Thursday, January 04, 2007

2008: McCain Update

The formerly easy road to the GOP nomination n 2008 for John McCain continues to crumble before him. Although his main rival Giuliani was the one to have a major disaster befall his campaign this week (playbookgate), McCain still managed to get hammered by all sides of the political spectrum.

Everyone, it seems, is jabbing at John McCain these days _ from a Republican rival for the presidential nomination to several potential Democratic candidates."When you're the perceived front-runner, your head's above the political trench and everyone takes shots at you," said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist and presidential campaign veteran.McCain, considered by many to be the Republican to beat, has largely remained silent about the criticism, which is somewhat uncharacteristic for the outspoken Arizona senator. His presidential exploratory committee on Wednesday declined to comment on the spate of reproaches over his stands on gay marriage and the Iraq war.

And the main suspicion is beginning to fall on JMac's "gleeful" and crafty peeps in the Rudy notebook issue. Considering that McCain had lost the title of GOP frontrunner to Rudy about the time of the heist, it surely is plausible. Turning Rudy into the poor victim? No good...

It's hard to tell whether all of this flak headed toward McCain is a sign that he's still seen as the most formidable candidate in the GOP race or is simply being kicked while he's reeling. His campaign is apparently confused as to what JMac's ideological makeup should be for his presidential run, with his early signs of uber-pandering to the evangelical right now well back in the past and a new push with Ted Kennedy for a Senate immigration bill being viewed as "amnesty" by indignant anti-illegal conservatives.

And now his staunch stay-at-all-cost+more-troops doctrine for Iraq is unraveling. Despite a public strategy of standing by his continuing comments supporting an indefinite occupation of Iraq plus sending more troops there, some quotes from last year and from staffers are now haunting JMac.

In the February ‘07 issue of Vanity Fair, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is quoted telling a group of conservatives last October that the Iraq war “ isn't going to be around in 2008".

According to Vanity Fair, an audience member told McCain, “The war’s the big issue. Some kind of disengagement — it’s going to have to happen. It’s a big issue for you…in 24 months.” McCain responded:

“I do believe this issue isn’t going to be around in 2008. I think it’s going to either tip into civil war … ” He breaks off, as if not wanting to rehearse the handful of other unattractive possibilities. “Listen,” he says, “I believe in prayer. I pray every night.” And that’s where he leaves his discussion of the war this morning: at the kneeling rail.

"Isn't going to be around"? He knows that he's beat on Iraq, and will obviously now play down all mentions as much as possible. But can he really believe that Iraq will be over by '08? That's pure desperation disguised as ignorance.



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