Republicans and conservatives are rallying behind Sen. John McCain’s White House bid, but not because they are so enamored with him or his agenda. Instead, their loyalty is based on their perception that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as president, particularly with large Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, would be utterly disastrous.
Regardless of whether you agree with them about the results of a Democratic presidential victory later this year, a McCain victory might produce its own series of domino-like events that ultimately might hurt the Grand Old Party.
Illinois political columnist Russ Stewart has argued that the 2008 winner, regardless of party, will face such intractable problems that he will be a one-termer, damaging his party over the next four years and turning the White House over to the opposition in 2012.
I don’t necessarily agree with Stewart that a McCain victory in November would lead to the “eradication” of the GOP, but it’s easy to see how a McCain presidency could end up being a nightmare for Republicans.
In the worst-case scenario, a McCain victory in November could likely lead to a Republican bloodletting that would tear apart the GOP well before 2012, contribute to another good Democratic election in 2010 and hand Democrats such a strong advantage during redistricting that Republicans wouldn’t be able to recover for years.
The scenario is simple: McCain wins and immediately follows his own instincts — meaning he tries to patch together a series of coalitions on ethics, immigration, spending and global warming.
Some of the initiatives require bipartisan efforts, while others rely heavily on Democrats with a smattering of Republicans. A few McCain policies, particularly those involving the war in Iraq and the larger war against terror, depend heavily on Republican support.
The one thing that is sure is that a McCain presidency wouldn’t merely be a “third Bush term.” That’s a smart campaign slogan for Democrats, and it should be effective. But anyone who knows McCain and has followed his efforts over the years — including his 2000 campaign against George W. Bush — knows that, if the Arizonan gets to the White House, he’ll follow his own instincts, not the current president’s road map.
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Cross Posted at sayanythingblog.com