February 1, 2008

Did John McCain consider leaving the Republican Party in 2001?

That's the rumor, and the McCain campaign is eager to squelch it. They sent me email linking to various blogs that debunk the rumor, e.g. Power Line:
My guess is that after the 2000 election, McCain was understandably at odds with President Bush; like most Senators, he has friends on the other side of the aisle and probably did grumble to them about the Bush administration. In early 2001, the Democrats were desperate to convince a Republican to change parties, and McCain, as the loser to Bush in the 2000 primaries, was a natural choice.

With hindsight, the thought of McCain in the Democratic Party is ludicrous. Imagine a pro-life Joe Lieberman, and you're still only part way there. Given the way the Democrats have abandoned the war effort both in Iraq and globally, whatever grievances McCain has had against the Bush administration over the years are relatiely insignificant.
I really don't care if he considered changing parties or not. I like the people in the middle, like Joe Lieberman, who could fit — but only uncomfortably — into either party. I'm that way myself.

Am I the only one who can realistically picture myself voting for Clinton, Obama, Romney, or McCain?

47 comments:

Rich B said...

Yes.

ZPS said...

Have fun playing around while you can, Ann. Pretty soon you're gonna have to pony up and tell us who you're voting for.

Who will it be on Tuesday?

Middle Class Guy said...

I could vote for the others, but never for Hillary Clinton. Aside from everything else, the last thing we need now is another legacy presidency. I also feel she is totally unqualified compared to Pelosi, Feinstein, or Boxer. If history is to be made these experienced and qualified women should have run. I would hold my nose with McCain.

I would prefer Obama or Romney to all the others. I think we need a real change in people, outlook, and perspective in DC.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm sure there are a lot of people who are not very discriminating in who they vote for. After all, just look at the choices we have now.

michael farris said...

Of the four front runners, I'd rank them:

1. Clinton - has her faults, but I can't imagine her doing a worse job than any of the rest. When the campaigning gets nasty, she has the X-files advantage, people that get too negative toward her tend to sound like unhinged conspiracy theorists.

2. Obama - there's a lot to like but we don't know how he'll be able to stand up to the inevitable dirty campaigning from the repubs. The last thing I want is a democratic candidate who falls apart at the seams at unfair advertising or media coverage (like Dean and Kerry). His reaction to the (very mild) escalation by the Clintons doesn't make me optimistic on that count.

3. Romney - on the up side he's a proven effective competent manager and state governor. On the downside he's kind of a political whore. On the upside his 'conversion' to social conservative positions is probably not the result of sincere convictions. On the downside I don't think he has any sincere convictions.

4. McCain - Sort of the worst of both worlds. As Mr. Horse on Ren & Stimpy would say: No sir, I don't like it.

MadisonMan said...

No. I don't know about Romney though. He leaves me decidedly unenthused, but if it were a choice between him and, oh, I don't know, Senator Byrd, well yes.

Ann Althouse said...

"Who will it be on Tuesday?"

Sorry, you'll have to wait until the 19th. I'm a Wisconsin voter.

But the vote is secret unless I want to tell.

I've already said I think blogger endorsements are generally bad.

paul a'barge said...

Am I the only one who can realistically picture myself voting for Clinton, Obama, Romney, or McCain

Oops. You left off Hillary :lol

Now, you're not the only one with a list that on the surface looks contradictory.

My list has Obama but not McCain. Apparently Ann Coulter is ready to vote for Hillary rather than McCain.

Interesting. At last, things are getting interesting.

ZPS said...

I would do the most unthinkable thing ever and NOT vote, if Hillary and Guiliani were the nominees. Thankfully, that doesn't look like it will happen. Anyone else is semi-ok...but I'm 90% sure my vote will be for Obama on Tuesday,

Is it too soon or inappropriate to ask everyone who they'll be voting for on Tuesday?

Peter said...

"Am I the only one who can realistically picture myself voting for Clinton, Obama, Romney, or McCain?"

No.

As a firm -- but not dogmatic -- conservative, I see virtues in all of them, except Hillary Clinton. For me, it depends on the alternative.

