McCain considering whether to leave GOP
June 1, 2001 8:36 PM   Subscribe

McCain considering whether to leave GOP Self-explanatory. Not exactly breaking news, considering that the National Journal reported the same (a tidbit also reported on the Web's It is, however, the first time I've seen the "rampant speculation," as journalists like to put it, make for a headline article in a major newspaper. McCain advocate William Kristol may be the person to watch here, since he increasingly seems to advocate a sort-of Teddy Roosevelt-like ideology. Oh, intrigue. Goodie.
posted by raysmj (33 comments total)
There was some interesting analysis on Jeffords that indicated the Republicans may be eating their own young in the name of ideological purity. A key quote from the article, roughly:

"For movement Republicans, the drive begun by [National Review founder] William F. Buckley Jr., and [1964 GOP nominee] Barry Goldwater, to create an ideological Republican Party was a remarkable success," said Seymour Martin Lipset, a George Mason University political scientist. The conversion of the GOP into a more ideological movement has, however, created a climate in which dissenters are viewed as "traitors," Lipset said.

And if you hie thee over to F.R., one finds frequent use of the pejorative RINO (Republican In Name Only, its euphony with detested Janet Reno surely no mistake), applied to anyone who fails to dig in and fight to the balls for hard-right principles.

A provocative quote illustrating this was posted on Slate:

All throughout the week we've seen Jeffords described as a moderate republican, sometimes even as a liberal republican. All this does is point up how absurdly stacked the definition of "conservative" is in America these days. To qualify as a conservative in the U.S. you have to actively advocate a set of policies so extreme that they'd get you written-off as a lunatic in most normal industrial democracies out there.... If the U.S. political system was anywhere near normal, if sanity was considered a necessary pre-requisite for holding political office, then Jim Jeffords would hit the definition of conservative pretty much on the nose. Jeffords cares about the environment, but wishes it to be protected in a way that doesn't impose unreasonable costs on business. He's worried about education and health, but wants to address those problems without making people's tax bills become too oppressive. He's worried about the public interest, but mistrusts big government. Through most of the democratic world this is a standard conservative agenda. It's only in the U.S. that you're not considered man enough to count as a conservative unless you actively advocate environmental degradation, widening inequality, underinvestment in public services and pigheaded chauvinistic nationalism.

Indeed. (Spot-on quotes snagged via NowThis.) The Bush White House was more than happy to snub Jeffords, a snub that I feel is more illustrative than causative, because they don't have anyplace in the party for New England moderates -- Rockefeller Republicans -- anymore. Sure, brush 'em on out the door, then, even if it means losing your Senate majority! They remain confident that they can snag enough moderate Dems to pass most of their legislation, but Bush may have severely misjudged his field of play here. Texas Democrats are pretty moderate and sympathetic to conservative legislative approaches, but Washington Democrats sure as hell aren't. Without control of the Senate agenda, Bush is going to have a much harder time of things, and bicameral bill-massaging is going to be much more difficult and protracted.

Republicans also seem overly confident that redistricting is going to reap them rewards in the 2002 mid-terms. Perhaps, in some cases (though redistricting here in Illinois has apparently proven to be at the expense of downstate moderate Dems, more than anyone, as power has shifted toward Chicago). They forget that even as their suburban power base seems to grow, the issues that matter to those entrenched suburbanites grow more centrist. In other words, while growth may seem broadly in favor of Republicans, it is also going to tilt the Republicans elected more toward the center in the long run.

In other words (bringing this all back on topic), they're probably going to be electing more Jeffordses and McCains. This could be seen as a good thing. Instead, the Jeffordses and McCains -- and their voters -- won't necessarily be comfortable in an ideologically pure GOP.
posted by dhartung at 9:07 PM on June 1, 2001

An intriguing backgrounder on the Kristol-David Brooks split with current-day conservatism, and its ties to McCain, from the New Republic. A third party, it is said here, could not win the presidency and would likely only throw the vote to the Dems. as Roosevelt's Bull Moose bid only helped Wilson. Of course, few analysts ever thought we'd see a popular vote winner lose to the Electoral College winner in modern times either, but the above statement rings true to me. Only one caveat: Third parties can absolutely have a major effect on politics in America, if their leaders have a sense of political realism and go for broke. They will likely have their ideas co-opted if at all successful, but . . . that's success. And you can't say with any honesty that Roosevelt's Bull Moose/Progressive run was an outright failure.
posted by raysmj at 9:24 PM on June 1, 2001

