A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors


McCain, the almost-Democrat.

Finally, a piece about John McCain's flirtations with the Democratic Party. This will be a serious problem for McCain once the Dems have their nominee.

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



Commenting Guidelines

  • All

Why? This would certainly hurt Senator McCain if the 2008 election shaped up as a base vs. base election such as 2004, in which each campaign needed to turn out the party's core constituencies to make up for a decline in ticket splitting or independent voters. (President Bush won 93% of self-identified Republicans in 2004 and Senator Kerry won 89% of self-identified Democrats in an election that, as Michael Barone pointed out in his introduction to the 2006 Almanac of American Politics, was the first in which Republicans had party ID parity since the New Deal--and still the President was re-elected by the narrowest margin of any incumbent since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.) But as the always insightful and pseudonymous "Richelieu" points out at the Weekly Standard's blog (, the Republican nominee this year will win only by attracting moderate Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, who may become less inclined to favor Senator Obama over the next few months. In an election with (much) lower Republican ID and a more dispirited base than the President had in his favor in 2004, I should think the NY Times story, Senator Lieberman's endorsement, and the like help Senator McCain as much or more than they hurt him.

McCain's courting of the Bush-GOP base says quite a bit about what he thinks he needs to win. In this political climate, the GOP nominee is going to need all the help he can get. The Bush-GOP base will not take kindly to the fact that their nominee not once but twice apparently considered changing parties, and for a few years voted with the Democrats on several key issues. I have no idea what Lieberman's endorsement means for independents. I doubt it will have much effect.

Let's see ... the Democrats are tearing themselves apart with a gender vs race civil war while Republicans are lining up behind John McCain ... so, the NY Times (that bastion of credible, unbiased reporting, as far as conservatives are concerned) tries to take some of the editorial heat off the Hillary-Obama fiasco by suggesting that McCain flirted with becoming a Democrat not once but twice! ... and conservatives are supposed to fall for this and turn against McCain? The Times has probably erred as badly with this non-story as with its pseudo-sex-scandal-lobbyist-whatever story and helped solidify McCain's GOP support (while also helping reinfroce his maverick image for indepdendents and independent-thinking Democrats) ... ahh, it's a good Monday (as nearly every recent national or state-by-state poll indicates)!

LIke Mr. Moreland, I read this exactly opposite. The Republican base will go for McCain, faute de mieux. Only the politicos and radio gasbags feel any personal animus aginst McCain; for everyone else, it's horse-trading. On the other hand, if the Dems nominate Hilary, it will not be politics but betrayal, and they won't be able to rely on the African-American vote or the youth vote. Hilary has other oppsition in and around the Democratic party, as does the new merely-human Obama. The more "moderate" McCain appears the more likely he will be to shear off the sizeable segment of likely Democratic voters who hesitate at either.

See this link about prominent Republican Catholic contitututional lawyer endorsing Obama.I think McCain will have a lonely campaign.

Wow. it's getting lonelier by the minute for McCain.Catholic Senator Chuck Hagel says it will be hard for him to support McCain.;_ylt... the right-wing fundermentalists are more baggage and more problems then inner-city African American rhetoric benders!

This seems like wishful thinking on the part of the NY Times. This is their second anti-McCain article that seems to have very little meat on the bone.

Robert Reid:You referred to the (as you put it) N.Y. Times pseudo-sex-scandal-lobbyist-whatever story about McCain. Just to clarify: as for the part of the story that had to do with lobbying, are you saying you found it unconvincing and/or unimportant?

I see the Democratic party as having much bigger problems than the Republicans. First, the Reverend Wright fiasco is scaring off some of the white males who initially supported him. Throwing his grandmother under the bus for saying the same thing as Jesse Jackson was a little much for the squeamish. Second, the Democrat party, which claims to be (under Obama) the party to unify America, can't even unify itself. It is in fact in the process of kneecapping itself. Whether it can heal itself sufficiently to run a successful campaign is problematical.A final word about Reverend Wright: Concentrating on his remarks being "controversial" or "racist" is to miss the main point: His stated beliefs that the American government invented and propagated AIDS as a means of genocide and that that same government smuggles hard drugs into the ghetto in order to facilitate the arrest and imprisonment of African -Americans is not true and the evidence of derangement.You can be sure it will be used in the Fall.

If we're going to kep this up through the election, I'm alreadt weary of the usual suspects ling up with the usual spin for their usual posture.AS they say, pul=eeze.It's like listening to " the best political team" 9sic) on CNN, screeds for the most par texcept Gergen and Taub.Vlearly, where one comes down is where there treasure is...mine is the reuniting of the American republic.

"Vlearly, where one comes down is where there treasur is..."?Slow down, Bob. Your fingers are missing the keys or hitting the wrong ones. And how do you define reuniting the American republic? The devil exists in the definition of that phrase, is it not true?

Gene,Unconvincing and unimportant but not at all unexpected from a NY Times that is sinking faster than Dan Rather's 60 Minutes did in credibility (and the story certainly has not produced any major follow0ups by other papers, media, or congressional ivnestigations--despite Democratic control of Congress ... because it never was a story with any legitim=acy).It is the final triumph of George W Bush--he drove the major media so insane with hatred that they are all dropping their standards to become little more than partisan hacks.

What's unconvincing is the comparison of this rather modest article with the Dan Rather incident. '60 Minutes' got taken by a forgery. (Why Congress would get involved is beyond me--what was that about small government?) The Times has the people involved in the talks, which McCain has admitted, going on the record with their story.

But Grant, the entire "story" was nothing more than a possible appearance of possibly improper behavior--not exactly a smoking gun ... more of pop gun that had prematurely popped

"I see the Democratic party as having much bigger problems than the Republicans."This might be true except that the Republicans have to deal with the weight of seven years of disastrous Republican rule. And McCain seems hell bent to keep to the same policies. (And I mean it literally.)

Unagidon:The problem for the Democrats is that very, very few voters will punish John McCain for what they don't like about Bush ... indeed, poll after poll currently shows that rather large numbers of Democrats (up to 28 percent of Hillary's supporters and nearly 20 percent of Obama's) say they will consider voting for McCain if their candidate does not win the nomination. I believe that when it comes to the president, Americans do not vote based on issues (at least, issues are not the most important thing, otherwise the Democrats would have won the White House in all recent elections). Instead, people look at the candidates and decide which one they think will make a better overall leader--thus, even people who oppose the Iraq war will consider voting for McCain because of his great experience in government and war and thus the assumption that he will make the better decisions (even if those decisions extend the war)

Add new comment

You may login with your assigned e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Or log in with...

Add new comment