I would only vote for Hillary if Huckabee wins the nomination, but thankfully that looks unlikely. I would vote for Romney over Hillary, but Obama over Romney. The only difficult choice I see is if the choice is McCain vs. Obama; I'm leaning Obama in that case, because I think (paradoxically) Obama can do a lot for conservatism, by (inadvertently, I'm sure) making patriotism cool again in a way it hasn't been since Kennedy and pre-Vietnam, and by keeping the conservative coalition intact (McCain is not a conservative; if he heads the GOP, the coalition will split).

Sometimes politics works in weird ways; I became aware of politics in the 90s -- am I crazy to think that Republicans are at their best when they are in the opposition, as a restraining mechanism to the expansion of government? Conservatism is skeptical of activist government -- but for some reason politicians get upset when they are called a "do-nothing" congress. To me, that should be a compliment!

It seems to me that the lesson of the Bush years should be that even the most ideological conservatives cannot resist the temptation of big government when they actually control the reigns. An Obama presidency and a Republican congress would be ideal -- Obama would be the fresh and compelling face of America, working respectfully with lawmakers who keep governmental expansion in check.

ZPS said...

"I've already said I think blogger endorsements are generally bad."

I'm not looking for an endorsement...I'm just interested in what an interesting person decides to do. Your decision won't affect mine, especially since your state got left out.

Meade said...

No. Count me as one more although Clinton would be a tough one for me (unless she really does divorce Bill between now and election day). Her opponent would have to be someone like David Duke. But technically, I won't be voting for any of them anyway. In that great American electoral tradition, I'll be voting against the eviler least worthy one.

Chip Ahoy said...

Realistically picture. Is that the same thing as realistically imagine.

Realistically picture. Visually conjure?

I'm kind of stuck on realistically picture.

Mentally see? Make up in my mind, like pretend?

Sure. You go first. Ewww. There's you standing at the lever. "Pull!" No wait, it's not lever, it's a button. OK, "Push !"
*wipes brow*
"Whew. That was a scary realistic mind picture."

walter neff said...

The only way for the non-political junkie to understand the current race for President is to compare the candidates to the contestants on the Celebrity Apprentice:

Obama is Lennox Lewis. A tall handsome attractive black man without a brain in his head. Both came out of corrupt organizations. Obama the Chicago Machine. Lewis the WBC and Don King. Hey you just need to watch their handlers, because they call the shots.

Mitt Romney is Piers Morgan. A slimy opportunist who will do anything to win. And Mormons are just as much foreigners to regular people as a Brit.

Huckabee is a weird amalgam of Steven Baldwin and Trace Adkins. A country-fried holly roller.

John McCain is Marilu Henner. An old washed up diva. One was a prisoner of war. One acted like a whore. You make the call.

Hillary is Omarosa

Paddy O. said...

I've already said I think blogger endorsements are generally bad.

Just tag it with "off-blog althouse" and then we'll know it was your personal choice, which may or may not reflect the choice of the Althouse blog persona or the Althouse editorial team and thus wouldn't be an endorsement.

Balfegor said...

Am I the only one who can realistically picture myself voting for Clinton, Obama, Romney, or McCain?

Well, if you take Obama out, no. I can imagine voting for Clinton or Romney, and for McCain if Obama is the nominee on the Democratic side.

To be fair to Obama, though, this is only because Huckabee is more or less out of the running at this point -- if it were Huckabee on the Republican side, I would vote for Obama with enthusiasm and gusto. In four or eight years though, depending on what kind of record Obama builds up as a Senator/VP, I can imagine voting for him even if his opponent doesn't want to amend the Constitution to bring it into conformity with Biblical law. If he turns out to be as centrist as his rhetoric, that is.

Re: Middle Class Guy:

I also feel she [Clinton II] is totally unqualified compared to Pelosi, Feinstein, or Boxer.

Feinstein I can understand. And maybe Boxer. But Pelosi? She's been great for the Republicans, but only because she's managed to score a string of gobsmacking own-goals throughout the past year. It's true that the Democratic majority isn't that big -- the excuse usually trotted out for her failures -- but at the beginning of 2007, the Democrats had powerful momentum and an good chance to attract centrist Republicans alienated by Bush II to their side. She (and Harry Reid) managed to fritter away those advantages completely. The woman is totally unsuited to her current leadership position, let alone the presidency.

