Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Simply embarrassing: The Bush-McCain embrace
An appalled reader emailed me last week to say "I was surprised to see Cheney come out against a gay marriage ban, and then, when I saw McCain and Bush together campaigning, it occurred to me that Bush intends to announce that Cheney will step down, health or whatever and McCain will take his place."
First about Cheney: Taking a position of "Let's leave gay marriage to the states" is about as good as it gets. He can't take a position that runs counter to the interests of his own gay daughter, especially with her working in his campaign. That would leave him open to charges of family disloyalty. And a states' rights position is at least consistent with what conservatism used to be about. Also, the pre-convention timing of the statement may have been deliberate. This is, after all, the moment where Republicans want to put on their "moderate" face.
But McCain is something else. I've written earlier on his reasons
Simply embarrassing for supporting Bush, and I think, looking back, that I only presented one side of the coin—the side in which Bush wins the election.
But politicians—successful politicians—try to cover all bases, so I should have also looked at what McCain's support means if Bush loses. And that side of the coin looks even better for McCain.
If Bush should win, McCain is truly going to have to pull off a miracle within this next administration to have the slightest chance of winning the Presidency in 2008. But if Bush loses, the Republicans will be raring to go in 2008, and he has a good chance of securing the Repug nomination for that year.
But McCain has been criticized as a "maverick," verging on disloyalty to the Republican agenda. Campaigning for Bush is his chance to show his party loyalty—and at a very cheap price. Slobbering all over Bush is pretty damned cheap.
As for McCain's accepting the candidacy for Vice President, that's about as likely as Simply Appalling voting Republican. It's a real career-ender.
A prediction concerning John McCain