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McCain Pushes Clinton Program
June 18, 2001 9:35 AM   Subscribe

McCain Pushes Clinton Program Even as GOP campaign strategists begin to plot his role in the 2002 Congressional campaign season, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is launching a legislative initiative sure to warm the hearts of moderates and liberals and further antagonize some conservatives.
posted by Rastafari (28 comments total)

Yet another reason I like John McCain, and wish he was the President today. Go John Go...
posted by Rastafari at 9:40 AM on June 18, 2001

Pushing a national service initiative is a long way from "The Clinton Program".

Do not be fooled. John McCain is not liberal or even moderate. If he is winding up for a 2004 run, he is just making noise that will distract Democrats from his real record. If he is not, he is just baiting Dubya. Same for the Kennedy-McCain HMO reform bill.
posted by briank at 9:49 AM on June 18, 2001

McCain was one of only two Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cut, supports a patients' bill of rights opposed by the White House, supports a bill to tighten a gun-show loophole and criticized Bush for opposing the Kyoto treaty.

He certainly looks like a moderate Republican to me.
posted by rcade at 9:52 AM on June 18, 2001

He is not a liberal but he is better than Prez Bushie.
posted by aj100 at 9:54 AM on June 18, 2001

Of course he's doing this. It's the perfect way for McPain to keep on getting the excessive media attention he craves:

1) Cherry pick the very issues most likely to piss off real Republicans. (You could hardly do better on this point than to pick AmeriCorps, a program that most conservatives believe to be little more than the Bill Clinton Inner City Patronage/Vote-Buying Service. Remember, the "volunteers" usually get paid.) (Or, even worse, they consider it an FDR-style New Deal program.)

2) Starting talking about them, loudly, to anybody who'll listen.

3) The liberal media eats it up, because they think McCain is a "maverick," and they give him oodles and oodles of free coverage.

It says something that half of Washington was convinced that the real reason for McCain's little backyard barbecue with Daschle last week was because McCain was going into conniptions about having his media fix cut off. McCain was expecting his latest round of slavish media adoration vis-a-vis how The Maverick would be interacting with the new Democratic leadership in the Senate, and instead found all the papers and networks going 24/7 on Tim McVeigh. Thus the "little friendly home-cooked meal."
posted by aaron at 9:56 AM on June 18, 2001

Read the article, Aaron: Nine Senate Republicans voted to reauthorize AmeriCorps last year (even Bush requested $733 million for it in his budget). I think some of those folks might be real Republicans.
posted by rcade at 10:03 AM on June 18, 2001

"The liberal media "
What any easy way to just dismiss whatever you don't like to hear from the media, by painting them all as biased.
I'm neither Republican or Democrat, and as a whole, I fail to see any leaning to either left or right. You can site specific examples (Fox News channel right, Nightline left), but to just wave your hand at the whole of it and declare it liberal weakens any argument.

As for McCain, Aaron, if you're accusing him of playing to the media with a series of cheap attention-getting stunts, you may as well accuse babies of drooling.
Find one presidential candidate, who did or does things any differently.
posted by dong_resin at 10:20 AM on June 18, 2001

My favorite bit is this: McCain ... has grown tired of the talk that he is a disloyal Republican. "I balance that with [the fact] that I'm the most-requested guy to campaign for them."
posted by s.e.b. at 10:25 AM on June 18, 2001

McCain pulls the same game as Bush, talk middle - vote right. These "initiatives" seem to be nothing more than red herrings, and the media slurps it up.
posted by owillis at 10:38 AM on June 18, 2001

owliss: Al Gore was much more conservative as a senator than he turned out to be as vice president or 2000 presidential candidate. Actually, he seemed more liberal as a candidate than he did in some ways as vice-president (the guy who talked Clinton into signing the welfare reform bill, according to most accounts.)
posted by raysmj at 10:41 AM on June 18, 2001

Same shit. Talk left, vote right Ray.

What do you all think about the talk of renewed republicanism? Is this a new movement, or is it already prominent but underplayed?

