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The Case for McCain: Climate Change and Campaign Finance Reform (Bumped and Updated)

Friday, January 4, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Former New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass just endorsed John McCain, and explained to Fox News’ John Gibson that John McCain has always stood for the same things. The first two issues cited by Bass? “Climate change,” and “campaign finance reform.” Bass added that Republicans shouldn’t worry that Joe Lieberman’s support of John McCain means that McCain”will be a traitor to Republicans.”

Update:I played the Bass quote to the’s Chris Cillizza. His reaction (full transcript here):

HH: Moments ago on Fox News Channel, Charlie Bass came out, New Hampshire Congressman, former, retired, endorsed McCain. And here’s why he said why. Listen to this:

CB: John McCain is quite different. He’s been very specific now for years about the things that he thinks are important: climate change, campaign finance reform.

HH: You tell me, Chris, is that a Republican agenda, campaign finance reform and climate change?

CC: (laughing) Yeah, I don’t think if John McCain could have picked the issues that Charlie Bass would talk about, he probably would have wanted him to say the war in Iraq.

HH: Yeah.

CC: No, neither of those things are things that really engage the base. In fact, campaign finance reform is downright upsetting to the base of the party. I know a lot of conservatives said they could never be with McCain, simply because the legislation his name was on limits their grassroots organizing abilities. There’s a lot of anger with him in that sort of activist community. And Hugh, to your earlier point, and this is why I think everyone’s saying, and I agree with you about that, “This race is over, McCain is going to beat Romney,” don’t forget there still exists considerable anger within the Republican base. And we may not see it here, we may see it in South Carolina, we may see it in Michigan. But anger about the base with McCain-immigration, campaign finance reform, these are issues that matter a lot to these people. They feel like McCain is not with them, and there remains this lingering sense that McCain is just not one of them. They may not be able to put a finger on it, but he doesn’t fit with them. And you know, who does fit with them? Is it Huckabee? Is it Romney? Is it Fred Thompson? I can’t imagine it’s Rudy Giuliani, but you know, I’m just throwing all the names out there. There is a sense that it’s not McCain. And it is hard to win a Republican primary, as John McCain found out in 2000, when the base isn’t with you.

There’s also this:

HH: In the campaign coverage of today, no one has asked McCain, I haven’t seen it reported, whether or not he will positively swear off matching funds. Matching funds, of course, would doom the Republican Party, because they’re going to get outspent by Obama or Hillary. Have you heard him swear off matching funds, John McCain today, Chris Cillizza?

CC: No, I have not. I’m going to try and hit an event of his after this, and we’ll try and put that to him. Look, we talked about this the last time I was on, Hugh. I agree with you. This is a big issue. You know, McCain, it’s no secret McCain’s fundraising has lagged. And you know, some of that is lost in this coverage about how well he is doing in New Hampshire. But without money, I don’t know how McCain plays in Michigan, I don’t know how he plays in South Carolina, and I certainly don’t know how he plays in Florida, California, Georgia, Illinois, some of these huge states on February 5th. I think that’s…you know, I think we gloss over a lot of things with McCain rising in the polls. It’s a great political comeback story. But remember two things. One is the money, and two is the base, and those are questions he’s going to have to answer.

Finally, per my earlier post today about the markets tanking partially in response to the Iowa vote, Larry Kudlow agreed that many in the investor class are very worried about either an Obama or Huckabee canidadacy and reacted accordingly today, though Larry does not agree with me that the investor class is also figuring in that Obama would trounce the 72-year old McCain.

See also Bob Siegel’s blog on his fellow pastor, Mike Huckabee.

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