Redistricting obviously won't affect the much closer Senate situation. The GOP runs a real risk of alienating a large portion of its own Silent Majority, which in both the Democratic and Republican parties seem to consist of this mythic moderate base. I would posit that Bush is in the White House solely because he successfully positioned himself as a bi-partisan moderate pragmatist. If this administration doesn't hew quickly back to center, not only will the voters remember this in 2004 (and possibly 2002) but even members of their own party will begin to ask the question that Jeffords and now McCain are asking: Are the leaders of the Republican party becoming too extremist fringe to represent myself and my constituency?

Related note: Interesting op-ed article here at from Arianna Huffington (who's been interesting to watch migrate from knee-jerk conservatism to left-moderate views these past few years). She discusses the late Lee Atwater, and how at the end of his life he regretted his dirty tricks, win-at-all-costs political viewpoint- a lessen Rove et al would do well to learn.
posted by hincandenza at 9:33 PM on June 1, 2001

This... I don't like. McCain, "centrist" though he may be is still quite Republican. He's got enough pull with the Naderinas and the Democrat core to get a nomination (and rest assured he is running in 2004), while they won't realize his voting record doesn't quite jibe.
posted by owillis at 9:33 PM on June 1, 2001

owillis: This much is true- in the last two decades, a concerted effort by conservatives has resulted in a rightward redefining of the public and media voices of "conservatism" and "liberalism". So-called moderates and centrists are really conservatives, and the loudest pundit and political voice of liberalism is at best a lapdog moderate.

McCain, like Nader, is disingenuous and gets a great deal of mileage from being perceived as a "straight-talking" politician. Nevertheless, he is pragmatic enough a politician to realize the Republican party holding this hardline stance is bad for both parties, bad for the art of compromise which is at the heart of political and democratic functioning.
posted by hincandenza at 9:44 PM on June 1, 2001

Owliss: No 2001 votes in there. McCain seems to be increasingly less conservative, although it may be because of the issues he has picked as his causes. (Anti-Big Tobacco, anti-the Bush tax cut, pro campaign finance reform.) That the DLC would find much to agree with him on is not surprising, but one must remember that House convervatives have termed the Dem. Blue Dog coalition liberal as of late. The environmental part is, I would guess, something that has been stressed to him via Brooks. The only part about him that worries me is the supposed "hawkish" foreign policy views.

Of course, some Dems. on there would've been more conservative in the past few years or previous lifetimes too. Al Gore, anyone? It's the big issues a candidate pushes, however, that make the politician more than the details (which is not to say they are unimportant). Not saying that he doesn't deserve skepticism at all, mind you. Maybe it's more an issue now of "how" conservative, but we live in an Era of Weird. There's something happening, and the heck if I know what it totally is.
posted by raysmj at 9:51 PM on June 1, 2001

junta baby,junta.
posted by clavdivs at 10:38 PM on June 1, 2001

The article tells something that political observers have known for a while: The GOP isn't shutting out McCain; MCain is abandoning prinicples he once held dear:

Over the last two years, McCain has undergone a virtual ideological conversion, severing almost all ties to the right wing of the GOP. In addition to supporting legislation adamantly opposed by most of his Republican colleagues, he has joined Democrats in becoming a leading sponsor of patients' rights, fewer tax breaks for the rich and new gun control measures.

Incidentally, I find it odd that the phrase "tax breaks for the rich" made it into a supposedly objective "news" article - but wait, it's that wily Washington Post again, bastion of the conservstive media. That explains it.
posted by mikewas at 10:48 PM on June 1, 2001

mikewas: Your own statement demonstrates the point. McCain is "severing" the ties to the right-wing leadership. The question is, why? With Jeffords, one can try to say it's because he's disloyal and opportunist or whatever other faults one wants to project, and even play that game with McCain. But at a certain point, we'd have to start considering the possibility that the right-wing no-prisoners leadership is actually driving away formerly loyal party members? McCain's been a looong time Republican, like Jeffords, and he is rumored to be considering a breakaway... this says something, and not necessarily about McCain or Jeffords.