Personally, I think there is a growing need for an image change within the republican party, but I haven't really seen much beyond the 2000 talk. Somehow, National Greatness Conservatism doesn't jingle in my ears yet.
posted by mblandi at 10:54 AM on June 18, 2001

Troll Alert: I just read a post that definitely belongs in freeperland. My responses below. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Why must some posters to political issues continue to bait and troll and thus causing the thread to degenerate from a discussion of issues to personal attacks?

"It's the perfect way for McPain to keep on getting the excessive media attention he craves:"

Derogatory remark toward someone with whom he disagrees, "McPain" and assigning unfavorable traits towards the same individual, "media attention he craves." Also characterizing such media coverage as excessive. Accept these characterizations and assumptions anyone?

"real Republicans."

As opposed to those who might be characterized as non-real Republicans? Would those happen to be Republicans who abide by the ideals of the true party of Lincoln and reject the tenets of the Dixiecrat Republicans?

"most conservatives believe to be little more than the Bill Clinton Inner City Patronage/Vote-Buying Service"

Hmmmm, I suppose this could be intended to construe that Clinton might buy his way into power but most favored Republicans would NEVER do that. Yeah, right. And just exactly who speaks for "most conservatives" and just exactly what is their accepted definition of "conservative?"

"The liberal media"
Many would argue this characterization of media presents an extreme and unrealistic viewpoint of today's coverage of political events. Kinda like nonexistent.
posted by nofundy at 10:57 AM on June 18, 2001

Some already did.
posted by dong_resin at 11:03 AM on June 18, 2001

Gee, I thought that only the Washington Times, Lynne Cheney and the Quayle family still used the "liberal media" thing....
Anyway, McCain's voting record in the Senate IS pretty conservative -- I always try to look at what politicians do, not to listen to what they say, otherwise after all that campaign "compassion" talk I'll be convinced that W. is really a moderate, Eisenhower Republican.
But if you're either a Democrat or a moderate Republican (there are still some of them, somewhere) McCain DOES look good, if you compare him to his many shameless corporate-interest-serving distinguished colleagues
My opinion for McCain in 2004? He'll be too old, the ugly Primary talk about his "mental instability" will surface again (the White House will deny any knowledge of course).
He should have run as an independent last year. That would have made the campaign really interesting
posted by matteo at 11:31 AM on June 18, 2001

Find one presidential candidate, who did or does things any differently.

That's the trouble - McCain isn't a presidential candidate. The election is over, and he lost. The GOP sent a very very clear message to John, which is that they didn't want them for their president. If Arizona wanted him to represent their interests in the Senate, fine, but he wasn't the national voice of the GOP.

He seems to not have gotten that message. He is not the top dog, he does not get to control the agenda. If he wants to continue to act outside of the sphere of the party that he so desperately wanted to lead 12 months ago, fine -- but when he gets called on it, who should be surprised?

If he's trying to set himself up to run against Bush in 2004 as a Republican, alienating the party core is going about it the wrong way. If he's trying to set himself up to run as an independent in 2004, he's going to have to go a lot further to gather the number of allies he will need to make it successful. The test of whether or not McCain is really dedicated to all of his ideals will come over time when we see if he's really willing to go balls to the wall for them when the heat gets high. (And I believe strongly that we ain't seen nothing yet.) My guess is no.
posted by Dreama at 11:44 AM on June 18, 2001

A lot of the "renewed conservatism" talk seems to be coming from people like the Project for Conservative Reform.
posted by rcade at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2001

Less visibly, it seems we have a similar difference of opinion in the Democratic party. There are those of us who are more centrist, third-way Democrats who believe that our agenda is more sellable to the moderate Republicans, and to "America" in general while the other side sees Gore's "loss" as evidence that the party needs to turn more left (Naderesque). And while I don't doubt that the Democrats could do with a stronger "way left" presence - I feel that it has zero chance of succeeding in an election (Dukakis). "America ain't gonna elect a hippie, unless he's wearing a suit and talks a good game."
posted by owillis at 12:00 PM on June 18, 2001

And with all this talk going on that McCAin and Daschle shared a sofa bed... who knows what may happen with mcain.

