McCain, ready to squeeze another one out...
On the way back to the office from casting my ballot for Barack Obama, I had fun listening first to OxyContin-boy Rush Limbaugh, then to conservative gasbag Sean Hannity, as they each desperately tore Senator John McCain to shreds in favor of their last-minute golden boy Gov. Mitt Romney.
Uber-rightists, paleoconservatives, nativists, etc., they all loathe John McCain, who's perceived as the standard-bearer of the liberal wing of the GOP. "He supported amnesty!" they scream. And indeed, locally, that's one of the many reasons that the moonhowlers on the right hate his ever-lovin' guts. Truly, moving here from California a few years back was a real revelation to me. Just about every Republican I ran across had nothing but bile for AZ's senior Senator. He's a carpetbagger, his detractors inform you. He cheated on his first wife. Divorced her though she was disabled. Married beer heiress Cindy Lou Hensley because her dad was as rich as Crassus. Used everyone and everything, including the state of Arizona, as a stepping-stone to higher office.
They even question his patriotism, call him the "Manchurian Candidate," wonder if he was really tortured in the Hanoi Hilton. (Despite overwhelming evidence that he was.) And nearly every local Republican who's been around for a sec has a story about McCain blowing his top, usually at an underling or some party backer who didn't do his bidding. He's an arrogant asshole, GOPers will tell you. And that's the judgment of a party of arrogant assholes. With all this animus built up against him, it's amazing that McCain's set for a cake walk in the Grand Canyon State's Republican primary.
Ultimately, I'm hoping, that if Obama is the Democratic nominee, McCain and those that despise him on the far right will help propel Obama into the Oval Office. Already Limbaugh is suggesting it would be better for Hillary Clinton or B-rock to be in the White House instead of a moderate Republican like John McCain. The Web site Real Clear Politics averages all of the polls showing head-to-head match-ups. If it's McCain vs. Clinton, there's a slight advantage for McCain. If it's McCain vs. Obama, that slight margin moves into Obama's field.
It's difficult to see the far right's dissatisfaction with McCain dissipating. Indeed, I expect the anger will intensify. If NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg and/or tinfoil-hatter Ron Paul run as third party candidates, a recent Rasmussen poll shows them pulling more from Republican voters (13% to 17%) than Dems (only 5% to 10%).
Up against Obama, I see McCain as a loser. McCain lacks the youth, the polish, the looks, the speaking ability of Obamarama. Obama oozes health and vigor. He energizes crowds. McCain, with his 71-plus years on this earth, his cancer-ravaged face, his squat, troll-like anatomy, hampered by injuries sustained while in captivity, does not project power or healthfulness. Rather, he reminds one of Ephialtes, the hunchbacked soldier in Frank Miller's 300 who betrays the Spartans to the Persian king Xerxes during the battle of Thermopylae.
McCain also has skeletons, and not all of them as old as the Keating Five scandal. The Washington Post recently reported on McCain's meeting with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who had his visa revoked by the U.S.government because of his "suspected links to anti-democratic and organized-crime figures." McCain's now campaign manager Rick Davis assisted in putting the two men together in 2006.
Davis told the Post that his contacts with Deripaska "all relate to my private business and have nothing to do with Senator John McCain." The Post said there was no evidence of wrongdoing, or of some sort of tit-for-tat. Still, such coziness with a billionaire recalls a certain coziness with a high-roller named Charles Keating.
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Against Hillary, McCain might edge out a win. Hillary's negatives are high. She does not inspire, as does Obama. And I think Republicans would ultimately unify to defeat her. Both she and McCain represent the status quo. A Clinton presidency would be a lightning-rod, drawing the wrath of conservatives. You can pretty much be assured that the woman will get absolutely nothing done while in office.
So the best bet the Dems have is that Obama and McCain earn their respective parties' nominations. Obama will tower over the Republican dwarf, as that dwarf's undermined by the extremists in his own camp. McCain, to borrow a line Jim Carville once lobbed at Bush #1, is yesterday's man. Obama, he's the future.
PS: And to the Ronulans who've commented below, here's another descriptor for your tinfoil titan: bigot.