Okay, now I'm diverging from the original topic to address mikewas' last post... The Washington post is fairly conservative, yes. Have you checked out their op-ed, for example? What, people like Michael Kelly, George Will, you think of these people as liberals or even moderates? Even David Broder is moderate- conservative; he shares the tendency of the James Restons or even Walter Lippmann's to general accept as gospel truth the party line of official spin, to foolishly assume that the powerful never lie to him.

As I noted in a different thread a few days ago, "objectivity" doesn't mean mindless parroting of official statements and press releases. It is also the job of the press to critique political sentiments, to set them in historical and factual context. While it may hurt the tender feelings of those who supported Bush's original and/or the modified tax cut, a "tax break for the rich", is, after all, a pretty straightforward concept: tax breaks, for the rich, "the rich" defined as the wealthiest citizens of this country. Trying to couch that in phrases that are more pleasant and palatable would, after all, be biased, wouldn't it?
posted by hincandenza at 11:15 PM on June 1, 2001

My guess that this has a lot less to do with McCain changing his ideology and more to do with his personal grudge against Bush. As I recall, in February of last year during the South Carolina primary, McCain called himself a "proud Reagan conservative" in his TV ad and argued strenuously about how conservative he truly was, which does not mesh with the moderate views he supposedly holds now. Now combined with the continued rejection of his pet finance reform bill by Bush, I would not be surprised if he's doing this *only* to run for president as an independent in 2004, knowing that he certainly would not have a chance to win and would then throw the presidency to the Democratic candidate.
posted by gyc at 12:23 AM on June 2, 2001

As a libertarian that generally votes republican I was glad to see Jeffords leave the GOP and hope that McCain leaves as well.
posted by revbrian at 1:20 AM on June 2, 2001

Incidentally, I find it odd that the phrase "tax breaks for the rich" made it into a supposedly objective "news" article - but wait, it's that wily Washington Post again, bastion of the conservstive media. That explains it.

How is that particular phrase subjective? How is it possible to say that without being so? “Lower taxes for those in higher income brackets...”? Still sounds like a statement of fact either way. Perhaps you’re saying just mentioning the class structure is egregious political talk.

Regarding the topic: If I were a well-regarded, high profile US senator in a powerful political party who just had one of their own break ties, which effectively crippled the agenda and imperiled the party, I know exactly what I’d be doing. Even if I wasn’t sure about leaving the party I’d get my staff to whisper in every available ear that I was considering doing the exact same thing. This gives me two advantages: 1) keeps my name in the news, which is important for any politician 2) makes the party leadership placate me regardless whether I need it.

To me, the question isn’t if McCain is going to leave the party but how long he can keep up this talk about whether he will. McCain is using this to collect political capital, just like any other good politician.

Here are those Bull Moose conservatives you guys were talking about earlier. They’re less authoritarian than Republicans, but still fetishisize militarism.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 4:44 AM on June 2, 2001

Say what you like about McCain's deeply paradoxical voting record and public statements, but for that brief period last year before he was slandered out of the primaries, he managed to inject some life into the campaign.

Is there a place within the Bush-Lott Republican party for McCain to have much of a voice? Probably not until 2008. And since your prospects in a Presidential race don't depend so totally on the success of your party, there's plenty of reasons to cut loose. (Unlike Tory MPs such as Michael Portillo, who need to guarantee their own seats and party base before challenging the leader.)

I'd make the comparison between American and British politics, to the extent that certain areas of debate (crime, immigration) have been pushed so far to the right by the ostensibly centre-left party of government, that any cross-party analysis blind-sides the left. Similarly, the Freepers regard "true conservatism" as something not so far short of the sort of politics that in continental Europe might be labelled "neo-Fascist".
posted by holgate at 6:33 AM on June 2, 2001

cap'n: The reference to the Bull Moose party was a reference to the one-time independent party of Teddy Roosevelt, not to what you pointed to, which is/was directly tied to the Republican party. Roosevelt was, if you know anything about history was one of the first major politicians of his time to say that the government's power needed to match that of the power of industry, in order to keep the latter from growing out of control. He was also militaristic, but that wasn't all that peculiar then. When I think Bull Moose, though, I'm not thinking militarism. More early 20th Century "progressivism." Teddy's run helped Wilson to get elected, of course, but it's rarely pointed out that they shared many similar views, and won the votes of progressives. Eugene V. Debs won 6 percent of the vote in the same election, beating anything Ralph Nader (who I thought sounded rather socially conservative at heart -- just felt like throwing that in somewhere) came close to in November 2000. And Teddy won 27, with Wilson's 42 or so (?), so you had a giant center-left majority in that election.
posted by raysmj at 9:29 AM on June 2, 2001

cap'n: Looked over that site you sent one more time, and I'd call it a fusion of sorts. JFK and Ronnie quoted on the same page? Hee. Not impossible, although personally I'd keep Ronnie out, 'cept maybe the photography and maybe a few good speeches. Sounds like a Kristol-McCain thing, but like they're thinking something out in public. Weird stuff.
posted by raysmj at 9:57 AM on June 2, 2001

