January 23, 2006

Condi, not John.

John Hawkins polled right-of-center bloggers about who they wanted for the next Republican presidential nominee. Condoleezza Rice came out on top -- by a lot. On the corresponding poll for least desirable, John McCain came out first -- by even more.


Bruce Hayden said...

If anyone wants to know why Dr. Rice is so popular with so many of us, all they have to do is read Shelby Steele's article mostly on Hillary today in the WSJ.

And why not Sen. McCain? I think for one thing, by now he is viewed by many of us as a media whore. He will say whatever the media wants in order to get attention. Yes, you see some basic principles under there, but you still wonder. And, esp. after Bill Clinton, a lot of us don't want a president who sways in the wind, listening to the MSM and polls.

I have some other concerns. I don't see him being a team player, esp. after leading the Gang of 14. I also question whether he has the right temperment, having a well documented short fuse.

ALH ipinions said...

As a black person, I think it will be interesting to see how many white Republicans suspend whatever racist feelings they may have to actually vote for Condi. (Polls are one thing, but....)

And, I think it will be equally interesting to see how many blacks suspend blind loyalty to the Democratic Party to vote for her just because she's black....

(And, in each case, how white and black women vote will be especially interesting if it's a match between Condi and Hillary.)

Alas, Race Matters...

Mark Daniels said...

In my view, the Republican contingent of the Gang of 14 pulled a shrewd maneuver that both preserved the filibuster as a legislative tool--albeit one I dislike--and insured that President Bush's nominees to the Supreme Court and other courts were confirmed. It appears that Alito will be confirmed in spite of the fact that the Dems have enough votes to put a filibuster in place. Why? Because of the Gang of 14's "extraordinary circumstances" clause.

At least that's the way it looks to me.

Mark Daniels

Mark Daniels said...

Also: I believe that Condi Rice means what she says about not being a candidate, not wanting to be a candidate, and not feeling that elective politics is her thing.

Mark Daniels

Simon said...

My only real problem with McCain is the BCRA; there are obviously other problems with him, but that's the big one. His stance on immigration is troubling, but it is, at least, reasoned (I saw an interesting Gingrich op/ed supporting the McCain view, and I try to make a habit of not disagreeing with Newt on policy matters). So I can live with McCain's defects, because he has other qualities that balance him as a candidate.

I can live with a candidate who is squishy on abortion, and squishy on affirmative acton, but there has to be a lot of positive factors to balance the scale. Rice needs to work much, much harder than McCain to balance the scales.

I hope McCain runs, and I hope Rice runs. I think it is going to be healthy for the GOP to have a serious internal debate again, in a way that has been somewhat quieted in the last few years. But I have to admit, that I go into that primary with less concerns about McCain than Condi.

The bottom line, though, is that even people who are sceptical about McCain or Condi will need to suck it up and get behind whoever wins the primary.

Simon said...

Incidentally - regarding the Gang of 14 issue. Law.com has a very interesting article that suggests that the Gang of 14 deal in fact sealed Alito's confirmation. This is hugely amusing to me, because I said as much at the time, and pointed out how silly all these people saying it was a defeat for the GOP and calling for lynchings of the GOP7 were being. It's good to be right.

knox said...

Condi: yea!
McCain: ugh. he seems like a total media whore.

Mark Daniels said...

Like you, at the time their deal was announced, I said that the Republican members of the Gang of 14 had sealed victory for President Bush's judicial nominees for the forseeable future. Why? Because it eliminated political litmus tests as legitimate reason for stonewalling a nomination. It underscored the principle that the best way to get the judicial nominees you want is to win elections and that barring "extraordinary circumstances," Presidents ought to get the nominees they want.

(Of course, I'm going to look like an idiot if the deal somehow falls through now. But I don't think that it will.)


Charles said...

Surely this can't be so! I keep reading about how McCain is #1 for Republicans! Why anyone would vote for a guy with severe anger management problems who doesn't seem to live with his family - and hasn't for years - to make an attempt to raise his kids with his wife, is beyond me.

Simon said...

My thinking was along slightly different lines, but to essentially the same result:

"[T]he GOP effectively agreed to not use the nuclear option for as long as the Democrats don't filibuster. Owens and Brown - for all the democrats bitter hostility - will both have their gavels within a week. If the Democrats attempt to filibuster another nominee, thus breaking this hard-won compromise, they will find public support much diminished next time, which means that they've peaked prematurely, scant months before a Supreme Court nomination fight."

