Monday, February 18, 2008

Irrelevant

Finally, former President George Herbert Walker Bush has endorsed for President Arizona Senator John McCain, contending he has the "right values and experience to guide our nation forward" and "no one is better prepared to lead our nation at these trying times....." Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report (generally a worthwhile read) commented "this is just another sign that the race for the Republican nomination is effectively over and that the party establishment is wrapping their arms around McCain."

What gave you your first clue, Charlie? Might it have be the 846 delegates won by McCain (with only 1191 needed for nomination) compared to the 268 by Romney (who has urged his delegates to vote for McCain), 243 for Huckabee (who makes the Repub establishment at least as queasy as does McCain), and the 14 for Ron Paul? Could it be that it's almost statistically impossible for McCain to blow the nomination?

Much of the Repub "party establishment" already supports the Arizona Senator, although his endorsements from GOP Representatives and Senators have been underwhelming. The Repub establishment is not McCain's problem. The right wing is McCain's problem, the likes of Thad Cochran, Rick Santorum, Tom DeLay, George F. Will, and Laura Ingraham. Instead, today's was an endorsement of the president who famously uttered "read my lips- no new taxes," then raised them when necessary, thereby incurring the disappointment of most of the GOP and the wrath of much of it. If George H.W. Bush was revered- or even respected- by the Republicans McCain has been courting (actually, pandering to), the Repub debates wouldn't have been consumed by each candidate (save Paul) trying to out-Reagan Reagan. And the presumptive nominee himself might have missed at least one opportunity to proclaim himself "a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution."

If former President Bush had endorsed John McCain six weeks ago, that might have had an effect on the Republican race. We now would be anticipating the nomination of Mitt Romney.

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