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John McCain Losing Ground by Going Right

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(graphic by RaJa Tech for guest blog by Taylor Marsh)

The one really intriguing nugget of data in the new Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll has to do with 2008. Thus far, when Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., have been matched up in hypothetical ballot tests, McCain has won each easily. Now that McCain has embarked on a grand repositioning of himself in the political marketplace, moving from the independent, moderate maverick to a mainstream Republican team player, it raises the questions of what he gains, what he loses, and what is the net effect.

While the truth is that on most important, substantive issues, as opposed to process issues (e.g. campaign finance reform), McCain’s voting record has always been very conservative and there is no shift. Indeed, his strong support of the war in Iraq has not wavered one bit. On measures of style, rhetoric and political positioning (e.g., going to Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University to give the commencement address), though, McCain is clearly moving. As McCain begins to solidify himself on the right, does he sacrifice support in the middle?

It is far too soon to say, but comparing the late February Cook Political Report/RT Strategies numbers to the newest ones, McCain has gone from a 10-point, 47 percent to 37 percent advantage, to a five-point, 44 percent to 39 percent lead. Among registered voters, McCain’s advantage has had a smaller drop from a 12-point margin (48 percent to 36 percent) in February to a 9-point margin (46 percent to 37 percent). … …

Better In than Out, by Charlie Cook – via MyDD (emphasis added)

We might as well call this one, Senator Suck Up gets a message.

Seems like moving to the right in a contorted effort to seduce Bush’s right-wing base isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Even religious fanatics can sense when a person’s motives aren’t pure. Not only that, but in the process you actually lose ground, because the people who used to believe in you now find you simply spineless.

Well done, John.

I’m obviously not alone in finding John McCain’s contorted posturing, especially in Memphis, to be an embarrassment. It’s just so blatantly obvious what he’s attempting to do. Besides, if you look at McCain’s record, he’s about as conservative as they come.

So, what does McCain gain if he goes so far right as to win the nomination in 2008, but loses the whole ball game because his far right-wing lurch makes him unelectable in the general?

In a word, nothing.

Senator McCain obviously is sensing the backlash, which is hinted at in Cook’s poll. It’s one reason he likely did his recent interview with Jon Stewart, where he finally admitted he was sucking up to Bush’s base.

However, it’s way too early to tell if this is a trend, as Charlie Cook stated, with Jonathan Singer agreeing. However, even people like Howard Kurtz have questioned if it’s now the end of the media affair for John McCain. E.J. Dionne ran a column recently entitled, A Maverick No More?.  Maverick, schmaverick, I say.

But trouble abounds for Bush’s Republican Party these days. There is such a right-wing ideological litmus test rooted in religiosity that is demanded for candidates that it makes them close to unelectable by the masses, not to mention the credibility issues that come with sucking up to Bush’s base.  Old time Republicans hardly recognize Bush’s Republican Party.

Now that the GOP has been transformed by the rise of the South, the trauma of terrorism and George W. Bush’s conviction that God wanted him to be president, a deeper conclusion can be drawn: The Republican Party has become the first religious party in U.S. history.

(snip)

Unfortunately, more danger lurks in the responsiveness of the new GOP coalition to Christian evangelicals, fundamentalists and Pentecostals, who muster some 40 percent of the party electorate. Many millions believe that the Armageddon described in the Bible is coming soon. Chaos in the explosive Middle East, far from being a threat, actually heralds the second coming of Jesus Christ. Oil price spikes, murderous hurricanes, deadly tsunamis and melting polar ice caps lend further credence.

The potential interaction between the end-times electorate, inept pursuit of Persian Gulf oil, Washington’s multiple deceptions and the financial crisis that could follow a substantial liquidation by foreign holders of U.S. bonds is the stuff of nightmares. To watch U.S. voters enable such policies — the GOP coalition is unlikely to turn back — is depressing to someone who spent many years researching, watching and cheering those grass roots. … …

How the GOP Became God’s Own Party – Kevin Phillips

Even Mr. Phillips, who once considered voting for John McCain, says McCain’s closeness to George W. Bush makes that almost impossible now.

Yes, it’s too early to know anything for certain, except that the likelihood of the American public wanting to elect another George W. Bush is between slim and nil. The indomitable Helen Thomas put it succinctly just recently: Want Another Bush? Elect McCain.

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Taylor Marsh

Taylor Marsh

Taylor is a political commentator and radio personality who has been interviewed by C-SPAN's Washington Journal and all across TV and right-wing radio. She's been on the web for 10 years, going to blogging in late 2005. Taylor is affiliated with The Patriot Project, writes for Huffington Post, as well as Alternet. Her radio show debuted in 2002, which she now brings to her blog Mon-Thur, 6:00 p.m. Eastern or 3:00 p.m. Pacific. One of her passions is painting and creating political art. The graphic at the top of her blog is taken from the expressionist flag art that hangs in her home. She was born in Missouri, and has lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and some points in between.

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