There seems to be very little doubt now that Senator John McCain is in the driver’s seat, if not almost assured of the Republican nomination for president. Thdave_mccain_2
With Giuliani about to drop out, before Super Tuesday, and with only Governor Romney left as a serious challenger the conclusion does seem clear. But in politics, as they say, anything can happen and often does. To quote old Yogi Berra, "It ain’t over until it’s over." And since Governor Huckabee plans to stay in the race through next Tuesday he will likely take more votes from Romney than from McCain.

The two debates this week, one tonight and the other Thursday evening, will obviously be crucial to the Super Tuesday voting. This is the one window of opportunity that both Obama and Romney
Romney have to create new momentum. (Obama already has considerable momentum, the question comes down to this: "Is it enough?")

Will Senator McCain be able to attract the most conservative members of his party? (He did very well among evangelical voters in Florida, which tells me this vote is not monolithic at all.) Again, who knows? If Senator Clinton is the nominee of the Democrats then I think the answer is a strong yes. If it is Obama I think the story could be very, very different. I have long argued that Obama has a serious shot at the nomination. I still think we could be shocked on Super Tuesday now that John Edwards has dropped out of the race. Obama is running an impressive campaign and team Clinton is still prone to injecting all kinds of foolishness into a political race. (They are "old school" in their approach and this might work in securing the nomination. Then they will have to adopt a new strategy to win in November.) Polling data this morning shows a phenomena that I have been looking at for some time. Lots of women, mostly white but not totally, and a lot of lower income people, people who earn under $50,000 and have no college education, vote heavily for Senator Clinton. Hillary
Obama, on the other hand, appeals to the young, the affluent and the highly educated within his party. Go figure. I think again this underscores the hunger among many thoughtful people, both liberal and conservative, for a new face and a new leader with new ideas. Conservatives simply look at the voting record of these two Democrats and don’t get the very real differences in their style and approach to leadership and the new challenges that face America.

Dick Morris, who has no love loss for the Clintons, has explained in a column that he wrote today why he believes that only Senator McCain can beat Senator Clinton in the general election. I am of the opinion that no one can beat Barrack ObamaObama_and_leiberman_3
if he is chosen, but then I am an amateur in this business and what do I really know. Remember, I have said over and over that I am a "political junkie" who simply enjoys the whole process regardless of who you like or don’t like. I am big on democracy and like the whole business of we the people choosing our leaders. I also think Americans, in their collective gut, want to change the party in power in the White House this year but John McCain can still appeal so broadly that he could be exactly what the Republicans really need, which is the argument Dick Morris makes if you check out the article linked above.

I still stand amazed at the level of hostility that the far right feels toward John McCain. I find it curious that the radio talkers, who claim so much influence in these elections over the past eight years, have expressed their disdain for Senator McCain over and over and yet he keeps winning, and he wins a good bit of the conservative vote in spite of them. These same talkers seem to think they have a lot of influence with people. They now want to say that they do not. They can’t have it both ways, at least in my estimation. Michael Medved and Bill Bennett, who have proven to be far more reasonable about all of this, have noted that this election may move some of these far right talkers to new issues and to new ways of engaging their audience. I sure hope so. I confess that the reactions of Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham make me want to never be known as a conservative. Vote
It is, as is so often the case, a label that may have lost its real meaning in the popular culture. Senator McCain may be redefining the political moment in ways that only time will tell. Some think he will prove to be a Bob Dole in this election, losing easily to a Clinton. It will be interesting to see. His appeal is plainly not to those who embrace these right wing talkers. And since Republicans alone voted in Florida yesterday it would appear the party is pulling back from going further to the right when you put his votes and those of Mayor Giuliani together, neither of whom appeals to the far right at all.

For the Church the question remains: Can we engage each other over the next nine months without polarizing one another and dividing our congregations over partisan politics? I, for one, long for a campaign where "church" identity is not central to the campaign.

We need to talk about secularism, moral issues, judges, abortion and the real role of religion in the public square but we can do all of that without the far left and far right turning this into another  "culture war" over religion.
Think about the very term "culture war." In a war you have winners and losers. You have casualties and victors. You have body counts and celebrations. In the Church you should have brothers and sisters. Some will differ over this issue or that and often for good reasons. Let us keep this all in perspective as we discuss the issues and then vote.

Related Posts


  1. jls January 30, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I agree that Obama’s popularity stems from hunger for new leadership and fresh ideas. His campaign has been inspirational but not substantive. Will someone please tell me what his new ideas are? These young, affluent and educated voters who support him seem to love their own idealized vision of Obama more than the candidate himself.

  2. Gene Redlin January 30, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    McCain’s performance in the Debate tonight on CNN was terrible. He was slippery and looked un credible.
    I shudder to think of him in the white house.
    Romney looked only a tiny bit better, a little like a deer in the headlights.
    Huckabee was top gun tonight. He gave cogent solid answers and was inspiring in every way.
    If we elect McCain or Hillary there won’t be much difference. McCain Clinton isn’t a contest it’s a ticket.
    I’m very discouraged as a republican.

  3. Adam S January 31, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    JLS-Obama is suffering from too many people concerned with his being a muslim. He has lots of innovative ideas. But the press mostly wants to cover horse races and name calling and not ideas. If you look you will find them.