Re: Farris:

1. Clinton - has her faults, but I can't imagine her doing a worse job than any of the rest. When the campaigning gets nasty, she has the X-files advantage, people that get too negative toward her tend to sound like unhinged conspiracy theorists.

I don't think she has that advantage, but she doesn't really need it either. I've been a little surprised recently, as left-wingers have come to the belated realisation that President Clinton is, in fact, a shameless liar, but I think the general electorate internalised that a decade ago. It's not going to matter one bit in the general election. As far as Hillary Clinton is concerned, after 15 years of almost nonstop negative campaigning against her at the national level, her negative ratings are what they are. I can't imagine that a little more negative campaigning could possibly have a meaningful effect. What could her opponent say that would shock people? Accuse her of running a child pornography ring?

Looking at her negatives vis a vis someone much newer to the national scene at this point, like Obama (or Romney), is a little misleading, because I really think she's completely maxed out on negatives. Nowhere to go but up. Which she probably would do, in the general campaign, should she be the nominee.

Roger said...

If you think blogger endorsements are bad, you should have seen my predictions--I didnt even come close. I think it was the irrepressible HD House that mentioned out of 300 million americans our political system produced these folks (including the huck, ron paul, and maybe ralph nader). Truly there is a malaise in the country: Jimmy Carter is finally vindicated.

Henry said...

Six months ago I might have voted for Clinton, based on her quality as a Senator and the moderation of the other Clinton presidency.

I don't I could do it now, not after the two-for-one-identity-politics meltdown of the last month.

Still, if Huckabee somehow ended up the Republican nominee I'd probably vote for Clinton. Maybe even for Obama, but I don't know if I could actually scrawl my X next to the name of the Moveon candidate.

Romney or McCain I could vote for, though not without reservations.

amba said...

Interesting it certainly is. Like a game of basketball in a dream where all the lines on the court have dissolved and the teams' uniforms colors are strangely hard to distinguish.

I could vote for McCain or Obama, not for Romney, and almost certainly not for Hillary.

John Stodder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Stodder said...

Hillary -- thought I would do it, now certain I can't. She diminishes herself by the week.

Romney -- have disliked him intensely from day one. Complete phony. Doesn't think there's anything wrong with changing positions to win election because he just knows he's the smartest guy available. I hate people like that, and moreover, they're usually quite wrong about their own skills. He'd govern like Jimmy Carter if he won, which there is no chance of happening.

So that leaves Obama and McCain. I wish they could run together. They'd be like one of those old 1970s cop shows. The crusty old seen-it-all guy who goes by his gut, partnered with the brilliant rookie whose got courage to match his brains.

They both seem like leaders to me. Contrary to extremely popular belief, the presidency is not an ideological office. The needed skills are inertia-busting on the domestic front, and strategic courage on the international front. Plus the right kind of ego, an ego strong enough to surround themselves with very smart advisors and encourage candor from them.

Both seem to have these skills. If they end up running against each other, I don't yet know which way I'd go. But if only one of them is in the race, that's the one I'm voting for.

I don't see this as a contradictory position.

Revenant said...

Obama - there's a lot to like but we don't know how he'll be able to stand up to the inevitable dirty campaigning from the repubs.

If he survives running against Clinton, whatever "dirty campaigning from the repubs" follows will probably seem like a friendly exchange of ideas in comparison. :)

Fritz said...

I'm with Ann, Coulter that is. McCain is as dangerous as that lunatic Goldwater.

P. Rich said...

Here is a thought experiment:

Imagine a dictatorship where the dictator wields absolute, life or death authority. Would you move to this country with your family and friends if the dictator-for-life were:

The Clintons
Obama
McCain
Romney
Huckabee

Yes or no for each, please.

And what do you think that country would be like after 4 or 8 years under each "dictator"? I doubt many views would be so egalitarian if there were no checks on presidential power. And then there are those pesky judicial appointments...

joe said...

I can't stand any of them.

Kirby Olson said...

I like all of them. They're all just fine.

It's Pepsi or Coke. Besides, the country is so rock solid thanks to Madison's notion of checks and balances that anybody could run this country. Donald Duck could run this country.

rcocean said...

