A Third Party Run by McCain?

Steve Clemons ponders an interesting set of circumstances in which John McCain would run as a third party candidate.

John McCain feels that it was not the "religious right" who beat him last time. He believes that the "Republican establishment" had already pre-committed to Bush and there was not enough space for him. One of the reasons why he has been picking his battles -- like the anti-torture stand he took -- and otherwise playing way, way nice with the Bush White House is to win over that establishment that is not yet precommitted to another candidate.

If McCain did lose to George Allen in the Republican primary, he might just pull an Independent run -- and I don't think it would be bad for the country.

The interesting reality is that if McCain was nominated by the Republican Party, I think that Hillary Clinton has a very, very tough challenge -- as she is far more polarizing than he is. If George Allen and John McCain were both in the race vs. Hillary, her chances dramatically increase -- unless McCain is able to draw off support from both of them in relatively equal amounts.

These are all hypotheticals that I find interesting to ponder. Some will argue that pondering this sort of line up is advocating it. It's not, so settle down.

Fascinating stuff.  Interesting how tactically McCain is acting for someone who is apparently so principled.

Tags: General 2008 (all tags)



Howard Fineman agrees
His new article kind of repeats something he worte a while back, about REPUBLICAN McCain's only real chance is to run 3rd party, cause he might not win the primaries.  Fineman also said the only way Hillary will win the election is if he goes 3rd party, though lost of liberals think he's just swell and would flip over backwards to vote for him.

I'd prefer he run as a wingnut and get shot down and go back to the senate, defeated again.

Interesting, but I can imagine the reasons he won't win the nomination are the same for Hillary not wining the general election.  I think that, just or unjust, when voters walk into that quiet, reflective place called the voting booth, depite their vocal support for Hillary, I think they'd chicken out at the end.
I can definitely see that.

Likewise, I think that Allen and others will work real hard to sow doubt into the republicans who might be looking at McCain.  Enough that when they get to those Iowa caucuses, he'd lose.
And then there's the south problem, no matter how hard he tries to court it.

by Sam Loomis 2006-01-04 03:47PM | 0 recs
Ditto (if I can be permitted to use that phrase)
I'd prefer he run as a wingnut and get shot down and go back to the senate, defeated again.
by molly bloom 2006-01-04 04:23PM | 0 recs
i am no expert
But the idea of John McCain putting Russ Feingold in as head of the Justice Department is sort of up there with the discussions of who would head HUD under the Dean administration.

Who is this Howard Fineman guy making these predictions?

My feeling is -- OK, you can exempt your favourite candidate from the following -- that politicans with reputations for "independent streaks" have less a coherent alternative political philosophy, and more a few personality quirks where they enjoy pissing off colleagues.

I mean, look -- the Democrats at this point are a big tent. If McCain really wanted to take on corruption and do clean up, there are plenty of Democrats he could be ally himself with. The culture of corruption is being run by the GOP. Seeing it as bipartisan at this juncture is -- IMO -- a joke.

Where was John McCain when Michael Brown was runing FEMA? (e.g.) Not doing much of anything.

My guess is that John McCain without the GOP machine would be a lost duckling. It's not that hard to identify fraud or waste on a case by case basis, and wave it in your boss's face. But that's a far step from starting -- or even wanting to start -- your own company.

by sdedeo 2006-01-04 03:51PM | 0 recs
"Where was John McCain when....FEMA?"
Eating Cake with George.
by Sam Loomis 2006-01-04 04:07PM | 0 recs
His Marie Antoinette Moment!
by Paul Rosenberg 2006-01-04 04:10PM | 0 recs
Feingold vs McCain
I think it's far more fascinating to think about a Feingold vs. McCain race than some permutation of Clinton/McCain/X.
by Paul Rosenberg 2006-01-04 04:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold vs McCain
Feingold v. McCain would be the best race for trying to defeat McCain. One of McCain's biggest advantages is his appeal of being "honest and integral", however in comparison to Feingold he's a dwarf to him. McCain's claim of being a Maverick will also be cancelled out by Feingold's own status. McCain's reputation as not being a huge SoCon (even though he is) will probably depress the vote for people who are populist in nature and will decide to vote for pocketbook rather than non-existent SoCon options. In addition to that, while McCain would have a better chance of holding the west from the dems (especially Arizona, though this state is the least likely of the 4 takeable west states), the Election will probably come down to the Midwest and "friendly Dem Southern States", Where I believe Feingold will run the strongest (as a midwesterner himself). Feingold's best option for VP, IMO, is Clark, in which case he would solidify the current Dem Midwest, retake Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, and have a helluva good chance of taking Florida(he is jewish, afterall!), Virginia, and West Virginia.
by KainIIIC 2006-01-04 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold vs McCain
This race would be like Tiger Woods (Feingold) playing Ernie Els (McCain) in match play on a course where tiger can't use his irons as accurately as he should (ie, grassroots don't mean the dlc) and els will have to match accuracy with his distance (ie, growing the rough around the fairways, with the wingnuts moving the garden of the hole in tight).

