the republican party almost lost their maverick back in 2001. you can characterize arlen specter and chuck hagel as apostates for their occasional straying off the republican reservation, but the one thing you can’t say is that they seriously considered leaving the republican party. (maybe we sometimes wish they would, but it hasn’t happened.) to be fair about it, the article doesn’t say that mccain would have become a democrat, but becoming an independent would have had the same effect on the senate.
this is a more serious flaw than romney supporting democratic candidates, or guiliani and his judicial picks. if mcain is bidding to be the “one true republican” then he’s got to come up with a good explanation for this. there doesn’t seem to be one. frustration with the republican party is perfectly normal, but the way to deal with that is not to look for an escape hatch. whatever his reasons were for having even preliminary conversations with the democrats, he risks being tagged a sore loser since this happened so soon after the 2000 elections. that charge is already out there.
mccain was in trouble before this story came out, and i don’t know what he would have to do to catch and pass giuliani in the polls. could it happen? sure, but he’s got a lot of work to do. it wouldn’t surprise me if romney passes mccain. if it happens, you can say you read it here first.
tags: john mccain, ’08 election