McCain v. Hillary. Both:

-support Open Borders
-support NAFTA and low tariffs
-Like Greenspan
-support a balanced budget
-opposed the Bush tax cuts
-support Multi-Culturalism, affirmative action
-against making English our national language.
-are Internationalists
-are long time Washington Insiders.
-think government action is required to stop Global warming.
-supported the Iraq war and action in Afganistan.
-like and respect each other.
-dislike conservatives especially the religious right.
-love Joe Lieberman and Russ Feingold.
-supported Ginsburg and Breyer
-hate Rush Limbaugh and talk radio

Guess I'll be voting for Nader.

John Stodder said...

You left out:

-eat Cheerios
-like puppies
-should floss more
-breath in oxygen, expel carbon dioxide
-base their campaigns, in part, on personae developed in the 1960s
-do funny imitations of Bill Clinton
-think the Dave Clark Five was underrated
-are wrinkly

They're twins! Ann Coulter is right!

Sarah Schreffler said...

I could vote for Obama or Romney (or Huckabee). There's going to have to be a lot of talking to convince me to vote for McCain. I'd stay home if Hillary was the only name on the ballot.

rcocean said...

John:
Too bad you can't deny what I wrote. Which is why McCain is going to lose in November. I guess if you can't argue on the substance, you have to fall back on snark.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

As I have said, my vote doesn't amount to spit anyway....so I'm writing in Thomson/Hunter on election day.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

I see the answer is "No." I could vote for all of them but might not vote for any of them. None is my ideal candidate but perfection is not a human attribute. Depending on how things go, my preferred winner could change a number of times between now and November. OTOH, I may not care at all by then. The toughest of the four for me would probably be Romney. I'd elaborate on my opinion of their merits and faults but I'd rather take a nap.

Blake said...

John Stodder--

Hating tax cuts is not quite the same as liking puppies.

Randy--

Agreed. I could vote for any of them but I don't really like any of them.

Kirby--

Love the optimism. Yay, Madison!

DBQ--

Me, too. Writing in Fred. Or maybe Madison.

Beldar said...

Your question, Prof. A, is a revealing one. What it reveals, I posit, is that your vote is likely to be based almost entirely upon a combination of your visceral and intellectual reactions to specific candidates -- not their "platforms" -- with the visceral, surprisingly (to me anyway), seeming to be more important.

Please note: It's entirely legitimate, in my viewpoint anyway, to value one's own visceral reactions so highly. "I can't get comfortable with ___" or "___ gives me the creeps" or "I don't trust ___" -- these are all perfectly legitimate, if vague, reasons not to vote for someone. "___ makes me feel hopeful," or "___ seems competent and organized" are too.

But I choose how to vote based on an entirely different set of considerations. To begin with, I'm a partisan -- i.e., literally, I believe in, and support, one party over the other. It seems to me that this counts for nothing in your analysis, and indeed, if anything, you're inclined to defy being "pigeon-holed" into either party framework. That's okay, too -- I can respect that. But it makes your votes into snowflakes that land and count, then melt and disappear.

Second, your method leaves more room for infatuation. Completely apart from their policies, I find Hillary Clinton morally repugnant, and I find Barack Obama to be charming and attractive and admirable. If forced to vote in an election in which they were the only two candidates, however, I'd vote for Hillary because her policies are (slightly) less repugnant to me, and her guiding principle (do whatever is necessary to gain/retain power) ensures that she'll triangulate, not lead in a consistent leftward direction. So her policies and decisions will be less repugnant to me than Obama's, even though if given a chance to choose a dinner companion, I'd choose him in a heartbeat.

Your heavy weighting of visceral reactions gives high value to subjective qualities of "leadership," and that's not a bad thing. That you can perceive and respond to the very different types of leadership qualities these four candidates represent speaks well, I think, for you. But I doubt that you're very typical in that regard; which is to say, I suspect most people respond to one type in particular and to the exclusion of the others.

Ann Althouse said...

Beldar said "Your question... reveals... that your vote is likely to be based almost entirely upon a combination of your visceral and intellectual reactions to specific candidates -- not their "platforms" -- with the visceral, surprisingly (to me anyway), seeming to be more important."