And both of them would play from the back Tees. Els would be in form, also. Please, also, don't think PGA Tour event here. Think U S Open, with Els having the form he had when he won and Woods swinging way too hard, like he did in 97.

This would be great. Who should you pick. The correct answer is: Both of them.

If McCain wins, as an independent, and then recruits feingold as VP and loads up with strong Americans in his cabinet that would be my best
possible outcome. Think of what American would be
like with McCain/ Feingold at the helm.

Instant runoff voting.
Anti Torture Amendments.
Pinning back Archangel Lucifer Patriot Acts Wings
Interoperability between Govt. Systems!
Embrace Tech
Embrace Grassroots
Green as the Day is long
Fiscally Disciplined

What would the dream cabinet be, if you could
pick and choose from either party..

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-01-04 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold vs McCain
Other things to look forward to under a McCain administration:
Creationism taught in all public schools
Gay rights set back about another 10 years
Continuing the mess in Vietraq without a real plan
A return to Reagan economics: the rich get richer, everyone else gets the shaft
by bluenc 2006-01-04 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold vs McCain
I prefer to think of it as Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tanya Harding.
by Paul Rosenberg 2006-01-04 10:04PM | 0 recs
I think Feingold can win no matter who the Rep is
Can you imagine a situation where Feingold gets less than the Kerry states plus Florida?  I can't-and that's a win, ladies and gentlemen.
by Geotpf 2006-01-05 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: I think Feingold can win no matter who...
If McCain's the nominee, a number of states come into play, especially if Feingold is the Democrat...Pennsylvania, for example, could swing to McCain, as could New Hampshire....And I'm not certain Feingold definitely wins FL....i don't see why McCain couldn't win there, if Bush did...
by bluenc 2006-01-05 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold vs McCain
As a cheesehead who voted for Feingold, I am at a complete loss to understand why anyone thinks of him as a legit POTUS candidate.  He's kind of an interesting guy, bright and all that, and "untarnished", and I don't know what to make of his twice-divorced now-single status, but let's not assume that's a knockout blow, and let's not assume his Jewishness is either --- because we don't KNOW either would be, and of course they should not be.

But, doesn't it matter that he has just been a private practice lawyer for a few years, then a state legislator and then a US Senator?  What kind of compelling profile is THAT in terms of taking the reins of the biggest and most complex "executive" role on planet Earth?   I mean, don't we have to be a little sensitive to our being able to answer the question, from those not "automatic" Democrats:  "I know what he says in terms of policy and principles, but what has he ever DONE?"  

by Terry Ott 2006-01-04 08:35PM | 0 recs
Besides That...
Michael Moore wears a hat!
by Paul Rosenberg 2006-01-04 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold vs McCain
Russ has and excellent record, great speaking and message delivery.

As for "What kind of compelling profile is THAT in terms of taking the reins of the biggest and most complex "executive" role on planet Earth?"  you need to take into consideration where all presidents came from.

All presidents since the 60's were governors of a state. Maybe a rep or a state senator before that. Senators have much more knowledge on forien policy and the working on the fedral government then a govner would.


by Demrock6 2006-01-05 04:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold vs McCain
Who else is there?

I know that's not a very compelling argument.  IT's not even an argument.  It's a question.  

Who else is there besides Feingold?  Who else is there to denounce this war in a credible manner without all the DLC hedging?  

I would prefer Clark, but it seems that his chances of running are becoming more remote by the day.

