Friday, February 15, 2008

Former President Bush to Endorse McCain

An ex-president's endorsment ought to be a weighty prize. Thus I'm eager to see how the expected endorsement of George H. W. Bush for John McCain will play among far-right conservatives.

Bush 41 might be dismissed as a "Rockefeller Republican," and his own apostasies - like breaking his "read-my-lips-no-new-taxes" pledge - might be used by MDS conservatives to further impugn the Arizona Senator's conservative credentials:

Former president George H.W. Bush will endorse Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in Houston on Monday during a media availability at 9:30 a.m. Texas time, Republican sources say....

The endorsement by the former president does two things that are crucial to McCain as he tries to capitalize on the potential advantages of being the nominee when Democrats are still fighting it out:
— It begins to make former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee look like he’s not being a team player, raising expectations that he should drop out or run a quieter campaign.

— It also undercuts Republicans who are reluctant to fully support McCain because of his past differences with the party’s right wing.

The father's endorsement follows former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's decision to back McCain. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had warm relations with both men and had hoped their endorsements would ignite his candidacy, which he ended last week.
The Bush machine is one of the most powerful in American conservative politics, especially on the fundraising side. The ex-president's expected endorsement further consolidates McCain's virtually ineluctable momentum.