Thursday, January 10, 2008

Can McCain Take it?

I don't think McCain is that much of a threat - for one thing we haven't seen Giuliani step up to the plate yet, and Romney certainly isn't out yet either. But after New Hampshire he has gone from being the guy that I wondered why he was sticking it out to being a guy that I think can take it. So that's certainly a move in the right direction, from his perspective.

Today Ken Blackwell has an article on how McCain can take his recent success and translate it to a national victory. In a word, he has to court his base and not forget about them.
Mr. McCain’s advisors cannot make the mistake again of taking the base for granted, casting the senator as the inevitable candidate, telling conservative leaders to get onboard while ignoring the deeply-felt priorities of the party faithful. Some took the base for granted, and then when Iraq fatigue set in it was almost enough to finish him.

That’s because there are several factions of the Republican base that have had terrible relations with the senator. He may be able to win early primaries without them, but if he secures the nomination, he simply must become a candidate they can support to energize them, get them contributing and working, and turning out in big numbers. In other words, he might pull off primaries in a divided field without these things, but he needs them for the general election.
His suggestion? He needs to talk about judicial appointments early and often. Making it clear that he wants to put true conservatives on the bench will sooth their feelings towards him, apparently.

I don't know if that will be enough, given McCains past history of antagonizing the base, particularly on issues like illegal immigration and campaign finance reform. And also given the years of antagonism with the Limbaugh Cohort.

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