How is that particular phrase subjective? How is it possible to say that without being so? “Lower taxes for those in higher income brackets...”? Still sounds like a statement of fact either way.

It's subjective because it's straight from Democrat dogma about a tax plan that benefits everyone. Calling it "for the rich" is deceptive, and calling them "tax breaks" is ideological.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:58 AM on June 2, 2001

Okay lj, back to my question then: How should it have been written? Perhaps this is more suitable: “He is against lower taxes for those earning high incomes.”

If that is better I could easily consider “lower taxes” a “tax break” and those with “high incomes” are “rich.”

I just fail to see the bias.

ray, I know the difference between Teddy’s Bull Moosers (San Juan Hill is still eulogized where I used live every summer) and the modern day ones. I thought I read something in this thread about the rebirth of progressive conservatism (I’m just as confused as you how Reagen fits that description), hence the link, but maybe I’m daydreaming.

Re: Ralph. Socially he’s mostly a libertarian — I don’t think that neccesarily means conservative; fiscally he’s comparably liberal.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 12:05 PM on June 2, 2001

cap'n: I'm guessing that Reagan is thrown in for a few reasons, among them: 1) He's a Republican, and these guys are still Republicans, which means they play to the base in whatever way possible; 2). Reagan was anti-communist, and these guys aren't in favor of the pro-trade-with-China-at-any-cost ideal; 3) Reagan was extremely popular with Americans, not the least for his effective use of a very American sort of imagery and speech-making; 4) He had some ideals, even if he didn't live up to them all that much (bringing back the "small scale" and blah blah)and 5) He was patriotic. The moderate conservative wing, especially this bunch, first started turning weary of the far right when Bork, etc., began questioning the morality of Americans. Bork even went so far as to call for a new Constitution (also you can factor in the wanting to put the 10 commandments in the courts, etc., which Ronnie would've appreciated, but which turned Kristol/Brooks off).

With Ralph, I remember his praise of an investigation into the entertainment industry after Columbine. He was basically agreeing that movies, etc., are undermining American morality, etc. He just had a different take on it (the corporations caused the problems and needed to be broken up). Funny, I thought then, that some Hollywood folks said they'd vote for him rather than Gore because of Lieberman, when Ralph wanted them shut down and libertine values pushed aside. Also, he'd made anti-gay statements before, or at least seemed rather ambiguous on the issues, before he ran in 2000. Then he chewed folks out about worrying about the Supreme Court and abortion, basically saying that other matters were more important -- which may be true, but only Ralph could've gotten away with it with the left. I truly don't believe abortion rights are important to him regardless.
posted by raysmj at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2001

The anti-Hollywood editorial by Ralph Nader I referenced can be found here. That ain't social liberalism.
posted by raysmj at 1:14 PM on June 2, 2001

Okay lj, back to my question then: How should it have been written? Perhaps this is more suitable: “He is against lower taxes for those earning high incomes.”

If that is better I could easily consider “lower taxes” a “tax break” and those with “high incomes” are “rich.”

I just fail to see the bias.

By labelling the tax cut as "for the rich" it is biased. It's the same as saying the tax cut is "for the whites." Yes, white people will benefit, but so will non-whites, and the tax cut is not targeted to whites. Nor is it exclusively beneficial to rich people, or targeted to them.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:44 PM on June 2, 2001

McCain officially says now he won't be leaving the GOP, which is good.
posted by owillis at 2:41 PM on June 2, 2001

lj, the phrase was, “... he has joined Democrats in becoming a leading sponsor of ... fewer tax breaks for the rich.” It wasn’t about the latest tax cut. The meaning of the phrase was that McCain doesn’t want to continue cutting income taxes for wealthy people. I fail to see how stating someone’s opinion could have some reporting bias in it. Is the phrase, “Tom thinks pitbulls are ugly,” biased against pitbulls?

