Thursday, February 07, 2008

Girding Their Loins

While dubbed the Prince of Darkness, Robert Novak is doing his best to put a smiley face on the dread most insider Republicans feel at the thought of John McCain as their party's nominee for President. He contrasts the reactions of two Mississippi Republican politicians - Gov. Haley Barbour (who was GOP chair at the height of Republican power), and Sen. Thad Cochrane - to the eventuality, and comes away . . . trying his best.
A lifelong professional politician and former Republican National Committee chairman, Barbour was following the GOP tradition of closing ranks once it becomes obvious who will be nominated.

I believe Novak put this up front so that readers would know this was his position. He doesn't like it. He thinks Republican voters handed the Democrats the White House (as opposed to a vigorous Fred Thompson or sane Rudy Giuliani candidacy?). He will soldier on, in the best Ronald-Reagan-Richard Nixon tradition. Not, however, without tossing out a slap at McCain.
. During 35 years in Congress, the soft-spoken, gentlemanly Cochran seldom has uttered a harsh word about anybody. So why did he tell the Boston Globe recently that "the thought of [McCain] being president sends a cold chill down my spine"? Because Cochran is the Senate's reigning king of pork, and McCain would be the most implacable foe of pork ever nominated for president.

Whoa. You mean Cochrane thinks McCain will peel away the largesse Mississippi receives from the feds? I thought Republicans didn't like government hand-outs to the undeserving.

And what was McCain's reaction to Cochrane's remarks?
But it's not easy for the tough old naval aviator to be nice to critics. On Super Tuesday, he was jovial on NBC's "Today" program until the interviewer mentioned Cochran's remarks. "A couple of those people that are criticizing me," said McCain, "are not the most respected members of the United States Senate, to be honest with you."

Ouch! I felt that one.

The prospect of McCain having to fight off this kind of thing for the next nine months is one thing. I don't think he deserves it. On the other hand, it certainly will be fun.

Virtual Tin Cup

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