McCain Should Throw Stevens Under the Bus

One of the most mystifying aspects of McCain's messaging is why he hasn't run on the "different kind of Republican" theme. This was Bush's message in 2000, even though the Republican brand wasn't as badly tarnished then as it is now and Bush was actually less different than McCain is.

The McCain campaign probably doesn't want to cause more base problems than they already have (see: enthusiasm gap). But you can substantively be a "different kind of Republican" in a DeMint/Coburn/anti-corruption type of way, while using the terminology as a code word to moderates and independents.

How can McCain be a different type of Republican and help himself with the base? Simple. Throw Ted Stevens under the bus.

As the party leader, McCain should be unafraid to set an example for other Republicans, particularly because of his vocal stands on campaign finance and his previous clashes with Stevens. If McCain calls on Stevens to resign, and Stevens steps down, McCain looks the guy who did it. If Stevens doesn't resign, McCain looks like a maverick, and differentiates himself from a corrupt Republican and politics as usual.

Stevens stepping down is an unalloyed good for the party. Blasting him is good with the media and independents. The only reason not to do it is harming his relationship with other Republican Senators, but it's not like we're going to be in the majority next year anyway. As far as McCain goes, this should be a win-win.

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Comments

This gets at a larger point

This gets at a larger point I've been thinking about for a while.  Since the scandals that helped do us in in 2006, I don't think the party or its candidates have been vocal enough in condemning corruption, not only on the part of elected officials, but in the private sector as well. 

On the government side, I think we need to be more aggressive in standing against corrupt individuals regardless of party, or how electorally or financially beneficial they've been in the past.  The only reason the Democrats, whose entire party apparatus is based in various levels of graft and corruption (ahem, unions, unions, unions) have any success in pitching themselves as a reform or good government party is the fact that the news is awash in Republican scandal.  We're the ones who are supposed to be keeping government honest, and not be seduced by the opportunity to abuse taxpayers' trust and pocketbooks.

As far as the private sector goes, I don't think Republicans speak loudly enough on corporate scandals, probably because many confuse "free market" with "pro-business," but there's no reason when an Enron or a Countrywide comes along that we shouldn't be shouting from the rooftops for the heads of those who try to cheat the market and the law by cooking books and engaging in shady practices.  By all means, deregulate, cut corporate tax rates, push trade agreements to open new markets for our businesses, but when it comes to malfeasance, we should be the ones calling for aggressive law enforcement. 

Given my career pedigree I'm about as free market and deregulatory as they come, but there's a difference between government not impeding markets and government aggressively enforcing the law, or politicians standing up against corruption. 

 

 Tom, that is a great post.

 Tom, that is a great post. You should start your own blog. This one doesn't have your guts.

Clean out the stables or the voters will do it

5 rating  & agreement. We absolutely have to own up to mistakes, whether events or failed fellow legislators, or voters do it instead.

The McCain campaign probably doesn't want to cause more base problems than they already have (see: enthusiasm gap). But you can substantively be a "different kind of Republican" in a DeMint/Coburn/anti-corruption type of way, while using the terminology as a code word to moderates and independents.

I don't know of a single conservative activist who is pro-corruption. We might be "Leave our guy alone!" types, but only if they are being unfairly picked on (eg like Newt was in mid-1990s over phony ethics complaints). If McCain speaks out against the corruption and lives up to it, all the better.

The one thing troubling about the indictment is the fact that it is a lying to investigators charge. This is too close to the phony Plame related perjury charge against scooter libby or what they sicced on Martha Stewart. What's the underlying crime? But it seems that just as DeLay had to resign eventually over an indictment that was mostly tossed later, so too will he have to retire (hey, he's 84) and address these issues in retirement.

Consider it this way: People in the private sector get fired for a heck of a lot LESS than a Federal indictment!  We dont understand the coddling, and we know life aint fair - I had to let people go who were good simply because we had a RIF # to hit and 'tag you're it". So a simple statement that says "This indictment prevents Stevens from effectively serving and he should leave office." is simple and understood. I dont agree with 'blasting him' or twisting the knife, just get him, for the good of others, to leave his office and let another take it on.