It is a description of the man’s opinion. Where’s the bias?

ray, I totally agree with your Nader assesment. As a person he isn’t terribly sexual and he just can’t wrap his head around any issue relating to “gonadal politics” as he calls it.

In the sexual arena political groups always play themselves the victim. Christian conservatives say homosexuals hurt them by diluting community values, right to choose groups say lawmakers hurt them by legislating their bodies, and so on. In these cases, where emotions run high, both sides want their politicans not only to side with them but also give them some emotional support by speaking out. Since Nader refuses to take such a strong stand on these issues the gonadal political groups don’t trust him.

To be at best ambiguous and at worst aggressively ambivalent in this regard is Nader’s biggest positional failing. Not only does Nader not feel your pain, he really doesn’t care much. I think that makes a better politician — there isn’t any pandering like “compassionate conservatism”, no congressional subcommittee ready to codle some au courant deficiency, just a focus on policy.

Nader’s editorial you linked to fits your first description and the one I just wrote. Lots of folks — not just Tipper and Lieberman — think media corporations ought to be more responsible in what they market and to whom. That isn’t quite censorship. It’s the same as saying a coal burning power plant shouldn’t be built next to a park. Believing that media can change people, that images can empower or demonize, is growing and will continue to grow as fewer companies continue to create homogenized, and often, vulgar products.

My question regarding how long McCain was going to keep the rumors running just got answered. He must’ve got what he wanted from Majority Leader Daschle.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:45 PM on June 2, 2001

If I were Daschle, I'd want McCain inside, pissing in. He's the kind of thorn in the side of a party organisation that opposition leaders have wet dreams about. (vide: the "bastards" of John Major's Tory party between '92 and '97.)
posted by holgate at 2:58 PM on June 2, 2001

lj, the phrase was, “... he has joined Democrats in becoming a leading sponsor of ... fewer tax breaks for the rich.” It wasn’t about the latest tax cut.

Well, I'm not really in the mood to split hairs. Of course, there never has been "tax breaks for the rich." There have been tax breaks. They benefit the rich and the not-rich.

I fail to see how stating someone’s opinion could have some reporting bias in it.

Is that McCain's opinion, or is it the Post's framing of his opinion? That's the point.
posted by ljromanoff at 3:12 PM on June 2, 2001

cap'n: You don't have to feel anyone's pain. I'd be grateful if one didn't say so. It's a form of theater, y'know. (Which George W.'s father couldn't pull off at all. Why even try when the best you read off a cue-card accidentally, "Message: I Care.") It's salesmanship. And it only works if the talk is backed up in whatever way with action. Clinton didn't totally back up the pain bit, I don't think, not hardly, but he did better than most in that White House in the past coupla decades. Still, the pain-feeling and "you don't know what's in my heart" thing (of course not, and who cares?) is a fairly repulsive trend.

The thing is, though, no one wants to hear about policy details all day either. Do you blame people for this? Sheesh. There has to be something more. You may hate that, but people want something to latch onto. They want leadership from a president, their senator, governor, city councilman, etc. They want and need leadership from everywhere. They need to think for their freakin' selves too -- that area could always use some work -- but they need leadership and leadership about something.
posted by raysmj at 3:30 PM on June 2, 2001

ray: It's a form of theater.

Read this month’s Harper’s cover story. It’s brilliant and addresses that directly for five or six pages. Just brilliant. Go get it.

lj: Is that McCain's opinion, or is it the Post's framing of his opinion?

You think the WP twists McCain’s opinion to their liberal agenda with the phrase “[McCain] ... sponsors ... fewer tax breaks for the rich.”

“I don't think right now that the top 1 percent ... need 38 percent of the tax cuts."
— John McCain, January 19, 2000

“... I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief.”
— John McCain, May 26, 2001

So, McCain has stated at least twice and over a span of more than a year that it is his opinion that he thinks the rich benefit from too many tax cuts. Damn that biased media!
posted by capt.crackpipe at 3:44 PM on June 2, 2001

cap'n: Oh, I did. My most astonishing insight, not provided by the author -- Arthur Miller uses very few big words. Almost none, actually. Good for him. Meantime, I think he basically restated my not-as-elegant thesis regarding Clinton: People liked that they were able to see the strings being pulled, so to speak. They knew he was full of shit, but were cool with it.
posted by raysmj at 3:50 PM on June 2, 2001

lj: Is that McCain's opinion, or is it the Post's framing of his opinion?

