/08 commentaries, don’t believe the hype of inevitability that has emerged after every primary or caucus so far. I also said in the 1/16/08 commentary that those who are counting out Rudy Giuliani are doing so far too early. I don’t know who will win the GOP nomination, it remains at least a three person race and Giuliani has a far better shot than most people think. I do know, however, that if John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) gets the nomination, there is a good chance the GOP is through as a going concern. Perhaps that would not be such a bad thing, but that is beside the point.

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