  4. jls January 31, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Hi Adam: I watched some of tonight’s debate and could detect only the most trivial of differences between Obama and Clinton. Even their styles were similar tonight. I have never believed Obama was a Muslim, and most of his supporters do not believe this either. My befuddlement concerns these “new ideas” claimed by his supporters, not his detractors. Please let me know what these new ideas are.
    And I must agree with Gene about McCain. In last night’s debate, he seemed petty, vindictive, self-righteous and slippery. I really do want to be open-minded about McCain, given that he is likely to be the Republican nominee. But the more I see of him, the less I like him.

  5. Chris Kelly February 1, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Indeed, the difference between Democratic and Republican candidates usually gets smaller and smaller as the election year progresses. By November, you won’t be able to distinguish their positions on anything except (maybe) abortion.
    But don’t be discouraged, Gene. Check out Ron Paul. He’s a genuine Conservative, the likes of which hasn’t been seen for a long time in Washington.

  6. Jim H. February 4, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    I commented on an earlier posting about my experience in Washington with Senator McCain and his notorious tirades.
    This Washington Post article demonstrates strongly why many Republicans who know him well are very concerned about McCain in the White House:
    John — how strongly should this be considered from a Christian perspective? Isn’t self control something that should be highly valued in a President?

  7. John H. Armstrong February 4, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    I do not think McCain lacks self-control but rather shows deep emotion that sometimes crosses the line. He has, admittedly, struggled with a temper but then so have many “great” men down through history. (This is not to say he is a “great man” but simply to make a point.) He has also shown great restraint in recent years, according to the unofficial biographer Robert Timberg in his helpful book, John McCain: An American Odyssey, which glosses nothing in McCain, good or bad.

  8. John H. Armstrong February 4, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    It truly amazes me, and I am not telling anyone who to vote for at all, that some people think there is no difference between Senators Clinton and Obama, and Senator McCain, at least on the basic issues. McCain has been consistently against abortion and has voted for judges that uphold the Constitution on this point. Does that count for nothing? Both Clinton and Obama have promised to restore partial-birth abortion as soon as possible, thus NARAL endorsed Obama and will support Clinton if she is the nominee.
    Further, McCain has openly supported spending cuts and tax cuts (he links them and thus his view is often misrepresented) and runs on making the Bush tax-cuts (which he did oppose as we all should know by now) permanent.
    Michael Medved, a voice for reason on the right, today ran a very funny piece on the fast spreading virus on the right known as “MDS,” or McCain Distress Syndrome. He then spent his hour on why the right is missing the point about McCain and why he is popular.
    There are reasons to oppose McCain if you do not like his votes and approach but please, please, do not fall into the trap of saying that he and Senators Clinton and Obama are essentially the same. Not one of them would agree and neither should anyone else who is fair with the facts.

  9. John H. Armstrong February 4, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    I concur with Adam that Obama has ideas and the Clinton campaign is doing all it can to argue he has none and she is the only Democrat with ideas. This is arguable nonsense.
    O’Reilly, whom I almost never watch, argued this evening that “We do not know enough about Obama since he has only been in the Senate for two years.” This is a ludicrous argument since Obama has written a book, The Audacity of Hope, in which he articulates a great deal of his position on a lot of issues. You can get a clear sense of how he leads and why if you read him at all.
    I am not endorsing him either but please do not argue that he is without a clue when he is a very bright man with some very clear views on a lot. This is simply bad politics.

  10. John H. Armstrong February 4, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Ron Paul has some very appealing economic arguments. Beyond that he is an isolationist who thinks our best defense is to come home and do little else but build walls around America.
    Pat Buchanan holds virtually the same view thus he endorsed him today openly. Paul might force a better economic debate in the future and I for one hope that he does, but he cannot win.
    To suggest that the Democrats and Republicans offer no real differences come November is so weak Chris as to be a sad counter position in place of a substantial argument. They have both made major mistakes and often sound alike, at times, but all you must do is look at the Supreme Court to see a huge difference the parties will make for the future. Then look at Iraq and the present military policies there and then look at tax-cuts and then at a litany of other important social and political arguments that shape the direction of our country politically.
    By the way, the most important contribution to the country is the Church being salt and light, not who wins in November. As I have said before “Messiah will not arrive on Air Force One.” This being noted elections are an important time for serious public dialog.

  11. ColtsFan February 5, 2008 at 12:13 am

    I agree with John Armstrong that Hillary Clinton and John McCain are not identical.
    Indeed, they are somewhat different.
    But I, and others I know, will nonetheless stay home in November if McCain is the GOP nominee.
    There are essentials and then there are matters of opinion, and McCain fails the test on some essentials.
    You may find the following article interesting concerning John McCain’s pro-life record:

  12. Chris Kelly February 5, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    “… the most important contribution to the country is the Church being salt and light, not who wins in November.” … which is why I’m not that concerned, and thus carelessly lump them all together as being more-or-less of the same cloth. And it is why I am greatly comforted to be among a very small minority of those supporting an “unelectable” candidate.
    Messiah most certainly will not arrive on Air Force One; perhaps His judgment will. [1Sam 8:19]

Comments are closed.

My Latest Book!

Use Promo code UNITY for 40% discount!

Recent Articles