You think the WP twists McCain’s opinion to their liberal agenda with the phrase “[McCain] ... sponsors ... fewer tax breaks for the rich.”

I didn't say I thought that, it was a question.

Would it surprise me if they did? No, not at all.
posted by ljromanoff at 3:54 PM on June 2, 2001

Not only were they cool with it, it’s what they wanted. A good example is the media criticizing Gore for “shaking his head in helpless disbelief at some inanity Bush had spoken... [T]his earned him many bad reviews for ... his superior airs. [H]e had stepped out of costume and revealed his reality. This ... was condemned as a failure of acting.”

And it’s such a great way to look at the success of politicians — how well do they believe they are president? Reagan incorporated the role stunningly, as did Clinton. But Bush acknowledges that he’s shocked he’s the president, so he’s failing in the role. Which is too bad, after the raucous what the nation needed was a supremely talented actor. “I’m the rightful president, everyone do what I say!” It’s just so hard to believe this mediocre ex-Yalie is president.

That whole essay was just spot on in everyway. I think I’ll read it again soon as I stop working tonight.

lj: I didn't say I thought that, it was a question.

I thought your question was rhetorical, it sure seemed it.

Would it surprise me if they did? No, not at all.

Clearly the WP didn’t twist McCain’s opinion, so the call of bias is a touch off. As much of the tut-tuting of the liberal media conspiracy usually is.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 4:39 PM on June 2, 2001

Clearly the WP didn’t twist McCain’s opinion, so the call of bias is a touch off. As much of the tut-tuting of the liberal media conspiracy usually is.

Unless they were quoting him, using the phrase "tax breaks for the rich" is still biased.

And no one's claiming there's a conspiracy that the media is liberally biased - it can be biased without any "conspriacy."
posted by ljromanoff at 5:20 PM on June 2, 2001

cap'n: But I think part of Miller's point is, acting is huge part of leading in America, given that the president leads via media. Has been since Teddy R.'s day. (FDR was in a wheelchair? And . . . ? Radio was the big media thing then.) Miller seemed to be trying to say, though, that without good results, the acting will likely not take a politician very far.

Moreover, I don't think he digs the media's delusions as to what the real is. Reporters and pundits questioned Gore's "authenticity" a zillion times, when all they really meant is that he hadn't found a good theatrical role and stuck with it. I believe that, to a certain extent, people parrot what they hear from media and thus I heard this line from people from all over. Which is too bad, since that crap is bad not only for politics, but for life. Confusing role with soul is bad for everyone. Image is not everything. It's only true that for the president to lead, at least, image is a giant something -- and that's as far as it should go.

Of course, this is partly the reason for skepticism with McCain. Do media types freak out over him because he's a "straight talker" or a really good actor, a man with a certain charisma? Nothing wrong with the good actor part, but you can go overboard.
posted by raysmj at 5:47 PM on June 2, 2001

McCain is great on TV, has a great story (POW) and that's why the media loves him, ergo why he gets way more press than he warrants. He has a few populist issues (campaign finance) but seems to be more in the "talks middle, votes right" mold like Dubya. Having him in the GOP visibly butting heads with Shrub is a nice poison pill for the Democrats, and gets him even more press - fueling his presidential aspirations.
posted by owillis at 9:25 PM on June 2, 2001

owliss: The media-love thing is bigger than McCain and his ideology. In any case, he also satisfies a media need for drama, which is another reason the press loves him and seemingly vice versa. (Some reporters/pundits love the campaign finance thing too, I think, as a consquentce of seeing the finance action up close.) Whether one can lead with that sort of media infatuation, though, is another question -- when he attacked the Christian right in South Carolina, it was cinematic, but downbeat, and the press didn't dig that much. It didn't follow the script! It sounded bitter or angry or . . . well, or something! This is partially why Al Gore struggled so hard to find a role to fit him. You have to be Mr. Blah, in a sense, or the press will hate you. I say tell them to f off, only in a charming way, sorta like FDR and Ronnie. McCain, however, probably won't ever do that.
posted by raysmj at 10:28 PM on June 2, 2001

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