Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fourth-place finish in Memphis shows McCain’s no front-runner

Dick Morris, in a column at "The Hill" says, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is destined to find that his love of the Republican Party will be unrequited.

His dismal showing in the recent Nashville straw poll underscores the fact that while he is the Democrats' and independents' favorite Republican, he's not the Republicans' top choice by a long shot. Twenty years of independence, courage, creativity and conscience will do that for you (as Joe Lieberman is finding out across the aisle).

You can't be a front-runner for your party's nomination and win 5 percent of the vote in a regional straw poll, finishing fourth, behind Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.), Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Virginia Sen. George Allen. While McCain still leads in the national polls (not counting former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani), he is no genuine front-runner. He lacks the requisite enthusiasm he would need among core Republicans to cop that title.

He is, in fact, more of a stalking horse, a place to store voter preferences while the other candidates for the nomination break through their low thresholds of name recognition.

It's a shame because McCain and Giuliani are the only two frequently mentioned candidates who could actually get elected and defy the likely disaster the GOP faces in '08.
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After the Republican Party gets shellacked in the congressional elections of 2006, the wisdom of nominating someone who can attract votes outside the Republican base will become increasingly apparent. And none of the candidates other than McCain or Giuliani can do so.
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The first phase of the GOP campaign will feature the fall from the top of McCain and, if he runs, Giuliani. The next phase will be characterized by doubts as to whether any of the remaining candidates are up to the task. And then, if the GOP voters are smart, they will draft the only winning candidate they could nominate, the secretary of state.

Or they won’t, and Hillary will be the next president. Nobody said Republican primary voters were very sensible

Rest Here

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