McCain Shuns the Rovian Strategy

10 03 2008

Each election embraces change of some sort, albeit some a lot more than others. As the Republican presumptive nominee, Senator John McCain will face the daunting task of trying to unify the conservative base around him just as the Republican coalition is crumbling. Limited government and low-taxers fighting are fighting with centrists who want to make peace with welfare state. Evangelical voters from the wing are dueling with the more pro-business libertarian wing. Neo-cons duking it out with isolationists. Populists shouting down the blue dog elite.

In a flatting profile of McCain for the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza probed these waring factions and their various beefs with one another. In a moment of rebuke and bluster, McCain sought to underscore his intent to campaign as a different kind of Republican, implying that rallying the base will not be chief priority.

On the ride to New York with Giuliani, as McCain talked about his plan for the general-election campaign, he seemed to be saying something different. In effect, he was arguing, along with Gingrich and others, that the era of Karl Rove was over. “The old strategy of just going to certain states and solidifying the base—I don’t think that works anymore,” he said, adding, “Not only that, but I think it would be boring.”

Boring indeed. I would hate to be force to sit through another election where the Rs apply their 35 state strategy against the Ds 20. This is partially why I look forward to an Obama-McCain match up in the fall. Neither candidate is especially popular with their respective party bases, but each one prides himself in their cross over appeal. More states would be in play in that kind of a contest and the Dems would be in a much better position to create a Reagan like realignment of the electoral map in the process than they would with Hillary at the top of the ticket.

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