January 25th, 2008

The fickle political public

Have you noticed how unpopular Bill Clinton has become of late, even with Democrats who formerly were charmed by him? Michael Weiss has.

What’s going on? Most Republicans always hated him, and I must confess I was never especially fond of him. But most Democrats had been pretty loyal till recently, when Bill has planted his foot firmly in his own mouth a few times too often while campaigning on behalf of his wife.

Perhaps he’s such a narcissist that he only warms up to the stump when he’s shilling for himself. Another possibility is that his masculine protective instincts are more highly aroused when it’s his wife on the line instead of himself, and so he gets snarly. Or maybe they’ve decided to do a “bad cop, good cop” bit, with Bill as the bad cop.

Then again, maybe he doesn’t really want Hillary to win the Presidency since he’d have to take a back seat— although it might be gratifying to become the first First Man in history.

Whatever is going on, Democrats seem to have had their fill of Bill, although so far it doesn’t seem to have hurt Hillary too much; she’s still the frontrunner.

This makes the Democratic race for President relatively straightforward and stable compared to the volatile Republicans. Giuliani, once the golden boy touted as the great Republican (although not conservative) hope, has sunk so low even Florida may not be able to revive him, whereas the once-moribund McCain has risen from the ashes to seem the almost inevitable nominee, even though he likewise raises the hackles of conservative true believers.

Why is McCain doing so well? My guess is that he’s the only real contender on either side who seems like a veteran in more ways than one. He’s been around as a nationally known figure in high-profile politics for decades (and not just because he married into it), while the others seem hardly dry behind the ears.

McCain has a sense of humor; he’s fond of saying, “I’m older than dirt, with more scars than Frankenstein.” That sounds self-deprecating, and it is. But it’s also a clever way to emphasize his experience without seeming to brag.

McCain has been through the fire (literally) but he’s still standing. In these uncertain times, that implies a certain reassuring solidity and dependability that belie his maverick status.

19 Responses to “The fickle political public”

  1. James Says:

    Very interesting Neo, I respect Mccain for those very attributes as well, and am confused as to why many Conservatives seem so virulently anti-Mccain.

    Admittedly I have very limited knowledge of republican history in the states, being a young canadian, who just logged on to presidential politics a year ago.

    It seems to me Mccain is the only contender in this campaign that actually embodies a principle other than self-interest. Romney is good on economy but looks to the wind on all other issues. Huckabee is strong on social issues but is irrelevant on foreign policy and economics. Giuliani is strong on foreign policy but carries a lot of moral baggage.

    I won’t even start on the democrats…

    For voters who want a strong principled leader, where else can we turn?

  2. dloye Says:

    I read your comments, and I also have become hopeful that McCain can pull this one out. BUT, I sure would like to know about a VP candidate. It might be important. The presidency ages men fast.

  3. harry9000 Says:

    Juan McCain? If the backhanded NYT endorsement isnt enough, you might want to check McCain’s record on Immigration and 2d Amendment issues for starters.

    If it ends up McCain and Hillary, It would be difficult for me to vote for anyone at all.

  4. Jon Baker Says:

    John McCain is now working with the ” Mexico First” Nationalist Juan Hernandez. He will never get my vote. Neither will Huckabee, who helped get one of the 47 ( forty-seven) Mexican Consulates built in the United States.


  5. gcotharn Says:

    Bill Clinton might never have been elected in an age of blogs and YouTube. He was protected, in the 1990s, by a friendly MSM.

    In present day, when Bill’s routine lies can be analyzed and highlighted, he looks like…. well…. a routine liar. He was only a good liar when the MSM could properly spin and/or bury or ignore his lies.

    And I’m not talking about Lewinski (though Drudge did have to break that story when Newsweek did not pull the trigger). I’m talking about the steady pile of mundane lies Bill Clinton builds and builds and builds in his day by day by day, week by week by week statements. Bill Clinton’s mundane, routine statements convict him as a casual liar. In olden days, when entrapped, Bill could respond with heated emotion. He could count on the MSM to demonize his opponents, and to smooth over his lies. He could bully the MSM if they failed to do their jobs of demonization and protection.

    Today, on the internet, each tiny drama of Bill Clinton falsity can be individually analyzed and publicized. It’s not so easy, anymore, for Bill’s lies to be smoothed over. I do not think he can survive an age of blogs and YouTube. At least, I hope he cannot. I hope Bill Clinton will be revealed for the buffoon he is – and I’m not talking about IQ – I’m talking about Bill’s tendency to paranoia, denial, projection, and general fantasy.

  6. gcotharn Says:

    Regarding McCain:

    I will vote for him if he wins the nomination. Yet, I truly hope he does not win the nomination.