Sadly, I was a little more glib on my own blog than I was in comments on other blogs, none of which I can link to, but the crux of it was that the agreement meant that it would be very hard, almost impossible, to characterize future nominees as being so out of the mainstream as to be worth breaking the deal. So it has proven.

Henry said...

I go back and forth on McCain. On the big issue of the war on terror, he's more articulate and just as determined as Bush, and I'm appreciative of his push for acceptable treatment of detainees.

On his pet issue of campaign finance reform, on the other hand, he's a petty demogogue.

While refreshingly candid, he also strikes me as enormously egocentric, which is not a quality I want in a President.

Simon said...

"Why anyone would vote for [McCain] . . . ?"

Because he's a pro-life Republican who can win 40+ states against any Democrat?

I'm not going to cheerlead for McCain, I have my own concerns about him. But there is a strange mentality in the GOP lately that the Democrats are finished, that 2008 is going to be a walkover, a fortiori if the Dems nominate Hillary. I disagree; 2008 is going to be a tough election, especially if the Dems nominate Hillary, who is far more formidable, I think, than most people in my party want to admit (or, possibly, realize). Whatever else one can say about him, McCain would win it and make it not even close; while the same, to a lesser extent, goes for Rice, I am more comfortable with McCain as President than I am with Condi as President, not least because it's likely that Ginsburg retires before 2012, and certain that Stevens is gone on the next President's watch if not on this one's, and I'm not convinced Condi will "do the right thing" (the "right thing" being Sykes, Cantero, or - particularly in the case of Stevens' retirement - Young).

Simon said...

"While refreshingly candid, he also strikes me as enormously egocentric, which is not a quality I want in a President."

By the nature of the job, the mere act of running for the Presidency strikes me as being enormously egocentric, period.

I think with all this presidential talk, we're forgetting the more important business of the day: the "draft Althouse" campaign. ;)

DaveG said...

The problem with McCain's ego, I fear, is that he won't be able to take no for an answer.

Failing to win the GOP nomination, I fear that he will pull another "Gang of 14" and run as an independent.

This Perot redux would virtually guarantee another Clinton in the White House, for better or worse.

Simon said...

"The problem with McCain's ego, I fear, is that he won't be able to take no for an answer. Failing to win the GOP nomination, I fear that he will pull another 'Gang of 14' and run as an independent."

Well, two obvious points. Firstly, I think we can already see that he won't. Having failed to secure the nomination in 2000, he did not run as an independent; he did not challenge Bush for the nomination in 2004, and actively campaigned for him. Second, as already pointed out in this thread, I fail to see how the Gang of 14 deal analogizes to an independent run for the Presidency. With the benefit of hindsight, it is now practically beyond question that the deal was a success, despite the grousing from the right at the time.

D.E. Cloutier said...

Alh ipinions: "As a black person, I think it will be interesting to see how many white Republicans suspend whatever racist feelings they may have to actually vote for Condi."

Here are the actual statistics regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964: In the House of Representatives, 61% of Democrats (152 for, 96 against) and 80% of Republicans (138 for, 38 against) voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the Senate, 69% of Democrats (46 for, 21 against) and 82% of Republicans (27 for, 6 against) voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Source: Congressional Record

Henry said...

Simon -- it's clearly a judgment call whether a particular politician's egomania would make his or her judgement suspect.

Perhaps it's the difference between an ego that strives for power, versus one that strives for attention. One wants to exercise control; another wants adulation.

My gut reaction to McCain is that his self-regard is excessive, even for a politician, and that it feeds on adulation. The result, I fear, would be an administration far more fickle and aggressive in its enthusiasms than even the current one.

However I do credit McCain with a forceful and ethical approach to the war on terror, which makes up for a lot, in my book.

Chris said...

From where Condi sits now, she can't see herself as a Presidential candidate. However, I strongly suspect that President Bush has plans for her. I don't see him leaving his succession to chance. There's simply too much at stake. I don't believe he wants McCain to end up in control of the Party, either.

I do not believe that Condi Rice would have begun the execution of a multi year State Department transformation on the assumption that she would be leaving town in three years, only to watch her successor throw everything she's worked for out the window.

AJ Weberman said...
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