Monday, April 10, 2006

# Posted 10:44 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

McCain proclaims his extravagant admiration for Teddy Roosevelt, a man of many virtues, not one of which was moral modesty...St. John of Arizona can seem insufferably certain that he has cornered the market on incorruptibility. So, as he begins trying to assemble a presidential majority, he seems, as anyone trying to do that will, like a run-of-the-mill sinner.
Thus George Will. Yet Will's purpose is not to criticize McCain, but rather to berate the journalists who have made St. John a media darling, only to turn on him because of the slightest imperfections.

Much as I support McCain and am not concerned about the tactical compromises he has begun to make in order to secure the GOP nomination, I think that Will has jumped the gun with his criticism of the media. The bottom line is that there is simply no way to both court Jerry Falwell and get good media coverage (especially because McCain won over so many journalists by attacking the Christian right).

Fact is, critics are going to jump on every little compromise McCain makes, insisting that it is definitive proof that he is not an independent, principled, straight-talking maverick, but instead, just another hack. Yet as long as McCain sticks to his principles and is upfront about his positions, this kind of criticism will just roll off his back.

Fact is that McCain will also pay a price with the media for every one of his compromises. When you run for president, the media can no longer approach you as a foil for George Bush or the Republican Right. More and more, John McCain himself will be the issue.

Even so, I still think he has a very good shot at getting as good, if not better coverage than whomever he runs against. No question, the primary coverage will favor McCain. But even in the general election, he may be favored.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The issue right now is 2006. And as George Will notes quite perceptively,
This November could produce what McCain could use -- grim election returns for Republicans. If on Nov. 8 Republicans are reeling and a reelected Hillary Clinton is rampant, hitherto unenthralled Republicans might suddenly consider McCain as virtuous as he considers himself. For the politically nervous, "virtuous" is a synonym for "electable."
You betcha.
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

Already happening; why do you think his stock is rising among insider Republicans? He may be, they believe, the only one who can defeat HRC.
McCain is reconciling with the Christian right because he absolutely needs them to win the Republican nomination. He is doing what Howard Dean (unsuccessfully) tried by moving left in the primaries. Dean was defeated by the e word - electability. HRC is trying the opposite tack, moving right, in order to court the independents in the general election, perhaps assuming that the democratic nomination is already within reach.
McCain's in a unique position. He owns the independent vote, but his ability to win the nomination is in question.

He can afford to kiss up to the base. The only people it's really going to offend are those who are voting for the Democrat anyway.
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