    Sen. McCain neither understands nor believes in free market economics – i.e. the belief that markets determine prices more effectively than smart people appointed by governments. This understanding is the key demarcation between Republicans and Democrats. I sometimes joke that Republicans took economics in high school, while Democrats never did.

    Regarding free martkets, and tax policy, Senator McCain has often uttered straight Democrat talking points, which can be reduced to this: wealthy people – instead of being hard workers who make our nation great – are, instead, big meanies.

    1. McCain-Feingold denies free speech

    2. Sen. McCain seems neither to understand nor to believe in judicial restraint (which is a society-wide tragedy in far more ways than just Roe)

    3. Sen McCain’s immigration bill was an underhanded pretense to a solution, and was so expensively unenforceable that it would have made us worse off than doing nothing at all. Sen. McCain, during the fight over this bill, basically called me a racist for not supporting the bill. Such demagoguery does not reflect well on conservatives – and, in fact, I do not consider Sen McCain to be conservative on very many issues at all.

    4. Sen McCain does not have the proper temperament for the office. Being President is a long slog. You have to let some things roll off your back. Sen. McCain doesn’t have a temperament which lends itself to the office.

    5. Sen McCain was implicated in the Keating 5 scandal. Between that, and his non-ideal temperament, and the dampening effect he has the base of conservative voters: I do not believe Sen. McCain can win a general election. His primary opponents will lay off the Keating 5 info. Hillary will not.

    All that said, I will vote for him, if he wins the Repub. nomination. But I think I will be casting my vote in a losing cause.

  7. Ralph Says:


    I disagree with your statement, “Most Republicans hated him . . .” I really didn’t see much HATE. There was, and is, a lot of disgust, but I never felt the anger and “red rage” toward him that many on the Left appear to have for GWB. Many of the comments about the Right’s “hatred” for Clinton, are, I feel, projection on the part of those on the left.

    Perhaps that is because there was somewhat more objective substance in our reaction to Clinton. He truly did LIE, and often, and I find that disgusting (the Left is just suddenly noticing that,) but it didn’t cause me to HATE him.

    I think that the Left HATES GWB based on some gut level reaction and then has to invent reasons for it. The “Bush lied” meme is a classic example when nothing he said was not also stated my leaders all over the world (including Clinton and Gore).

    I have a VERY low opinion of the Clintons, but I did “see red,” when I think of them.

    Thanks for your always thoughtful blog.

    All the Best,


  8. Terrye Says:

    I like and trust McCain. The hardliners hate him, but like Mikey they hate everything. so far however, their favorite candidates have not survived, so many ranting about Mexicans all the time has limited appeal.

    I will trust the voters to pick the nominee and I will support him in 08. This is no time to act like brats and threaten to take our marbles home.

  9. harry9000 Says:

    “This is no time to act like brats and threaten to take our marbles home.”

    In the meantime its perfectly fair to point out McCains short commings isnt it? Or must the rest of us shut the hell up and except the inevitable?

  10. jon baker Says:

    I do not know what part of the country you live in, but where I live I cannot hardly drive anywhere without seeing Mexican flags on buildings, lawns or on a vehicle. When I was in the military, I raised my hand and swore an oath to defend the United States Constitution. I DID NOT swear to defend the Mexican Constitution, The North American Union or AZTLAN. I take these threats as serious as I do the Jihad threat. If you read the link I posted previouslyyou will see that McCain has allied himself with a former Mexican Government official who has openly stated that the US and Mexico are not two countries, but a single region. He has further stated that the Mexican Government intends to keep the loyalties of Mexicans in the US towards Mexico City, no matter how many generations they are in the US. This is one reason they have their 47 Consulates inside the US. This is also one of the resons the Mexican governent is encouraging dual citizenships with Mexico for new Americans. Many of the “Neo-cons” did not wake up until after 911. What will it take to wake you up to this threat? The Mexican Government is rotten to the core with Corruption and Drug cartels. I know the national media tries to ignore a lot of the things that go on inside Mexico. Here, nearer the border, we do hear about the assasinations and roving drug dealer armies. They are beginning to make assasinations inside of Texas, but the national media ignores it. A merger with Mexico will be like a merger with the mob. We are heading towards a corrupt oligarchy at best.

  11. Danny Lemieux Says:

    Speaking only for myself, Neo, I can’t say that I hated Clinton as much as despised him for being so personally and obviously corrupt an individual. My loathing, however, was tempered by the fact that so many of my fellow American’s could identify with that guy’s corruption that they would elect him twice. That in and of itself was profoundly depressing and made me fear for our future.

