Monday, April 28, 2008

McCain Running Strong as Democrats Tumble

McCain Going Strong

I'm watching Howard Dean on CNN's American Morning right now. The DNC Chairman's trying to justify the party's new McCain attack ad seeking to smear the Senator's comments on a likely long-term commitment on Iraq.

Dean also confirmed the conventional wisdom that the Democrats' division heading into the summer could spell disaster for the party's fortunes in November.

USA Today reports that presumptive nominee John McCain's holding up just fine, which seems counterintuitive, given how big a Democratic year this should be:

Why is this man smiling?

Arizona Sen. John McCain could understandably be scowling: He could face a more difficult political landscape than any presidential candidate in a generation.

Only 39% of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party he represents, the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows. A record 63% say the Iraq war he defends was a mistake. The disapproval rating for President Bush, the incumbent McCain has embraced, has hit 69%, the most negative assessment of any president since Gallup began asking the question 70 years ago.

Yet in what seems to be the most promising election for Democrats since 1976 — when the aftermath of the Watergate scandal opened the door for Democrat Jimmy Carter to win the presidency — the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows the presumptive Republican presidential nominee within striking distance of either Illinois Sen. Barack Obama or New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Sen. McCain will not be a pushover in Ohio," cautions Ted Strickland, the Democratic governor of one of the nation's most important battleground states. "It will be a hotly contested race."

At least at the moment, McCain's personal qualities — his stature as a Vietnam war hero, reputation as an independent-minded Republican and persona as a strong leader — are trumping the significant policy disadvantages he faces in pursuing a third consecutive term for the GOP in the White House.

The protracted and increasingly bitter rivalry between Obama and Clinton for the Democratic nomination is a boost for McCain, too.
The article goes on to note that 1 in 5 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents will likely vote McCain if Barack Obama's the party nominee, and in general election matchups, Republicans line up more solidly behind McCain than Democrats do for Obama. ("Nine of 10 Republicans backed the Arizona senator, compared with eight of 10 Democrats who supported the Illinois senator.")

All of this helps explain the crazed frustration on the hard left of the blogosphere.

Distorting McCain's record on Iraq isn't enough for some.
Extreme partisans hope to portray neoconservative ideology as the present evil of the world:

Believe it or not, I’m not thrilled with this ad [the new anti-McCain "100 Years in Iraq" spot], and not because it hits too hard or is a little below the belt. No, my opposition to this ad is that it’s not hard enough; it doesn’t go deep enough.

Listen. We need to go beyond Iraq on this. We need to go after the ideology. I think it is imperitive to look past the political liability for Republicans that Iraq has become and start making the argument that Iraq wasn’t an isolated incident, that these people are more than willing and capable of causing the same kind of disasters elsewhere in the world.

That’s what I want to see in these ads, not just that Iraq was a mistake, everyone knows that, but there needs to be a massive movement to explain to the electorate A) why Iraq was a mistake and B) that neoconservatism is just about doomed to repeat Iraq over and over again for as long as we keep voting these people in office.

We should round it all off with a nice C) that things here at home are only going to get worse with each following war that these people keep thrusting us into.

We already got a majority of Americans with us on Iraq being a bad thing, we need to quit flogging the dead horse and move on to the next argument.

And that next argument is what? That a McCain adminstration's going launch American wars of aggression from Iran, North Korea, to Syria?

Such talk doesn't make much sense.

It's a combination of loathing for the forward exercise of U.S. military power (such as the current Iraq deployment), demonization of neoconservative ideology as an unmitigated evil, and extreme left-wing fear-mongering seeking to escalate their hatred of Republicans to the next level, a degree of frustration that's already indicated in attacks on the GOP as some neo-fascist regime of apocalyptic proportions.

Photo Credit:
USA Today