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The McCain Exit

Tuesday, July 10, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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The AP’s account of the McCain campaign implosion begins this way:

WASHINGTON (AP) – John McCain jettisoned two top aides Tuesday, the one-time Republican front-runner struggling to right a presidential bid in deep financial and political trouble.

Senator McCain has never really been the front-runner because polls have never bothered to ask likely caucus goers in Iowa or GOP primary voters in New Hampshire.  Indeed, most of the data that led MSMers to think Senator McCain the front-runner polled all registered voters, a measurement of almost no significance even close to a caucus or primary vote, and of zero utility two years before Iowa.While Senator McCain has long been the darling of the Beltway-Manhattan media elite, he never had a serious shot at the Republican nomination after the McCain-created Gang of 14 interfered with a crucially-important-in-the-eyes-of-Republicans attempt to return the judicial confirmation process to its constitutional roots, and perhaps not after the McCain-Feingold assault on the First Amendment.  Because MSM had a narrative that favored both the Democratic-obstruction-saving Gang of 14 and the suppression of speech it did not control, the MSM could never understand how both positions drove a stake through the heart of a McCain candidacy.MSM still don’t understand it.

The reporting concerning McCain is the equivalent of journalistic malpractice:

McCain’s own embrace of politically disastrous positions also contributed to his woes.

He staunchly backed both Bush’s troop increase for the Iraq war, an unpopular conflict with the public but one supported by most Republicans, and the president’s legislation to grant eventual citizenship to millions of illegal immigrations-a measure that has divided the GOP.

Not only is Senator McCain’s staunch support for victory in Iraq his most compelling position among Republican voters, the immigration bill sponsorship came after the senator had already cratered with genuine GOP voters.  Had the reporter noted the 2006 McCain-Kennedy Senate bill, or the senator’s smash-up of the September ’06 agenda in the Senate it would demosntrate at least a passing knowledge of the specifics of the GOP rejection of the Arizona senator’s appeal for his turn at the top of the ticket –but again, that would require shedding the MSM blinders that saw the McCain-Lindsey Graham grandstanding of last fall on the treatment and trial of terrorists bill as just that –grandstanding, and grandstanding of a politically ruinous sort.

MSM agenda journalism doesn’t make any difference to Republican voters, of course, but the AP and other MSMers should have at least a passing concern for accuracy when it comes to the autopsy of the McCain campaign.  If you want an account of what happened –written before it happened– read A Mormon In The White House, which predicted the McCain campaign collapse and gave detailed reasons for this inevitable conclusion.  It isn’t a difficult analysis to make, but for the MSM, it is one impossible to accept because to do so means they have to accept that there are vast  numbers of Americans who really are conservative, who  really do vote their beliefs, and for whom John McCain’s anti-conservative politics and positions could not be redeemed by his personal story of courage and service or by his relentless and correct support for victory in Iraq and the wider war.

Readers have to note, as Rush Limbaugh did this morning, that the three serious contenders for the GOP nomination –Mayor Giuliani, Governor Romney and Senator Thompson– all strongly support the president’s policy in Iraq and in the wider war.Common sense and obvious facts show it cannot be Senator McCain’s support for the invasion of ’03 and his continued support for victory that undid his candidacy.  Every account that suggests or argues that McCain’s support has crumbled because of Iraq is at best ignorant, and at worst the sort of wilfully dishonest reporting that leads the center-right in the country to dismiss the MSM on all matters related to Republican politics, and most matters relating to the war.

What will happen next with John McCain’s campaign?  The money has already dried up, but Senator McCain may take his time exiting though it is possible he will take a hard look at the facts and declare his intent to leave the campaign and focus his energy of the effort to keep the war funded and free fo the defeat-on-a-deadline restrictions Harry Reid is attempting to impose.  The path from presidential candidate to senior leader on the war is easy enough to see, and the Big Three and the GOP would all welcome his leadership, both now and in the next Republican administration. 

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