Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

McCain’s problem with the GOP base

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Sridhar Pappu has an interesting report in the Washington Independent on McCain’s difficulties with the base:

In late January, just days before her son would win the Florida Republican primary, 96-year-old Roberta McCain—whom in another era might have been called a real broad, a pistol — was asked by a C-SPAN interviewer how much support her 71-year-old boy had among “the base of the Republican Party.”

“I don’t think he has any,” said Mother McCain. “I don’t know what the base of the Repub—maybe I don’t know enough about it, but I’ve not seen any help whatsoever.”

Pressed about whether, given that, he could take the nomination, the elder McCain snapped: “Yes, I think holding their nose, they’re going to have to take him.”

Since then Sen. John McCain has gone through a Russell Crowe in “Gladiator”-like journey: from front-runner, to broke-and-destitute has-been, to the man who would win the GOP presidential nomination. Yet little has changed for the Arizona senator when it comes to the base — the internal light at the center of the modern Republican Party, whose foundations were laid in the successful presidential runs of Richard M. Nixon in 1968 and 1972, and fully-realized with the triumph of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

In it’s design, the GOP base is a three-legged chair, wobbly at moments, but effective if put together by the right assembler. One leg consists of social conservatives — those members of the evangelical movement and Moral Majority, who seek to eliminate abortion and restore Christian values to the environs of the public school system and to government at-large. Then there’s the fiscal/small government types, which includes Wall Street, people who spend their off hours debating the tax code at The Palm, with expense accounts … of course. The final leg are defense hawks — the folks who pushed for a build-up of military strength as a way to outspend the Soviets, who advocated the war in Iraq and consistently push for increased defense spending during dinner parties in McClean.

Banded together, with a leader they believe in, these three are like the Avengers under Captain America, seemingly able and ready to defeat any opposing candidate. But McCain–his heroism in the Vietnam War not withstanding — is not Captain America, much less Ronald Reagan.

Indeed, you could say that McCain has spent his career alienating the base. Running against George W. Bush in 2000, McCain accused his rival of pandering to leaders of the religious right, whom he called “agents of intolerance.” Specifically, he said Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell — fixtures in the religious intellectual movement that surrounded Reagan — were “corrupting influences on religion and politics.” All three parts of the GOP base bristled at McCain’s biggest achievement, campaign finance reform — which they saw as an instrument of limiting their influence in the corridors of power.

McCain’s litany of sins against the party goes further. …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

31 May 2008 at 11:12 am

Posted in Election, GOP

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