  12. Vince P Says:

    I am someone who had contempt for Clinton but not hatred. The character of the Clintons is not hard to detect. During his debate with Bush Sr. it was obvious he was saying anything he could say convictions be damned. The most notable was his attacks on Bush for being close to China. It was obvious to me that Clinton would have no different policy toward China than Bush did. And teh other was Clinton’s statements that Bush Sr was corrupt and that his adminstration (Clinton’s) would be the most ethical in the history of the country.

    Then once in office all the -gates started.

    After the 2nd term election i had grown accustomed to him and did notice that the country didn’t fall apart, so I was beginning to not be so against him but then Matt Drudge posted his story and the allegations of fundraising violations started to pop up..

    These peopel need to be kept from office forever they are corrupt criminals to the core.

    That is not hatred.. That is emotion-less fact.

  13. Matthew M Says:

    In addition to everything gcotharn said about McCain above, he has fallen for the global warming myth. He would cause more damage to freedom as a Republican proponent of statist regulations for every problem (real or imagined) than a Democrat who might be checked by Republicans in Congress.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    McCain’s weakness is similar to Bush’s weaknesses in information warfare.

    McCain could have disassociated himself from Democrat calls for troop raises, because McCain darn well knew the Democrats would only pour more troops into the meat grinder in order to acquire political support, like Johnson did. The Democrats were not interested in winning, but McCain allowed his statements and comments about Bush’s military policy in Iraq to be used to further the cause of “more troops”, even if it had the stamp of Democrat approval, purely because it was politically convenient for the Democrats, if not McCain.

    That and McCain’s retarded belief that you can work with Democrats or anyone else and “legislate” anti-corruption laws that will positively affect politicians. What ends up happening is that politicians corrupt the anti-corruption laws, and make the anti-corruption laws a front for more corruption. Which has happened, but McCain has bigger things to worry about I suppose.

    Because McCain has been in the grid for awhile, he has to work with Democrats. But we’re at war, and you don’t work with your enemies, period. When they want to surrender or turn to your side, then you can work with them, but not until. The Democrats are not a Loyal Opposition, but McCain, like Bush, doesn’t seem to believe that.

    Such beliefs as mine are incompatible with politics, especially Senatorial politics. They have to work with people like Kennedy, regardless of how loathsome or traitorous they are.

    Bush got into this much trouble because he kept listening to the wrong people. McCain shows the same tendencies.

  15. Talkinkamel Says:

    I think the whole Dems’ dropping the Clintons might just come down to this:

    When it comes to Victim status, the first black president trumps the first woman president.

    Jon Baker, yes, McCain’s connection with “Mexico First” Juan Hernandez is going to keep me from voting for him—as well as his other deficienies, such as the fact he really doesn’t support the free market. And, yes, where I live, too, you see the Mexican flag flying all over, we’re overrun with Hispanic gangs (whose members, no matter how many crimes they commit, and their lack of citizenship, never get deported) and racist groups such as La Raza and Mecha have entirely too much influence in the political sphere. This is a real problem, not just ranting about Mexicans per se.

    We’re electing a president, not a pastor. And foreign policy is the president’s sphere. Congress is supposed to handle the domestic stuff, and, with issues like Roe v. Wade, the courts have taken those out of our hands for the moment. Giuliani is the soundest Republican candidate on foreign policy, in my opinion. We’re not going to get a perfect candidate, this election, or any other election; I think Giuliani would be best for the country at this point.

  16. Erik Says:

    I like McCain, but I think he’s not the man for President for many reasons.

    First, he’s too old. I’m not an agist, but I’d rather not have someone as President who probably won’t live through his term. The Presidency aged Clinton, is still aging Bush, and when you exit the gates at 71 or 72, there’s just not that much room to age.

    Second, he’s basically a war-hero democrat. He’s not solidly conservative on economic or social issues. He has a very limited understanding of free markets, and has shown that his views on illegal immigration are one-sided; his views on free speech misguided; and his willingness to raise taxes frightening.

    I’ve said this regarding Obama, as well: Charm is not enough of a reason to vote for a President. McCain’s charm isn’t even that charming. He’s an honorable guy, but that alone is not enough of a reason to vote him into the oval office!

  17. Erik Says:

    Also, I have to say that I also feel Giuliani is the man for the job. I’m a little surprised this blog hasn’t backed Giuliani, as he has the most neoconservative stance of any of the candidates.

  18. Neo-Neocon on McCain « The Daily Elephant Says:

    [...] 2008 by subtlepress on January 28th, 2008 I’m a little disappointed by Neo-Neocon’s positive review of Mr. McCain.  While I can understand praising the war-hero and patriot that McCain most [...]

  19. el gordo Says:

    Giuliani is also the most solid on the economy and is trustworthy on a host of other issues. I have rooted for Rudy all these months but he does not seem to go anywhere. And now the simpletons who kept telling me that he is “not a real conservative” will have to learn to live with McCain. Oh the irony.

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