What you need to understand is that none of them has a platform that corresponds to what I want. Plus, I don't believe we will get what they are talking about now. Things will change, Congress has a role, and they're focused now on trying to get elected. So don't portray me as not intellectual and going on gut. The fact is, I don't care much about gut feelings either. I'm resistant to this charisma crap.

"But I choose how to vote based on an entirely different set of considerations. To begin with, I'm a partisan -- i.e., literally, I believe in, and support, one party over the other."

Maybe I would if there was a party that corresponded to my thoughts. But there isn't. Lucky you!

"It seems to me that this counts for nothing in your analysis, and indeed, if anything, you're inclined to defy being "pigeon-holed" into either party framework."

I'm not defying anything. I just don't trust either party to do the right thing.

"[Y]our method leaves more room for infatuation. Completely apart from their policies, I find Hillary Clinton morally repugnant, and I find Barack Obama to be charming and attractive and admirable."

Not so. I might like one candidate but vote for the other. But I don't love any politicians. I mistrust them all, especially when they are charismatic.

"Your heavy weighting of visceral reactions gives high value to subjective qualities of "leadership," and that's not a bad thing. That you can perceive and respond to the very different types of leadership qualities these four candidates represent speaks well, I think, for you. But I doubt that you're very typical in that regard; which is to say, I suspect most people respond to one type in particular and to the exclusion of the others."

Beldar, you are just making up crap about me. What's with that?

Greg in Madtown said...

All four of them? Nope.

Barack? Certainly, he's got my vote. We don't agree on everything, but I trust him. He's the only candidate to acknowledge the existing tensions between some factions of the Democratic base (specifically, gays and blacks), and who, like me, thinks that promoting civil discourse is better than turning our backs on each other and yelling at people who won't listen. In effect, in standing up to certain party activists, he's strengthened the bonds that unite us.

McCain? He's certainly the best of the Republicans, and I'd consider voting for him if Barack weren't running. Even when he pandered to the Republican base by supporting GW when he clearly shouldn't have, he never demonized his opponents, and he's never been afraid to vote his conscience even when doing so might hurt him politically.

Hillary? Sure, at least I think so.

Mitt? No way.

They're oddly similar, those two. Mitt and Hillary both strike me as consummate politicians--you know, the sort who will say anything (up to and including lying)to get elected. I don't feel I can trust them to side with the country's best interest in cases in which doing so would conflict with their personal, political self-interest. So why Hillary and not Mitt? Because Hillary will at least give lip service to the defense of the rights of gay Americans, and Mitt, well, he's flopped one too many times on that issue. And unfortunately, this time he's landed on the creepy-smile-while-you-bash side. And yeah, that matters to some of us.

Bob said...

Yes, you are.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Ann, it sounds to me like Beldar is embarking on a new career in mind-reading. I think he ought to keep his day job, though.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

The party first, eh Beldar? The proverbial yellow dog running on the party ticket still gets your vote, I see. Party before country is the logical result.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Beldar, you are just making up crap about me. What's with that?

Next thing you know, he'll be demanding that you prove you're not a racist.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, Paul, when I embrace a political theory that has supported racism in the past and neglect to separate my beliefs from racism, I will welcome the opportunity to distance myself from racism.

Paul Zrimsek said...

So Beldar's offered you the opportunity to distance yourself from emotionalism. Just peeling back the veneer, so to say. I can see how you welcome it.

Ann Althouse said...

Paul, I understand the point you intended. I'm just showing you why it's not apt. I'm willing to talk about everything I think. There's no "veneer."

Paul Zrimsek said...

So were those libertarians willing to talk about eveything they thought. Everything, that is, but that racism crap you made up about them.

Ann Althouse said...

They were not willing to talk about the effects of their abstract theories on real people. They smiled smugly and repeated their ideology. And I asked questions about the implications of what they said. They were unwilling to address those questions and took to yelling at me. I didn't make anything up about them.

Tell Sackett said...

I thought that Titus/something guy was the official drama queen of this blog?

colleenjk said...

It is interesting to me to read posts that say they would vote for Obama or McCain, but definitely NOT HILARY. The question of McCain's loyalty to the Republican party has come up before. I remember reading that he had a problem with President Bush. However, he does support Bush's war, which makes him the worst of all the candidates. I consider myself independent, but I can say with 100% certainty that I am voting for a democrat in November.