The Distinguished Gentleman's Comeback
Jennifer Rubin at American Spectator tells us that John McCain is making a comeback:
Pundits tout his “surge” and three national polls place him in second place in the Republican race, albeit well behind Rudy Giuliani. His campaign touts his standing in head to head matchups against Hillary Clinton in key swing states. He faces substantial and potentially crippling financial problems and lags behind four rivals in Iowa, but McCain’s prospects have clearly improved.
What explains the McCain revival?
Rubin lists five answers to that question. Those five reasons include one that is fatally flawed and lack two that are perhaps the most important. The fatally flawed reason for the McCain comeback:
Fifth, “authenticity” is in. Voters looking for an alternative to Giuliani may conclude that Romney is after all too polished and too conveniently and too recently in sync with the conservative base on a list of issues.
Perhaps the quote marks around “authenticity” are telling, because one word I’d never use to describe the Senate’s premier showman is “authentic.” Perhaps it’s authenticity McCain-style?
Authentic? Seriously, the contention that conservatives are willing to condemn Romney’s gradual conversion from liberal positions over a period of years, but willing to accept as “authentic” McCain’s eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute conversion on immigration as proof he should be President is almost laughable. (Leave aside for the moment that this was one of the areas where some of those most opposed to him generally, the limited government conservatives, tended to agree with him.)
Authentic? From Keating Five to “campaign finance reformer,” all while serving in the US Senate is so transparent a sham that it trumps Giuliani and Romney’s conversions from executives of liberal polities to national candidates especially since their supposed changes are at least consistent with the (federalist) Constitution.
Authentic? He’s a man of faith. So faithful he’s not sure if he’s Episcopalian or Baptist. Or maybe it was Methodist. No matter, it wasn’t Catholic or Mormon, though with McCain’s record, his opponents ought to research if he ever claimed to be one of those.
Authentic? No. If McCain insists on pinning his hopes on “Straight Talk”, the media will espose him for the conman he is, though likely not until after the nomination is sewn up.
Because, you see, the McCain comeback, like the initial McCain run-up, is the creature of the Media. John McCain never met a camera he didn’t like and he’ll do whatever it takes to get in front of one. He went too far pushing his liberal causes, squandered his war chest trying to stay on camera and said far too many conflicting things to be seriously taken as authentic or ultimately even to be taken seriously. But he had favors to call in. He’s made great fodder for Tim Russert and his ilk for seven years. Plus, when push came to shove, the media didn’t want to look like a bunch of buffoons for anointing McCain as the man to beat since 2000. When he was polling behind Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, running a three way tie for dead last with Tom Tancredo and Alan Keyes, McCain was still getting as many mentions as the others combined. In fact, the mentions of those candidates moving up in the polls were almost always put in context by calling them “second tier” and comparing them to McCain who, though trailing them, was referred to as “first tier.”
And that, in the final analysis is what may make for a McCain comeback, if there is one. In life, people prefer the devil they know. In politics, it’s the name you know and that’s The Distinguished Gentleman from Arizona’s major strength.
By way of Ten Second News.