For some -- particularly the political independents who launched him into the political firmament back in 2000 -- McCain might now seem scary. In the 2000 New Hampshire primary, he ran better among independents than he did with Republicans -- and even got some Democratic votes. That will not happen again.
Anyone who knows McCain appreciates that his call for more troops in Iraq is not, at bottom, part of any political strategy. McCain is. . .fundamentally honest, with sound political values. For a long time those values -- a belief in public service, a visceral hostility to the ways of Washington's K Street lobbying crowd and a sense of honor his Vietnamese captors came to appreciate -- obscured the always present but muffled, sound of drums and bugles.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Losing the Chattering Classes
Richard Cohen, over at the Washington Post is not happy with John McCain, who has grown, Mr. Cohen thinks, too bellicose, too conservative:
Mr. Cohen speaks well of the Senator, and clearly likes him, but politically, they have come to a parting of the ways. McCain, Mr. Cohen concludes, risks "losing Washington forever. "
No doubt Mr. Cohen means the White House, but Mr. Cohen shows that the Washington that he's risking losing at the moment is the Washington of media personalities and chattering class figures. You know who I mean, the Georgetown and New York party crowd who thought Senator McCain was the cat's meow as long as the Senator was in there kicking at Bush and the Republicans.
As long as McCain sat in the Senate and played maverick, he was positively adored by the media elites: sort of a house-broken conservative, and a totem of chattering class "tolerance" for other points of view. Useful for bashing the Bushies, and safe, because they thought they were using him -- he surely had no future with this crowd beyond use as a bashing instrument.
Now, since McCain is rejecting the cut-and-run-kiss-up-to-the-Euros-and-UN crowd, and the old McCain who engages in "incessant sword-rattling" is back, the Senator's usefulness to the media lefties is over, thank you very much.
Mr. Cohen's reading-out is a positive endorsement as far as I'm concerned. Clearly, Senator McCain is acquiring the right political enemies.