 

 

 

Agreed

a) Stevens doesn;t have a national constituency, he is strictly a DC player

b) AK is only 3 EV's and worth the very limited risk

c) We can then wrap unseemly Democrats (Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick, for starts) around Obama's neck since golden boy only can throw bitter working stiffs under the bus, not his political allies.

d) This is the best way to rekindle the lost spirit of 2000 and get some serious earned press instead of press ops which are not getting any coverage outside the ADI they are held in

You are mistaken.

This sword only cuts one way - against Republicans. It's absurd to think that people will vote GOP if it's seen as less corrupt than the Democrats. For one thing, it's already seen that way. Democratic corruption never, ever, hurts them.

 

your posts only cut one way

that we are doomed no matter what. So why should we pay attention on this one?

You posts only cut one way

That we should blindly support Republicans. (Except those Southern Baptists that you and your liberal friends there in CT detest.)

 

So why why should we pay any attention to your routine cheerleading for the left-wing of the GOP? How does that not get us to the exact same place the Dems are taking us?

 

I look forward to your usual thoughtless response.

 

Only you could logically equate two inconsistent concepts

"throwing a republican under the bus' and "blindly supporting republicans" 

Re; "thoughtless response"..... you do own a mirror?,.... dont cha?

Right.

 Bush was actually less different than McCain is.

I guess that's a diplomatic way of saying "Bush was not as left wing as McCain is".

 

How can McCain be a different type of Republican and help himself with the base?

What will it take for people to understand that McCain does not want to get right with "the base"?

Sigh.

Stevens stepping down is an unalloyed good for the party.

What, because losing Senate seats to the Democrats is an unalloyed good?

Face it, Stevens is starring in a movie now

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112818/

Sorry folks, I'm a "reality based conservative"

Stop twisting and dodging.

Do YOU think that it's an "unalloyed good" that the GOP has tossed away another Senate seat?

Stop trying to suck up to Ruffini and try to answer the question.

 

The seat is already gone if Stevens sticks it out

Last time I checked Conrad Burns, Don Sherwood and John Sweeney were ex-officeholders. Why is this gonna be any different? I'm not wavin the pom-poms and pretending otherwise.

Forget Stevens....

Senator McCain is the nominee, whether we like it or not, so let's move on from that debate because it's pointless....

While I think the suggestion that McCain should throw Stevens under the bus is a valid one, given McCain's positioning over the last six months and the backlash he has seen, not just from "the base" but from the "left-leaning" side of the party too...I don't think it's a wise one.

Most of us read, write, and comment on these blogs because we care and we're looking for a way to participate in the debate and maybe even do some good....and it's no secret that a huge percentage of us really don't like McCain, but we're going to support him now through November because the alternative is much, much worse.  But the point I'm trying to get at is that if we're start encouraging McCain to throw Stevens under the bus - I fear that he will be alienating EVERYONE in the party even more.

Personally, I will just receive it as another annoying thing that McCain is doing/saying.  His campaign finance crusade has proven to be impractical and actually harmful in a lot of ways....he has thrown a lot of people under the bus unnecessarily (granted, mostly lobbyists, but they aren't all evil)...he has made a joke out of his campaign, firing every FREE top and intelligent advisor he had....he prides himself on being a "maverick."

I think McCain just needs to stay out of the Stevens debate.  Throwing negative statements his way is not going to send a message to swing voters, it's just going to bug "the base" even more, and it's going to further amplify the sad state the GOP is in right now.

You don't understand...

...the GOP is in its sad state precisely because we, as fiscal conservatives, have been voting for the guy we don't like simply because we believe the alternative is much, much worse. It is this kind of  thinking that has lead to the destruction of the political underpinnings of our Republican Party. As long as we blindly follow this course of action, like lemmings running towards the cliff, we can expect no better.

It is time we wise up and understand, as a politically mature person, our first obligation is to the political principles we believe in, not to a political party that puts winning, period,  at all costs, over principle. As I have stated before in this forum, this silliness about the alternative being much worse is for political suckers, not political leaders.

ex animo

davidfarrar

 

Ideals vs go for the best we can get

the GOP is in its sad state precisely because we, as fiscal conservatives, have been voting for the guy we don't like simply because we believe the alternative is much, much worse

Ah, the evil of two lessers!

