Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Next Bob Dole

You have to admire the loyalty of the Republicans, they will reward the old soldiers who in the past have taken hits for the team. Whenever they are bankrupt of ideas of how to mislead the public they trot out one of their old horses and parade him around like he is something new and improved. Just like the 96 election when the Republicans are facing youth and change they counter with their own youthful change candidate, back then it was 73 year old Bob Dole. This year it will be 71 year old John McCain. As a reward to their old soldiers who have towed the Party line and swallowed previous bitter defeats by lesser candidates the Republicans offer them up as sacrificial lambs. Just as Bob Dole was surgically attached to the politics and ideas of the past so is McCain. Despite their efforts to recreate Senator McCain, he is a Party loyalist and his primary campaign proved that.

Let’s take a look at the “maverick” Senator McCain and his willingness to defy his Party sentiments for principal. Because there has been so much “flip-flopping by the Senator it is hard to know where to begin. The “straight-talk” express hasn’t had any straight talk to date and none seems likely for the foreseeable future. The troops in Iraq have a greater chance of being there for 100 years than for Senator McCain to stick to a political position. It is amazing how the Republicans allowed McCain to batter then candidate Mitt Romney for being a political chameleon while at the same time he was changing colors faster than leaves in the fall. Unfortunately for Romney it was the Mormonism.

Mr. McCain, who derided his onetime Republican competitor Mitt Romney for his political mutability, has himself meandered over the years from position to position on some topics, particularly as he has tried to court the conservatives who have long distrusted him. His most striking turnaround has been on the Bush tax cuts, which he voted against twice but now wants to make permanent. Mr. McCain has also expressed varying positions on immigration, torture, abortion and Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary.

Now this is a politician that does not pander to Party or voters. If this is not pandering I would hate to see someone who really does pander. I think the most troubling of all of his stand reversals for me is the torture issue. This issue goes more to character than any other, especially from a man who supposedly was tortured. If Senator McCain can change stripes on an issue that should resonate to his very core, then what is there left to throw under the bus? Iran invasion? Limited nuclear strike? Venezuela? If a man can not be counted on to stand on the one core issue of his time, then how can we expect him stand up to the lobbyists and the any other winds that blow through the White House? For a man like this, nothing is off the table. All of those so-called Democrats who have been saying and writing that they will vote for McCain if their candidate loses had better come to grips with this simple fact.

I find the comparisons between John McCain and Bob Dole to be striking. They both were vilified by the social conservatives and had to pander. They both have short fuses and have been known to fly off the handle. They both had extensive careers in the Senate carrying the water for lesser men in the White House. They both are war veterans who received extensive injuries. They both were nominated in the twilight of their lives and their careers by a Party looking for a “Hail Mary” moment in history. The list goes on but I think you get my drift. The biggest difference is that McCain is liked by the media and Bob Dole was not. This will allow McCain to remain close in the race due to the media not going after him on the many issues I have already named.

The idea of a Bob Dole presidency united the Democrats and kept a lot of social conservatives at home. This will not be the case today if one of two things happen. First, if the Democrats continue this win at all cost strategy and second if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination. I would never say nor do I believe that McCain would be a better choice than Hillary, but there are many Independents and Republicans that would rally behind Osama bin Laden before supporting Hillary. Her nomination would turn what should be a landslide into a very close election. This of course is no reason not to nominate her, but this would be the landscape going forward. Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole on the strength of a booming economy and peace at home, currently we have an economy on the verge of a meltdown and an unpopular war. The pieces are in place for not only retaking the White House, but also restoring a majority in both Houses.

Just like Bob Dole represented the policies of the past, so does John McCain who continues to voice support for the same unpopular policies of a President currently hovering at a 19% approval rating. It will be up to us to ensure that John McCain receives the same fate as Bob Dole and retired by a resounding defeat. Bob Dole was wrong for America in 1996 and John McCain is wrong for America in 2008. While the Democrats are fielding two historical candidacies simultaneously the Republicans are recycling another old white man, once again displaying their lack of ideas and a plan for the future of this country.


1 comment:

Malcolm said...

That's funny.

I made a similar comparison to Dole on another blog.

Although in my case, it was a "dole could teach McCain how to lose with grace", since the republicans are obviously leading the lamb to the slaughter.

It's Obama's year. I have a hard time seeing anything stopping him from winning Big in November

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