Skim the papers and you’d swear McCain was already the President. He gets more press than just about everyone but Brad & Angelina. Today is no exception.
Roll Call’s chattering about McCain’s amendment to reform 527s (sorry, you’ll need a password). This needs to be done, and I’m glad he’s stepping up. The Senate is stalled on the lobbying reform package, so it’s good that the guy whose name is synonymous with campaign finance reform is putting something out. While I disagree with the limits he’s proposing ($50k per cycle is a bit high for my tastes), I’m glad to see he’s talking hard dollars, as well.
Over at WaPo, the digestion of the SRLC straw poll continues and Ruth Marcus takes a look at McCain’s pairing with Trent Lott.
“I must say I think [conservtaives are] somewhat leery of him,” Lott says. “But we want to win the next election. Pragmatism is a powerful force in politics.”
Lott’s right when he says McCain is the go-to guy this year. While I have qualms with some past positions – and some present ones – I’m putting it all aside to win.
Contrast Marcus’ piece with Wesley Pruden’s piece running in the Washington Times.
Sen. John McCain, figuring that Bill Frist had all the home-field advantages, urged his friends to vote for President Bush as a show of fealty if not loyalty. Mr. McCain either didn’t have a lot of friends in Memphis or his friends didn’t pay him mind. Rudy Giuliani, who might be the most electable Republican and who is definitely the most un-nominatible, pleaded a prior business commitment, the rough equivalent of saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
I agree with Pruden on one point, Giuliani would have a tough time with the primaries. Mitt Romeny, the Mormon Republican governor of a deep blue state would have the same problem, despite his second place showing in Tennessee.
Pruden refers to the winner of the SRLC showdown, Bill Frist, as the Henry Cabot Lodge of 2006. That’s about right. Frist would get creamed in the general. He comes across like John Kerry – wonkish and verbose. That’s fine if your my doctor, but people want a President they can relate to. That’s why Clinton, Reagan and Bush-43 all won. I’m not sure what happened with 41. That was a fluke.
Finally, the LA Times carries a brief editorial look at ’08 in ’06.
At this absurdly premature stage, the two parties face opposite concerns. If Republicans have in McCain a formidable general election candidate who seems extremely vulnerable in his own party’s primaries, many Democrats are fretting that Hillary Rodham Clinton could prove unbeatable in their primaries but unelectable in November.
Right on the money.