ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mitt Leaves and an Analysis of McCain's Prospects

Video of Mitt's speech at CPAC where he announced that he's suspsending is campaign is located here. Text of the important part here:

I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror. If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters... many of you right here in this room... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.

It looks like McCain now has a lock, barring a Huckabee resurgence.

Frankly, I don't think McCain is the strongest candidate to face HillaryTM or the youthful and energized Obama, but the deal may be done.

McCain's biggest weakness?

No, it's not his maverick attacks on conservative principles in pursuit of favorable press.

His biggest weakness is his biggest strength: his stance in the War On Terror.

And unfortunately, the country is not with McCain or the GOP in recognizing that it is the transcendental struggle of our time.

As Rove often pointed out, the best way to attack your opponent is to turn his strength against him (as he did with Kerry's war record in 2004).

His leadership on the Surge is great - but it only really counted back in 2007. By the end of 2008, the Surge will either be a monumental success or a monumental failure.

Either way, it will be difficult for him to run on a strategy which is no longer necessary.

Just as the Brits ousted Chamberlain Churchill after World War II, McCain is unlikely to increase his support because he was right on an issue back in 2007. [ed - Thanks to Monterey John on the correction. Not sure what I was thinking!]

If things continue to go well, the electorate's response will be "Thanks.... Great Job. Now we can worry about (the economy, health care, etc, etc)".

McCain has no strong case to make regarding these issues and will have trouble debating them with conservative, free-market principles because he rarely relies on them - he more often relies on what's best for John "The Maverick" McCain.

If Iraq goes up in flames, the electorate's response will be "You're to blame... it's time for a change."

These are just my personal thoughts, 9 months out from the election. Things certainly can change. But, it's difficult to see how a septuagenarian can compete against a inspiring campaign from Obama (even if Obama's trying to inspire us to become serfs to the federal government).

*** UPDATE ***
The Wall Street Journal has more on Mitt leaving the race here. They also report that Huckabee is fighting on:
The Huckabee campaign said the former Arkansas governor would push on.

"We're still in the race and we're still competing for delegates, and today demonstrates how long and windy to the White House this is," said Chip Saltsman, Mr. Huckabee's campaign manager.
Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (2)
Brian said...

In the military they call that "fighting the last war"

Your exactly right, of course. The question will remain if McCain recognizes this and pivots and instead tries to concentrate on domestic issues (his big weakness). That would leave attacks on him about the war muted. If Kerry had never talked about his Vietnam service, there would have been nothing to attack...

I think McCain is going to need to start talking about "his team" and it should be a team that is favorable to the base. Get Guiliani out on the stump talking about "law and order" with the unstated message that he's the next AG in a McCain administration.

Get a Treasury secretary candidate out there to campaign for making the tax cuts permanent, etc.

I agree about the "youthful" image problem. The answer of course... Get some youth involved in the campaign!

Monterey John said...

It's Saturday evening and I'm listening to Obama at the Virginia Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond. Damn, can that guy talk! He is way beyond good. He is a true orator.

McCain? Not so much. I cringe at the thought of how the debates might go.

But McCain is a man of substance. I'm not about to throw in the towell on this one. He has time to get it together.

The folks need to hear what they don't want to hear about the threats we face. Churchill did that before WWII and people did not listen. I hope McCain can show what the realities are.

Now Saint, it was Churchill the Brits turned out after WWII not Chamberlain :)