Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Republican civil war - Tom DeLay excommunicates John McCain

In this clip from a Fox News interview, Tom DeLay, the notorious former House Majority Leader, reads McCain out of the Republican Party (via TPM). According to DeLay, "McCain has done more to hurt the Republican party than any elected official I know of" ... and then he goes on to give details. In the process, he rattles off several of the more admirable things McCain has done--though he doesn't mention McCain's opposition to torture, which has enraged some other right-wing McCainiacs.

Watch the video HERE

This is a nice illustration of the phenomenon of McCain Derangement Syndrome that pervades large sectors of the Republican far right. As Gerard Baker of the London Times put it yesterday:
I sense that the syndrome says something about what has gone so badly wrong with the conservative movement in the past ten years. It has become so intolerant and exclusive that once orthodox views are now regarded as heresy; while views once merely narrow and eccentric are now prerequisites for membership.
It appears that none of McCain's efforts during the past year to mend his fences with the Republican hard right (and some of those efforts have amounted to pretty deplorable pandering) has made much impression on these ultras.

(Then again, given that this public denunciation is coming from the widely hated and now-disgraced Tom DeLay, maybe it's a cunning ploy to boost McCain's popularity? It certainly makes McCain sound good.)

=> I would never vote for McCain for President myself, but he is certainly the only Republican candidate of serious presidential stature, and he makes all the other Republican candidates look like bad jokes by comparison. Of course, for some people the great danger of McCain is that he might be the only potential Republican candidate who could actually win in November. I recognize that this is a plausible concern.

On the other hand, (1) despite McCain's victory in the South Carolina Republican primary (where he seems to have relied on non-Republican voters to come out ahead of Huckabee), I still don't believe the Republicans will actually nominate him; (2) barring some earth-shaking development, it seems likely that either Clinton or Obama could beat any Republican candidate in November, including McCain; and (3) actually rooting for any of the other candidates in the Republican pack, in the expectation that he will then get creamed in November, is also a potentially scary gamble. What if something goes wrong, and one of those other guys actually becomes President? A scary thought.

--Jeff Weintraub