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December 12, 2005

McCain Moving Towards Acceptability By Conservative Base?

No, I'm not a McCain fan, but I would support him were he to become (against my preference) the Republican nominee in 2008. Apparently a lot of Republicans are beginning to feel likewise:

“The national environment has gone to s—t and Republicans are going to take a beating in 2006,” one prominent Republican consultant – who is a movement conservative -- told me recently. “McCain is the only guy out there with the credibility to maintain Republican control in Washington.”

“He’s not as liberal as some make him out to be,” one leader of a major conservative activist group told me. “On the three issues most conservatives are energized about right now, the war, spending and the court, McCain is hardcore.”

Someone had an interesting take: McCain is actually more conservative than Guiliani on several key issues, but McCain's style and persona is that of a liberal. Whereas Guiliani is more liberal on a few issues, but his style and persona is that of a conservative.

And it's not just a style versus substance thing. One's political sympathies and positions can change, but one's fundamental style and character are less mutable. Furthermore, someone comfortable with the conservative base, as Guiliani is, will rely on that base and therefore try to keep them satisfied, whereas someone who is borderline hostile to the base will seek to form a coaltion with moderates and liberals.

Guiliani is the man. Whatever strengths McCain has, Guiliani has as well. And Guiliani brings something to the table that endears him to all Republicans -- he's fought the establishment media, and frequently dismissed or ignored their airheaded chatter and constant criticism, whereas McCain remains in a torrid love affair with the liberal media.

But again-- on the most of the most important issues, McCain has been stalwart, particularly on the war. That makes him at least acceptable (though with strong reservations).

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posted by Ace at 01:07 PM

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