I ran an informal poll over on Maryscott's MyLeftWing, the other day, about who we would want for the Dem 2008 nominee.  [b]Robert Novak beat Hillary Clinton.[/b]  Go vote:


by Dumbo 2006-01-05 05:31AM | 0 recs
The trouble with McCain is he's a major sleazeball.  Every so often he comes out with something good, like campaign finance, but he's so untrustworthy in general that I keep looking for the bugs in his campaign finance reform effort.  

What is it?  The thick white hair?  White face?  Sweet-looking eyes?  The Navy thing? The notion of his running as an independent came up in a couple of NPR programs and discussions this afternoon.  I didn't detect any enthusiasm -- perhaps a judiciously polite response here and there.  Even if he weren't a sleazeball, he'd still seem like the wax paper from yesterday's sandwich.

by Bean 2006-01-04 04:49PM | 0 recs
Has no shot even if the GOP dug up Nixon.  If our party can't see this, there really is no hope.  McCain is a giant phony but he wins in a walk against anyone we put up.  Imagine the media ass-kiss ... and to this electorate, the guy walks on water.  If he has to win, I'd rather see him do it as a third-party candidate; at least it would embarrass the GOP.
by tuffie 2006-01-04 05:15PM | 0 recs
about McCain winning against anyone we put up.  As of right now, there are polls that suggest that he only beats Hillary by a few points, and I'm not certain she even gets the nomination.

Mark Warner would absolutely give McCain a run for his money, let alone Hillary.  It would be the forward thinking young and vibrant candidate with new ideas versus the old nice guy.  I really like Warner's chances in that race.

Besides, Allen is going to give McCain a real run.  I still think Allen may pull out the nomination.  

by Eric11 2006-01-04 09:00PM | 0 recs
Hillary is so polarizing
That the Republicans can't find a viable candidate to run against her.

I wouldn't vote for Hillary because of her Iraqi war views. But to suggest she is toxic to anyone outside the rapid right wingnuts is to ignore electoral reality. Conventional wisdom would have the Right mounting an all out coordinated assault on Clinton because of her inherent vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities that are only visible to people who got tunnel vision on Hillary somewhere about 1995.

by Bruce Webb 2006-01-05 02:43AM | 0 recs
I'll add this ...
We'd better hope the CW is right on McCain not getting nominated, but he is assiduously courting the GOP regulars and they are listening hard and opening their wallets, from what I read around the blogosphere.  Also, a sincere question: does nayone think McCain (despite his conservatism) actually does have some integrity, and is doing what he needs to do with the Bush-hugging and all the rest?  Would he be an honest President, with some measure of independence?  
by tuffie 2006-01-04 05:20PM | 0 recs
Re: I'll add this ...
I can't speak to his personal integrity, as I don't know the man, but I can't imagine he would be very independent. He would essentially owe his election to the Christian Right if he wins as a Republican (the only way he can win). If you think GWB is beholden to Dobson and the rest, McCain would be ten times worse.
by bluenc 2006-01-04 08:22PM | 0 recs
Third Party Runs/Reality Bites
It's fun to speculate on third party runs, just like "brokered conventions."  But established politicians just don't do it.  I wish somebody like McCain would upset the established order but is time to do that was 2000, it came and went.  He had his chance.  Instead of going the difficult 3rd party route McCain worked hard at building a base in the GOP (he campaigned HARD for Bush in 2004).  Breaking up is hard to do.  The last guy to be elected with a new party was named Lincoln, and he only broke with his party after the Whigs collapsed.  The last established politician to make a third party run was John Anderson in 1980, and he has barely been heard from since.  Something wierd and unpredictable will happen.  A McCain third party run could transform American politics, its a great thought which is one reason why it almost certainly won't happen.  I think it's more likely that Rove will run McCain's campaign.
by howardpark 2006-01-04 06:15PM | 0 recs
McCain is bad, non-hero, anti-people, corporate f.
Stop your bullshit about McCain! He is totally
unaccepatble corporate fashist, he is enemy of
american people, so just go away back to your
criminal GOP hole.
by WeNeed3rdParty 2006-01-04 06:15PM | 0 recs
McCain is the BEST
I surely like McCain.  Most rational of any candidate.  Best for the country.  He's got his act together after suffering more adversity in life than most of us as a prisoner-of-war.  How many of us could go through that? And come out in the intellectual and physical shape he's in?
  He reminds me of Harry Truman. Totally from the people and for them.  has no baggage, either!
   3 cheers.  Hope he makes it !
by howardb 2006-01-04 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain is the BEST
I will tolerate comments that are:

  1. Annoying
  2. Pointless
  3. Inaccurate

But all three?  
by Matt Stoller 2006-01-04 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain is the BEST
First of all, was that post written by Harriet Miers? Secondly, if Truman were alive today, he would be joining most Dems in calling McCain out for his bullshit. Truman was deeply suspicious of big business, and would have been very critical of McCain's political posturing. There's nothing remotely populist about McCain: his elitist economic philosophy is the same as Reagan's, which nearly destroyed our economy. Finally, what's rational about supporting creationism, voting to impeach Clinton, and stumping for Santorum? Sounds like a guy who sticks his finger in the wind before he votes.
by bluenc 2006-01-04 08:27PM | 0 recs
Hilly Rice scenario
Matt, I agree that Hillary would have a tough battle against McCain, however I think she'd have it even tougher against Condy, which is the scenario I see developing if it looks like Hillary will get the nomination.  Hillary is very popular with women, and I believe she'd  split the Rep party were she to run against a weak candidate similiar to the moron the Rep's sent the last 2 elections. If the Republicans countered Hilly with Rice they'd take "the great female hope" of the equation, plus Condy splits the black vote.  4 years of Rice would be like 4 more years of Bush if he weren't so stupid.  Before trashing McCain one has to stop and think about how much better off this country would be if he were president instead of the brainless embarassment that we now have.    If it were between Condy and McCain I'd take McCain hands down any day.  (and I'd feel even stronger about that if only he hadn't been ass kissing the Rep's for the past 2 years starting when he supported the idiot now in office.)  
by Slapmaxwell 2006-01-05 04:31AM | 0 recs
McCain: George in War Hero Clothing
I don't understand this fascination with McCain by self-described moderates and liberals.  As far as I can determine, McCain is just a slicker, smarter version of Bush.
    - does not support the full reproduction rights of women
    - supports intelligent design
    - wants to send more troops to Iraq because he thinks that the mess can be solved militarily
    - still thinks that invading Iraq was the right thing to do
    - was against torture but for the Graham amendment which supports the suspension of habeas corpus
    - supports unfettered free trade which continues to produce a deepening trade imbalance and the mass exportation of U.S. jobs
    - supports "private accounts" for Social Security, thereby insuring its demise
    - has alway voted for  Republican budgets cuts that continue to eat away at our federal government (EPA included, although McCain likes to position himself as an environmentalist) and social safety nets (although he occasionally emotes about how he really doesn't like the cuts contained in the budgets)

McCain's voting record indicates that he is exactly the type of politician that moderates and liberals profess to abhor.  Personally, I think that he has used his war hero status to snow everyone and that his act is getting old.

For more on McCain's "courageous" stand against torture, there is this piece in the Village Voice:


and this link to bopnews.com:


by alta 2006-01-05 08:13AM | 0 recs
Generic McCain thread comment
I must post these in every McCain thread, for the false myth that McCain is a moderate is extremely strong, even amoungst Democrats.


In the 108th Congress, McCain was the fourth most conservative senator overall.


So far in the 109th Congress, McCain has moved up to the third most conservative senator overall.

by Geotpf 2006-01-05 10:12AM | 0 recs
Bring him on
I welcome a strong 3rd party run even if it is by someone I won't vote for.  It would be good for the country (and probably Democrats) for a strong 3rd party candidate to enter the race.  Him or Newt would be welcomed if they will suck away enough GOP voters to give our person the Landslide victory.  
by yitbos96bb 2006-01-05 06:22PM | 0 recs
The debate stems over HRC
...and I don't expect her to win the nomination. I think that Mark Warner is going to surprise everyone and be the run-away candidate. He may choose HRC as his running mate (a far smarter move), and I think a popular southern governor with charisma and knowledge will overwhelm the 'old schoolers.' I'm not that worried about McCain in that scenario.
by moonbird 2006-01-06 05:52AM | 0 recs


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