July 12, 2002
More on Kerry-McCain 2004

A lot of people have commented on this earlier post which speculated about a John Kerry-John McCain Democratic ticket for President in 2004. People, this is the political equivalent of pretending to be the general manager of your favorite sports team. We may as well debate about the guys who call into radio sports-talk shows and say things like "What if the Royals traded Neifi Perez for Miguel Tejada? Do you think they could get in the wild card race then?" It's just sound and fury.

That said, there are a couple of things to address. One theme in the comments, a theme I've seen elsewhere as well, is that the Democrats must be really desperate to win in 2004 to consider letting a RINO like John McCain on the ticket. Well, yeah, of course they're desperate to win in 2004. They damn well better be desperate to win in 2004, just as the Republicans were desperate to win in 2000. When a party doesn't feel at least a little bit of desperation (the corporate weasel-speak that I'd use here is "a sense of urgency"), they nominate guys like Michael Dukakis. (When voters don't feel that sense of urgency, they cast their ballots for Ralph Nader.) You better believe I want the Dems to figure out who has the best chance to oust Team Bush in 2004.

Yeah, but McCain doesn't believe in all the things that Democrats believe in, I hear you cry. Sure, but so what? The only potential candidate who believes in everything I do is me, and I ain't running in 2004. I've long since accepted the fact that whoever I punch the chad for in an election is a compromise of some sorts. McCain likes vouchers and has a pro-life voting record? I'll weight that against what I perceive to be his positives, as well as the pros and cons of any alternatives, and I'll consider his odds of helping a ticket win versus someone else's, and make my choice. What's so hard about that? It's not like you Bush voters haven't had to make compromises, unless of course you supported steel tariffs, McCain-Feingold, the farm bill, and the Kennedy education bill. Are you going to change your vote in 2004?

And if McCain wants this, he'll have to make compromises, too. He can start by saying "Though I personally oppose abortion, I no longer think the state should prevent a woman from getting one." Again, it's not like he'll be the first or only politician to ever do such a thing for a prize like the Oval Office. Back in the 1960s there was a Houston congressman who was so progressive on issues of contraception that his nickname was "Rubbers". In a subsequent Presidential primary, he derided an opponent's plan to balance the budget while cutting taxes and increasing defense spending as "voodoo economics". Needless to say, that was Poppy Bush, and he changed his tune on both subjects pretty quickly when he was approached about costarring with Reagan in 1980.

Sure, the True Believers may never fully accept McCain as a Democrat, just as they never accepted Poppy Bush as a conservative Republican. Someone would have to convince them that the alternative of four more years of Dubya is worse. It wouldn't be easy, and in fact I'd bet that a Kerry-McCain ticket would draw spirited opposition in the primary. They'd have to make their case, which I think they'd be able to do, that not only will they ably represent the issues of their supporters, they're also the ticket with the best chance to ever be able to represent those issues.

In the comments to Rob's post, August J. Pollack suggests that the legal issues of divvying up federal campaign funds when there's a two-party ticket involved would bring the whole thing to a screeching halt. While I agree that this would be a legal nightmare, the answer is obvious - McCain would have to switch parties first. Like I said, if he wants it he'll do what it takes.

Finally, a commenter named Zizka thinks that McCain is pulling a fast one on us liberal suckers, and that once in power he'd revert to his previous conservative ways. That's an interesting thought, but I think it's way too deep a position for McCain to take. If he wanted to screw liberals, he could have sucked it up, made nice to Bush, and helped push Bush's agenda through Congress.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 12, 2002 to The making of the President

There's oil nearby, just about great caviar-and-cheese fests like the end of the answer would be "Not much" Kerry and his patriotism. Wel.

Let's talk about compassionate conservatism and what I believe, and the NAACP should en have tax exempt status anymore I don't need convincing. I used to be represented mainly by o political party? That's a legitimate question. (Applause.)

Posted by: Elena Markov on August 2, 2004 1:55 PM