The McCain Staff Mutiny

July 10, 2007

Aides are departing John McCain’s struggling presidential campaign. For a while I believed McCain would be the eventual nominee on a last-man standing theory: Rudy would lose because he’s pro-choice, and Mitt would lose because he’s Mormon. But that seems to have been stupid of me.

(Who the hell can the Republicans actually nominate? I have no idea as they all seem terribly flawed. A Giuliani-Romney primary showdown will be too hilarious.)

Iraq is obviously a disaster and that has hurt McCain terribly (nice of the aides to depart today just in time to steal McCain’s thunder for his big Iraq speech from the Senate floor). I find the theory that Bush called McCain’s bluff on saying we needed the 20,000 additional troops rather interesting. This one was floating around the internets a while back, and I think I remember reading about it on Daily Kos. In any case, the idea is that McCain was calling for more troops last year in the expectation that the administration wouldn’t actually do that that and instead would go along with the Iraq Study Group. Then when Iraq inevitably continued to be a hellhole, McCain could blame others for not putting in the troops he said were necessary to fix things. He could use that criticism to springboard his campaign and set himself up rather well for the primaries — a Who Lost Iraq? strategy, if you will.

McCain hugs Bush

Of course, Bush called McCain’s bluff, the surge isn’t working out, and McCain’s campaign is being dragged down by the whole thing.

There’s also immigration, the political ramifications of which I probably haven’t adequately considered all along. The Republican base really, really hates them some illegal Mexicans. It’s the kind of thing northeastern liberals like me might never fully grasp, much like I can’t understand why red state people are so damn protective of their gun ownership rights.

Anyway, I started writing this post intending to conclude that my prediction — oft-repeated to family and friends in the last year or so — that McCain would be the Republican nominee looks pretty wrong right now. I’ve been in denial about this for a little while, often invoking the Kerry campaign’s back-from-the-dead nature in 2004; remember that Kerry fired his campaign manager in November 2003 . Hell, Howard Dean was looking strong for a time, so figuring out how things will happen this far in advance isn’t an exact science. And who knows, with Rick Davis back as campaign manager maybe McCain can rekindle some of his 2000 momentum yet. As long as he can scrape by financially, McCain may yet come out of this because, as I said, the GOP field doesn’t have a clear winner in it.

So I guess I will stubbornly cling to those previous claims, albeit with less certainty.


Words Not to Use Lightly When You Are Pope

May 9, 2007

One of those words has to be “excommunication.”

Pope Benedict XVI touched down in the world’s biggest Roman Catholic country yesterday hoping to help reverse a 20-year exodus to Brazil’s reborn evangelical churches, but immediately created controversy when he appeared to suggest that legislators who support laws allowing abortions should be excommunicated.

During a press conference on his flight to Sao Paulo, the Pope for the first time dealt in depth with a topic that has come up in many countries, including the United States, Mexico, and Italy.

He was asked whether he supported Mexican church leaders threatening to excommunicate leftist parliamentarians who last month voted to legalise abortion in Mexico City.

“Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by canon (church) law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ,” he said.

The Vatican’s chief spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, later tried to downplay the comments, saying the Pope was not himself ordering excommunications.

The denial of communication to politicians who support abortion rights is, of course, a familiar issue in the United States, with the John Kerry situation in 2004. Will this issue affect Rudy Giuliani this time around?

Rudy: Don’t bother me with this abortion crap

May 9, 2007

The Wednesday Washington Post bluntly calls Rudy Giuliani’s recent statements on abortion “rambling and sometimes contradictory” and recounts his appearance yesterday on Laura Ingraham’s radio show to try to make amends.

When Ingraham ended the segment with a standard line about his returning again, a clearly agitated Giuliani responded: “I would love to come back, but you’re going to have to ask me about the war on terror and what we do about the economy, which is after all what most citizens ask me about.”

“Well, conservatives are citizens, too, Mayor Giuliani!” Ingraham responded. “We’re citizens, too.”

It would be nice to have the audio of this to judge just how “agitated” Rudy really was for ourselves.

In any event, it sounds really arrogant for Giuliani to be brushing aside an issue that a lot of people care about so passionately. The campaign must have done some advance planning on how to handle the inevitable questions about Rudy’s abortion stance, right? If they did, it’s not showing these days.

Romney Won

May 3, 2007

I didn’t like any of the GOP candidates in the debate tonight (and there were ten of them!), but I think Mitt Romney turned in the most polished and “presidential” performance. He didn’t get tripped up or seem on the defensive, as Giuliani and McCain did at times, and the others are just background noise.

“There must be public funding for abortions for poor women.”

March 12, 2007

The Giuliani campaign must have some plan to deal with this sort of thing.

Even so, that sound bite is solid gold for the anti-Rudy pro-lifers.

While I hardly think that Rudy and others have exactly been consistent on all of these issues, I also think digging up something from 1989 is getting pretty far back. At some point there needs to be a statute of limitations on these things, right? Plenty of politicians have changed their minds on abortion over time, from Al Gore to Dick Gephardt to George Bush the Elder. It’s not the same thing as Mitt Romney stating his belief in abortion rights in 2002. Rudy even has hair in the video, which means it must be from way back.