McCain remains popular among independents and among many Democrats. The fact that Republicans are recruiting him to campaign in 2002 says enough. Cashing it for an independent run may not be the way to go.
posted by brucec at 12:06 PM on June 18, 2001

gee, dreama, by your logic the opposition to the party in power can never say a word about anything, because they lost. You lost, you shut up. In purely political time terms, by the way, the Republican primary of 2000 is about the year 1950 in regular human time. Agreed that he's not helping himself with a Republican base here at all, but maybe he doesn't care about that. I can't say exactly what he's trying to do -- maybe he doesn't know for certain -- but the relevance of the 2000 race seems nil here, and there were many peculiar variables there anyway. If I'm not mistaken, a lot of the GOP organizations in smaller states don't dig the way the the primaries are organized. At least I read an article to this effect last year. (Believe it was during convention time.) They want the front-loading to end, the article said, the front-loading which undoubtedly gave a huge edge to candidates with name higher name recognition and larger cash reserves. The almost 98 percent clear favorite in 2000, then, was Bush.

(That also made Gore the favorite, but he was Veep to begin with. Bush's being Prez will make him the favorite in 2004 no matter what primary system is in place.)
posted by raysmj at 12:07 PM on June 18, 2001

"America ain't gonna elect a hippie, unless he's wearing a suit and talks a good game."

Gore plus Nader votes is 52 million, a center-left majority of voting electorate. The next Democratic team needs to be more progressive.
posted by brucec at 12:09 PM on June 18, 2001

Bush's being Prez will make him the favorite in 2004 no matter what primary system is in place.)

That's true in most elections (the incumbent Pres wins 75% of the time. ) But in years with a disapointing economy, it reverses, and it is usually a burden to be the incumbent.
posted by brucec at 12:12 PM on June 18, 2001

on second thought ray, I see your talking about primaries. Yes, Reagan's run against Ford and Kennedy's run against CArter show that it is foolish for any party to have the incumbent president challenged in a primary, no matter how bad the incumbent is.
posted by brucec at 12:14 PM on June 18, 2001

The deepest bias the media has is not being liberal, but being lazy. There are exceptions, but most of the people making coverage decisions are just following the herd.
posted by Joe Hutch at 12:16 PM on June 18, 2001

gee, dreama, by your logic the opposition to the party in power can never say a word about anything, because they lost.

That wasn't my point. My point was that the GOP did not choose McCain to be their leader, but he's acting as though they did and in doing so, he's making enemies out of his own. He doesn't get to pick the agenda, and if he keeps acting like a maverick, that's how he's going to be treated. He's purposefully marginalising himself, and if he expects to regain, reinvigorate and boost his popularity enough to topple Bush as the GOP pres. candidate in 2004, he will need to reign himself in. And if his goal is to go indy, then he needs to go big and quit playing RINO games until the time suits him to break out on his own. At his level, you either are, or you're not. Flitting back and forth between party faithful and agitating stormstirrer is just juvenile and counterproductive.
posted by Dreama at 12:22 PM on June 18, 2001

What Gore would gain by being more "progressive" he would lose even more from the more centrist/Republicans. Clinton successfully ran in the middle in 1992/96 - why change from a good strategy?
posted by owillis at 12:27 PM on June 18, 2001

I am pleased that McCain for whatever his reasons is bucking his own party. The GOP seem to walk lockstep behind whoever their leader, no matter how good or bac he may be. I like a person who is willing to do what he believes is right even if it means going against his party's wishes, no matter which party.
posted by Postroad at 12:34 PM on June 18, 2001

Call me naive, but why is this program perceived as being "liberal?" Call me naive, but when did party loyalty become more honorable than true integrity? These shoeboxes serve no purpose. Creating a third party in order to provide room for people that act upon what they believe in seems artificial.
posted by machaus at 2:43 PM on June 18, 2001

Gore plus Nader votes is 52 million, a center-left majority of voting electorate. The next Democratic team needs to be more progressive.

Please, identify for me the candidate who would simultaneously be LEFT enought to get all of Nader's votes, and CENTER enough to get all of Gore's votes. I don't think such a candidate exists.
posted by mikewas at 4:50 PM on June 18, 2001

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