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.

Why Does Business Love Santorum?

I have real trouble taking Santorum '08 seriously, but it's still something that some are still talking about. Abramoff co-conspirator and anti-government radical Grover Norquist is one of those people, though he does admit that losing re-election to his Senate seat could put a crimp in Santorum's White House hopes. Somewhat predictably, in this American Spectator article, Norquist posits that the only way Santorum could lose is if there's Democratic voter fraud in Philadelphia, which ignores the statewide polling that indicates widespread dissatisfaction with Santorum.

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum looks very good on paper - Catholic, Big State, GOP Senate leadership - if he can get past the very serious challenge of getting re-elected in 2006. Voter fraud in Philadelphia in November 2006 could cost Santorum a very real shot at the Republican nomination in 2008.

Ignore the blustering, stupid and easily debunked conspiracy theory about voter fraud. There is a lot of love for Santorum among grassroots rightists. Which is why I find it somewhat strange that Santorum would also find love among big business Republicans. Sure, Republicans in corporate America have always looked the other way as their handpicked candidates have pandered to the anti-science, anti-libertarian right. But Santorum is a creature of the religious right, not a corporate Republican who panders to them.

This is why I find the item in the latest issue of BusinessWeek (subscription only). In the piece, "Santorum: The New Favorite Of Business," writer Richard Dunham openly admits that Santorum isn't an obvious first choice for corporate Republicans. But it seems that their loyalty to the GOP knows no bounds of logic or reason. He points out that Santorum has "become the top recipient of campaign checks from the seven most generous economic sectors, including health-care companies, Wall Street, and commercial banks." He explains why.

Polls show Santorum trailing his 2006 Democratic challenger, Bob Casey, and he's calling in all his chits. Business clearly prefers a tax-cutting GOP populist to an old-school economic liberal. What's more, if the embattled incumbent survives Casey's challenge, business lobbyists know that Santorum could well run for President -- and nobody wants to get on his bad side by sitting out the Senate race.

This is somewhat worrisome to me as it indicates that the alliance between pro-business Republicans and radical social conservatives hasn't weakened as much as I had hoped it would. But in a way, this is actually good news for us. If the Republicans' corporate paymasters are willing to tie their hopes to the likes of Rick Santorum, their confidence in the GOP's bench for 2008 is pretty weak.

Want evidence liberals LOVE McCain?

From The Nation's John Nichols:

Here are this one columnist's picks for the Most Valuable Progressives of 2005:

* MVP -- U.S. Senate:

This is an easy category. While California Democrat Barbara Boxer deserves credit for refusing to go along with the certification of the dubious presidential election results from Ohio, and Arizona Republican John McCain merits praise for forcing the administration to back down from its pro-torture stance, there's no question that Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold was the essential senator of 2005. He was the first member of the chamber to call for a timetable to withdraw troops from Iraq -- a stance that initially was ridiculed but ultimately drew support from many of Feingold's fellow Democrats and even a few Republicans. And he ended the year by forging a bipartisan coalition that beat back the Bush administration's demand for the long-term extension of the Patriot Act, scoring one of the most significant wins for civil liberties that Congress has seen in years.

The anti-torture amendment is pure theater.  And McCain is not a progressive.

McCain is a Pandering Dork

I read this article in the Arizona Daily Star, and I literally thought it was a joke.

"Let the student decide." With those well-chosen words John McCain summed up his view on the teaching of "intelligent design" along with evolution in public schools.

Even -- or perhaps especially -- with controversial topics, Arizona's ubiquitous senior U.S. senator has an uncanny knack for saying things his audience wants to hear. In this case, Mr. Straight Talk was imparting words of wisdom in an interview with MTV News.

A lot of malleable, future voters watch MTV. It's where they get tidbits of the real world between episodes of "Cribs" and "Pimp My Ride." It's hard to imagine any of them disagreeing with the Man Who Would Be President.

McCain probably wouldn't champion the same letting-students-decide approach for, say, homework or blowing off algebra. No matter. He came across as an entirely reasonable and rational father figure on MTV.

"There's great uncertainty out there," said the senator who knows best. "We have to provide a lot more certainty for young Americans. That's my job."

In case you've forgotten, John McCain, who backs spying on Americans without a court order, also backs the teaching of creationism in schools.

And they say it's libruls that lets them kids run amock, teaching 'em the stupid version of history in which we lost some warz and always getting kids to talk about their feelings 'n self-esteem 'n stuff.  I guess not.  So next time some mean ole' conservative sez that kidz needs discipline, you can fire back at 'em 'i dunno about that i say like john mccain that we gotta let the kids decide.'

UPDATE: Roy Temple has more.

Two-Faced McCain and Spying on Americans

Guess who's defending the President's right to spy on Americans without a court warrant?

John McCain.

Sen. John McCain disappointed Democrats on Capitol Hill on Sunday by defending the Bush administration's decision to use the National Security Agency to monitor a limited number of domestic phone calls in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Saying that Sept. 11 "changed everything," McCain told ABC's "This Week": "The president, I think, has the right to do this."

"We all know that since Sept. 11 we have new challenges with enemies that exist within the United States of America - so the equation has changed."

McCain said that while the administration needs to explain why it didn't first seek approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, he suggested that the Patriot Act might have superseded the 1978 FISA Act, allowing "additional powers for the president."

 McCain said the fact that congressional leaders - including top Democrats - were consulted on the NSA authorization "is a very important part of this equation." He suggested that any congressional hearings into the Bush decision focus on that aspect.

"I'd like to hear from the leaders of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, who, according to reports, we're briefed on this and agreed to it," he told "This Week.""They didn't raise any objection, apparently, to [whether] there was a, quote, violation of law."

Asked about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's claim that she "raised concerns" about granting the NSA new powers during one meeting with White House officials, McCain said: "I don't know about any meetings, but I certainly never heard complaints from anyone on either side of the aisle.

"When this process was being carried out I would imagine that the leaders of Congress would be very concerned about any violation of law as well," he said. "Apparently [those concerns have] not been raised until it was published in the New York Times."

McCain also warned that any congressional investigation should take care not to force additional disclosures from the White House that could help the enemy, saying: "I don't see anything wrong with congressional hearings but what kind of information are you going to put into the public arena that might help the al Qaida people in going undetected."

Aside from the fact that he's a scumbag, at least he's on the record.  Wouldn't it be nice if we knew where everyone in Congress stood...  Stay tuned...

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