McCain in Vain
Ever since John McCain downsized his presidential campaign, there have been a host of news articles about the liberating effect of that move on his candidacy.  While the latest comes to us courtesy of The New York Times, these stories are all variations on a theme. Freed from controlling political consultants and campaign bureaucracy, the iconoclastic, straight-talking politician is regaining his footing on the trail, perhaps even recapturing a bit of the magic from his 2000 run in New Hampshire.
I have witnessed the power of McCain on the stump many times, and I have seen firsthand the genuine connection that he makes with voters when he speaks his mind.  Yet, the real problem for McCain this time around is a more fundamental ideological one.  He finds himself boxed in on both sides by the positions he has taken on immigration reform and Iraq.
On the left, New Hampshire's independent voters, who voted enthusiastically for McCain in 2000, still love the man, but are truly unhappy with his support of the Bush administration's surge policy.  On the right, conservatives, who continue to question (perhaps unfairly) McCain's commitment to their social agenda, are mightily displeased with his position on immigration reform.
So, the question is, from where does McCain piece together a winning coalition in the primary? If New Hampshire's big block of independent voters abandon him over Iraq for more promising Democratic pastures, and conservatives continue to question his true ideological colors, the "happy warrior,” may find himself with insufficient troops to lead into battle.


Posted On: 10-09-2007 16:47:23 by Lynn Vavreck
What do you think of this possibilty -- If Clinton has the Democratic nomination locked up in NH, the undeclared partisans who you describe above (who lean Democratic this time) may choose to opt out of the Democratic primary (their preferences are realized even if they do not vote) and vote in the Republican primary for the opponent they would prefer second to Hillary if she loses the general. This is a slightly different take on the traditional theory of "strategic voting", in which out-party partisans usually try to hijack the other party's primary to elect the LEAST viable general election opponent. In this case, undecalred partisans are able to ensure their first preference (a Clinton nominee) and avoid maximum regret (a non-McCain Republican president). Thoughts?

Posted On: 10-08-2007 15:17:19 by JK from NY
Much more than in 2000, McCain comes across as angry and irritable. It think voters want someone with an optimistic, positive outlook -- dare I say "inspirational?" Not someone who's pissed off that he's doing so poorly in the polls and feels "entitled" to win the GOP nomination given his political and military service to the country.

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