Thursday, January 18, 2007

McCain Losing Support Among Independents

The illusion that John McCain is still an independent maverick is evaporating as he continues to court the far right. The 2008 election is more than 21 months away and much can change in that period. But America's biggest problems are not going away and there's no sign that John McCain or more than a handful of other Republican politicians truly understand what's going on. In fact, since John McCain is calling for more troops in Iraq than Bush, there's a growing sense that he's taking a cynical position since no such troops exist for Iraq and about the only way he can get them is to call for a draft, something McCain is highly unlikely to do.

Here's a story from Brett Arends of the Boston Herald about McCain's falling numbers (via The Huffington Post):
As Mitt, Hillary, Barack and a dozen others jump into the presidential stampede, something interesting is happening in New Hampshire.
For seven years, conventional wisdom has said that the state’s pivotal independent voters would line up behind maverick Sen. John McCain, as they did so famously in the 2000 GOP primary. But new polling data, to be released later this week, will suggest that might no longer be the case.
Manchester, N.H.-based American Research Group finds that McCain’s popularity among New Hampshire’s independent voters has collapsed.

“John McCain is tanking,” says ARG president Dick Bennett. “That’s the big thing [we’re finding]. In New Hampshire a year ago he got 49 percent among independent voters. That number’s way down, to 29 percent now.”


Bennett says ARG is finding a similar trend in other states polled, including early primary battlegrounds like Iowa and Nevada. ...

I wonder how long it will take the mainstream media to notice that John McCain isn't the maverick that we once thought he was and that a growing number of Americans have become disillusioned with him.

Most Americans still consider bipartisanship to be an important goal to have in Washington but bipartisanship requires that there be two parties that care about the American people. The Republican Party has so radicalized itself that it has no interest in working with other Americans. It was perhaps thought at one time that John McCain could be the one who could restore balance to the Republican Party and lead the way to a more bipartisan atmosphere in American politics. But those days are gone. If there's to be a new Republican Party, it's people like Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe who may provide the beginnings of reform.

Think Progress offers another example of McCain's fall from grace as he pursues his presidential ambitions and backs away from lobbying reform:
In Dec. 2005, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) announced that he was introducing The Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act of 2005. ...


McCain has engaged in a pattern of flip-flopping on lobbying reform. Prior to his most recent reversal, ThinkProgress reported McCain has been soliciting contributions from K Street lobbying firms while talking tough against lobbyists, and he has been trying to scuttle the lobbying reform effort by adding a “poison pill” to the bill.

John McCain was for good government before he was against good government. I strongly suspect that McCain, if he continues on his present course, will not be the nominee in 2008 for the Republicans.

The real question for the Republican Party is whether it can reform itself in time for 2008 or whether its eventual rebuilding will start in elections after that. A big problem for Republicans is that they are still dominated by members on the far right in safe districts who are still relatively young and have no intention of leaving politics any time soon. In the end, it's the American people who will have to reform the Republicans. But it may take time.

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