Thursday, February 22, 2007
Ear to the Ground
Disturbing rumblings from the grass roots.
PSAYINGS.5A.12. If you're already as bored as we are by all the premature analysis of the premature 2007 presidential campaign, you're probably wishing something interesting would happen. Over at the always entertaining Ace of Spades (AoS) website, Jack M. has offered up an election scenario that's intriguing on several levels.
Let's look at 2008. We have a supposedly "unpopular" war, and a President who can not run, and a VP who isn't going to do so. The Democratic nominee will be an unrepentant liberal (either Hillary! or Obamessiah). The GOP nominee will likely be to the left of a significant portion of his party (and I believe that, barring a significant series of mistakes or some bombshell "Giulianigate" story Giuliani will be the nominee).
So where's the problem? John McCain.
I think he is going to be the George Wallace of the 2008 election. And I think that, much like George Wallace did, he will siphon enough votes to either toss Red States to the Dems or to throw the election into the House of Representatives by winning a couple outright.
The stories of McCain's admiration for the 3rd Party candidacy of Teddy Roosevelt are legendary.
More troubling, though, are the rumors (and that's what they are, rumors) I'm hearing in the DC circles I run in that the McCain folks are already planning a third party "National Unity" run. Supposedly, they are following polls that show them steadily losing ground, and this contingency plan is being put into action.
Which isn't surprising to me in the least. I think McCain's ego is such that he would hand the election to the Democrats in a fit of pique, should Republican primary voters reject him.
It's a provocative idea on its own terms, of course, but the reader comments make it all the more fascinating. AoS doesn't get a lot of lefty commenters, because it's a righty site and Ace can be, um, discouraging to leftwing trolls, so the comments on Jack M's theory represent a broad range of conservative and Republican viewpoints. Some think Jack's right, some think McCain is too loyal to the party to torpedo its candidate, some think he's already out of the money race and couldn't run third party if he wanted to. The common thread seems to be that none of them really likes McCain, and many actually despise him.
They also seem disposed to consider a lot of alternative scenarios -- independent runs by Gingrich and/or Lieberman, Tancredo on an anti-immigration ticket, a paleoconservative isolationist, or a hard-core anti-war lefty -- and one even proposes the possibility that both parties could break apart into multiple factions, resulting in a parliamentary style free-for-all.
All of which suggests to me that they're bored and fed up, too. Think about it. We have almost two years to go before the election, and we're already getting daily coverage of intramural spats between Hillary and Obama about who has a better right to the mega-millions of Hollywood's jetsetting populists. On the other side, we have the incredibly dreary daily coverage of McCain, Giuliani, and Romney tripping over each other in their haste to pander to a conservative base that's been systematically betrayed by their party leadership for years.
Against this background, the third party possibilities are about the only hope for a campaign that doesn't plunge the entire nation into narcolepsy before it's through. The problem is, we'd have to wait till after the conventions, almost a year and a half from now, before we could expect to receive even that crumb. We'll all be in a coma by then if nothing's done.
So I'd like to suggest that one or several of the big blogs seek responses from both Republicans and Democrats to this poll.
[ ] I'm happy to have a presidential campaign that goes on like this for twenty-two (22!) more dreadful sickening months.
[ ] I want all the candidates to go home and wait by the phone in their living room until we call back in a year or eighteen months or so and say it's okay to hit the campaign trail again.
[ ] I want all new candidates. The new ones should include, at a minimum, 1) Republicans who actually believe in winning the Iraq War, fighting the War on Terror, preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or annihilating Israel, controlling U.S. borders, reducing both taxes and government spending, appointing reliably conservative judges, and preserving Second Amendment rights; 2) Democrats who actually have a plan for ending the Iraq War without further loss of American life in the short and long term, ensuring effective health care coverage for all Americans, including the 40 million presently uninsured, eliminating the budget deficit by raising taxes and reducing waste in government, solving the Global Warming crisis, significantly improving the safety of Americans from terrorist attacks within our borders, restoring respect for America around the world, and establishing a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
[ ] I want all new parties, and I don't care if the election looks like the mess you see in some South American backwater. I want a party that appeals to national security Republicans who don't give a rat's ass about abortion and gay marriages. I want a party that appeals to fundamentalist evangelicals who think the whole world is going to burn in hell tomorrow anyway, so let's forget about everything else and save some fetuses while we can. I want a party that doesn't care about anything at all except closing our borders and getting rid of all the damn foreigners who are already here sucking up tax money. I want a party that appeals to senile Republicans who still think the government has no business interfering in absolutely everything we do, except for the part about protecting the nation from foreign enemies. I want a party that hates America as much as Osama bin Laden, the Iranians, the Palestinians, and the French and Germans and Brits do. I want a party that doesn't care at all what happens in the rest of the world but is willing to spend every dime in the GDP on free health care and free everything else for all the people who aren't up to competing in an evil capitalist economy. I want a party that believes as much in national security as the Republicans but also all the free stuff we should all be getting from the government too. I want a party that cares about nothing but Global Warming and is willing to hurl us all back to the Stone Age to cool the world by a degree or two. I want a party that gives me everything I want and says the hell with everyone else.
[ ] I'm an utter fool. I just want everyone to calm down and talk about real issues, reasonably, like grownups, disagreeing where necessary in tones of basic human respect.
Well, maybe they could fiddle with the wording a little bit, but you get the idea. I mean, do any of you think you can tolerate the current garbage they're calling a campaign for twenty-two more months? I'd really like to know.