Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Hugging The Vital Center

Originally uploaded by jonnybutter.

In a recent interesting post and discussion over at Legal Fiction, the question 'What's up with McCain?' was more or less boiled down to one of two possibilities: either he's positioning himself for another run for president in '08 or '12, or he might not be because he is (or will be) too old and his health may not be very good. I think he's preparing for either eventuality. Despite the Kerry/McCain pipe dreams of a few months ago, if you look at it from McCain's point of view, he has no real choice but to offer ostensibly vigorous support for Bush in '04. Anything less than seeming-vigorous support would be a news story in itself, and he knows it.

The best of all possible worlds for McCain, politically, would be for his buddy Kerry to win the coming election. If Bush were to squeak through to another term, the odds are heavily in favor of a Democrat winning the White House in '08. If Kerry wins, on the other hand, he actually has to be president. Who knows what will happen in the next four years? Anything could. And a president Kerry would have a lot of Bush messes to deal with/clean up in addition to everything else. I fervently hope for one, but a successful Kerry presidency is hardly a fait accompli.

Both Kerry and McCain know what Clinton knew - and what the Bush-backers in the Republican Party have forgotten in the rush of events: political power is to be found in the vital center - center-Right for McCain, center-Left for Kerry. McCain is what he's always been: a loyal, and pretty conservative Republican. He's out to save his party. If the presidency doesn't happen for him, then it doesn't. But breaking with the GOP now would ensure that it wouldn't.

How do politicians live with having to pay so much (by all means, click on the photo for a closer look) for such appallingly meagre returns - and often no returns at all? Beats me. But they do volunteer for this kind of duty.....

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