McCain Tries to Sell Out the Republican Party

On Thursday the folks at First Read asked who would sell out whom first, John McCain or the Republican leadership.

*** Checks and balances: Considering the state of the Republican ticket right now (not just McCain, but congressional Republicans too), which will come first: McCain beginning to campaign as the Republican check on Nancy Pelosi's power or congressional Republicans beginning to campaign as the Republican check on Barack Obama?

According to Politico's Jonathan Martin, we now have an answer to this questio:

Implying that the GOP won't win back either the House or Senate, two McCain backers this morning sounded out a new talking point by raising the specter of Democrats in control of both the Congress and White House.


The comments, almost certainly coordinated, would seem to signal a new phase of the campaign.

Few believe the GOP has any chance to reclaim either chamber of Congress. But many in the party have sought to keep a brave public face on their prospects. Now, with under a month until Election Day, McCain's campaign has apparently decided that there is more political benefit in pressing the importance of divided government than pretending the GOP can reclaim the House or Senate.

We'll have to wait and see how well this reasoning works on voters. Certainly, it has the potential to drive a wedge within the Republican Party -- both within the elites and among the base -- as the party sees its presidential nominee selling out the party's congressional leadership (we all remember how well it worked for the GOP in the 1948 election when the selling out went in the other direction). Possibly it could sway some independent voters wary of too centralized of power (though whether this argument is actually persuasive is not at all apparent to me; just because voters often elect a divided government doesn't mean they do so intentionally). Almost undoubtedly it will not be enough to fundamentally change the direction of the election.

Tags: John McCain, Republican Party, White House 2008 (all tags)



I predicted this last week

I was speaking to some members of the College Republicans here in TN and suggested that this would be McCain's best argument. They agreed, in theory, that it was. But they worried it would sell Congress out.

McCain is well-suited to make this case given his "maverick" brand. But it might be too late. He now just looks erratic. And when he starts to sell Congress out for the GOP, he loses surrogates. It's very hard to maintain any coherent message when Congressional surrogates are gone.

by elrod 2008-10-12 02:58PM | 0 recs
The rats are eating each other

McCain now hates Palin's guts and tossed Congressional Republicans under the bus. A Republican in NEBRASKA is tying himself to Obama and Norm Coleman refused to appear with McCain Firday.

by RandyMI 2008-10-12 03:04PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Tries to Sell Out the Republican Party

Ah, yes, more obscure reasons to elect McCain.  Because, hey, in an economic crisis rivaling the Great Depression, we want a divided government that doesn't operate efficiently.

Next, maybe he'll announce a program of giving free beer to people who visit the White House on Fridays.

by rfahey22 2008-10-12 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Tries to Sell Out the Republican Party

Damn! I have to work Fridays!

by antiHyde 2008-10-12 03:50PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Tries to Sell Out the Republican Party

It's a little late for republicans to be worried about this.  All the years they stuck with Bush and they voted with him, his lies, and the repug ideology way of thinking, paved the way for their demise, now.  The religious wacko, fundamentalist part of the party was digging their graves long ago.  I think Bush owes them all big time for their loyalty to him, and the only way he can repay them is to spend the next 3 weeks appearing with them all at campaign rallies, and political appearances and at least do SOMETHING to help them out in their moment of need.

by Scotch 2008-10-12 03:36PM | 0 recs
If I were a Republican

I would ask Bush to campaign with my opponent.  

The best thing Bush can do for McCain is to praise Obama effusively.

by ClintoniteNoLonger4McCain 2008-10-12 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Tries to Sell Out the Republican Party

That is excellent concern trolling for the McCain campaign!!  I hope they take your advice to heart! :-)

by LordMike 2008-10-12 08:51PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Tries to Sell Out the Republican Party

I do think that folks used to consider the pros/cons of divided government in the past.  I know I did.  But then again, while I voted for Clinton and Gore, I didn't register as a Democrat until Bush helped drive the alternative off a cliff.

In this election year I think it is different.  People want a government that works.  Even the more conservative folks I've talked to recently acknowledge how broken things are, and that at least we should have people running our government who believe it can help.

About the only convincing argument that I think is out there is one that the Republicans won't make because it is admitting too much political defeat.  I think they could argue in a few key races that it isn't a good thing to give the Democrats a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.  Personally that is what I'd like to see, but I could see many agreeing that is too much power in one party's hands.

by PghArch 2008-10-12 07:40PM | 0 recs


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