I just watched Rudy Giuliani endorse John McCain, and McCain proceeded to invoke 9/11 three times in the space of five minutes. I guess Arnold Schwarzenegger's about to endorse in a few minutes. And even the dregs of the conservative movement have resigned themselves to the idea of a Republican nominee they have little but contempt for ("perhaps not more liberal than Barack Obama, but certainly far less trustworthy"). Some on our side are tearing their hair out, thinking that McCain's electability outstrips our remaining candidates, and that we're resigned to failure in November.
Are you kidding? Beating St. McCain of the Blessed Maverickiana will be DELICIOUS. Let me count the ways.
The Tweety Effect - An Epic Repudiation Of The Media
John McCain is beloved by his little circle jerk in the Village. It's the main reason that conservative media can't stand him, and it's why they find him untrustworthy. A dishonest and catty group who worships access to the campaign bus and flattery and cocktail weenies, this media group will go to the mat for their man. It's like having Chris Matthews HIMSELF running for President. As we saw in New Hampshire, once the journalistic elite inserted themselves into the election, voters became immediately distasteful. They can't help themselves. They're likely to do it again. And when they do, we have the opportunity to deny them their perfect saint in the White House, their honorable man, and watch them be despondent for months.
Passing the Popcorn - The Conservative Crackup
Although I firmly expect the conservative movement to rally around their nominee, for some the grudges will absolutely continue.
McCain obviously doesn't have enough of a base problem to deny him the Republican nomination. But it's extremely clear to me that, with a field that doesn't inspire anything more than a grunt, McCain's victory is very tied to perceived electability. For a substantial portion of the Republican base, he will never be a sufficient option. And they'll be angry. And they're not likely to remain quiet. They're arrogant fundamentalists who can't brook any disavowal of their opinions, and they will continue to hurl insults, stew in their own juices, or perhaps even stay home, or support a third-party candidate from the right (though I'm skeptical). I'm all for further fracturing throughout all of 2008, particularly among the anti-immigrant section of that coalition, who are sitting by helplessly as their single issue becomes a non-factor and even the seeds of McCain's victory.
Bomb Bomb Iran - A Chance To Fully Repudiate Neoconservatism
It was no accident that Rudy Giuliani immediately ran to the side of John McCain today. They share the same desire, bloodlust even, for more wars and a more aggressive foreign policy. The platform is less jobs and more wars and the lizardoids in the Republican Party decided that they're on board. McCain is completely tied to a disaster in Iraq that the country has rejected. He hasn't met a war he didn't like. And there's a very good reason for this. His understanding of the economy is based on growing the defense budget to astronomical proportions to reward his rich defense contractors back in Arizona. See, McCain is the very opposite of a "porkbuster," he's someone who uses the war machine as an economic engine. And those are the only jobs he would create as President.
By stopping McCain head-on in November, progressives have the opportunity to completely upend conventional wisdom about the perceived Republican advantage on terror. Neoconservatism is a disease that has gripped this nation and still drives our perception of ourselves as some kind of benevolent empire. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and the sundry crises all over the world and in the war on terror are a direct result of this failed thinking. Instead of sidestepping it, it needs to be beaten, definitively, among the American people. And McCain's presence will mean that the election will still be fought, to some degree, over Iraq, which is a political loser for Republicans.
Beating Their Bench - Leaving Them With The Rotted Remains
Chris Bowers has more on this idea that beating McCain is better for the progressive movement in the long run.
Beating McCain is better than beating Romney: If McCain becomes the nominee, it is only because Republicans think he can win, not because they actually like him. As such, as long as we can pull it off, defeating McCain is actually preferable to defeating Romney. If we beat McCain, then not only did we beat Republicans, but we beat Republicans who sold out in order to try and beat us. Crushing a patsy placeholder like Romney is one thing, but crushing Republicans and conservatives who hated their nominee, but chose him because they thought he could win, is way, way, better. If we beat McCain, then Arnold is the only national Republican moderate left, and he can never run for President. In other words, beat McCain, and we not only beat Republicans, but we beat their entire bench.
John McCain is not at all unbeatable. Just as John Kerry went on a favorable/unfavorable yo-yo in 2003 due to electability, the same with McCain. What goes up can very easily come down, especially when the focus of a national campaign reveals his warmongering and his cluelessness on the economy. And by beating him, we beat maverick-ism. We beat the High Broderists. We beat Bush Dogs. We beat the neocons. We beat the Republicans right into the ground.
I'm BEGGING for John McCain now. And make Lieberman your VP; that'll make it even more wonderful.