It is time we wise up and understand, as a politically mature person, our first obligation is to the political principles we believe in, not to a political party that puts winning, period,  at all costs, over principle.

Yes, its time to end the Battered Conservative Syndrome. But do principles dictate going to GREATER of two evils in a general election? Throwing up hands? Hardly. The problem is there never is an ideal candidate.  The right answer is to fix these things in the primaries to get the best guy to represent the party, and the problem simply was that this cycle we did not have a strong enough consensus conservative candidate for President. We got McCain. Water under the bridge. We run with the candidate who was picked.

Things are far from ideal, but Conservatives are not Utopians, or shouldnt be, so it's not the conservative thing to run off into a 3rd party pipedream. (see my article on the folly of the LP.) Here's food for thought:

http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2008/07/ideal-candidate.html

The fact is that the best we can get in the next 4 years is McCain. He's the best choice we've got. YMMV on whether that is 'good enough', but on taxes, judges, Iraq, war on terror, life, racial preferences, spending/earmarks/pork, funding/defunding leftwing special interests, gays in military, and defending America overall, McCain is far better than Obama. Even on immigration, Obama has managed to out-extreme McCain with his support for drivers licenses for illegal aliens, and his support for massive additions to chain migration.

Bush Is a Different Kind of Republican

 Patrick, ref your comment about Bush running as a "different kind of Republican" in 2000 but turning out to be not so different, I would argue that Bush is most definitely a different kind of Republican.  He has presided over the most sweeping expansions of government and increased rates of spending since the days of LBJ and Nixon; he and Rove "rebranded" the GOP as the party of Big Government, Big Spending, Big Religion and the Nanny State party that would not only supervise your personal life but also manage your relationship to God.  He is a different kind of Republican all right, maybe not different from Tom DeLay, but most definitely different from Reagan and Goldwater.

Nanny-state Libs still the winners at regulating personal lives

I won't dispute that Bush, despite multiple tax cuts, has been a big spender. That has hurt the GOP brand and must be fixed. But this aspect of branding of Bush GOP I take great issue with:

"Big Religion and the Nanny State party that would not only supervise your personal life but also manage your relationship to God"

That strikes me as a phony secularist liberal meme that has little or no connection to reality.

Bush has done nothing for 'big religion' except  express support for faith, prayer, and worship at a personal level (oh the horror) and open the door for faith-based services support (its some amount but smaller than eg the money we waste on ethanol). But the $40 billion in added Federal education spending - all for secular public schools, none for vouchers. and my relationship with God? Completely UNmanaged and UNsupervised by any GOP or political or state entity.

Meanwhile:  We continue to see the "Fairness Doctrine" and Campaign-finance-regulation-happy Democrats are much much more willing to regulate what religious groups do than the Republicans. Local liberals in our city want to force the catholic hospitals to provide abortions and contraceptive services, against their moral values, and you have the liberals clamoring to shut down adoption agencies who dare to limit adoption to wholesome married would-be Moms and Dads (and I believe have succeeded in California). And you have the continued march of secularism in school backed by $400 billion in annual spending. And while doing that, the liberals begrudge the tiny pittance of sex ed that is going to abstinence programs. The Libs think that is 'wasted' and want to divert it back to the condom-on-banana sex ed programs. Usually that phobic 'the GOP are regulating personal life' is an overstated rewrite of 'how dare they have moral values against certain sex acts'.

Nope, the NannyStatists on the Left have been lapping the nanny-state forays by the GOP even when the GOP was in power, and now Nanny-state Liberals interference in our personal lives is accelerating with Democrat majorities: Smoking bans, regulating our home water use (in our lib-run city no water shortage just 'its good foryou' attitude, you only get to water lawns 2 specific days a week even if your lawn is dying due to it), Goronic restrictions on energy (Austin plans to require expensive energy audits anytime you sell your home, and wants to force energy use down), attacks on fast food restaurants with nanny-state taxation and labelling, and the religo-phobic attempts to stamp out public expressions of faith (suing valedictorians who dare mention Jesus, etc.).

Nanny-state Libs are still the winners at regulating personal lives.

 

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