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Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Turn out the lights and say goodnight, Johnny: McCain, done like dinner

Dean Barnett picks up on the bombshell of the day at Hugh's site. The bombshell in question comes from The Hill. According to the Hill, and supposedly Tom Daschle's book (which I think the audience of Air America are the only ones to have read it; all 12 of them) John McCain was going to pull a Jim Jeffords way back when, even before Jeffords did:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.) famously announced his decision to become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions.In interviews with The Hill this month, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and ex-Rep. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) said there were nearly two months of talks with the maverick lawmaker following an approach by John Weaver, McCain’s chief political strategist.

Democrats had contacted Jeffords and then-Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) in the early months of 2001 about switching parties, but in McCain’s case, they said, it was McCain’s top strategist who came to them.

At the end of their March 31, 2001 lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Bethesda, Md., Downey said Weaver asked why Democrats hadn’t asked McCain to switch parties.Downey, a well-connected lobbyist, said he was stunned.“You’re really wondering?” Downey said he told Weaver. “What do you mean you’re wondering?”

“Well, if the right people asked him,” Weaver said, according to Downey, adding that he responded, “The calls will be made. Who do you want?” Weaver this week said he did have lunch with Downey that spring, pointing out that he and Downey “are very good friends.” He claims, however, that Downey is grossly mischaracterizing their exchange: “We certainly didn’t discuss in any detail about the senator’s political plans and any discussion about party-switchers, generically, would have been limited to the idle gossip which was all around the city about the [Democrats’] aggressive approach about getting any GOP senator to switch in order to gain the majority.

Nothing more or less than that.”Downey said Weaver is well aware that their discussion was much more than typical Washington chit-chat.“Within seconds” of arriving home from his lunch with Weaver, Downey said he was on the phone to the most powerful Democrats in town. One of the first calls he made was to then-Senate Minority Leader Daschle.

“I did take the call from Tom [Downey],” Daschle said in an interview. “It was Weaver’s comment” to Downey that started the McCain talks, he added.

Daschle noted that McCain at that time was frustrated with the Bush administration as a result of his loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 Republican primary.

Daschle said that throughout April and May of 2001, he and McCain “had meetings and conversations on the floor and in his office, I think in mine as well, about how we would do it, what the conditions would be. We talked about committees and his seniority … [A lot of issues] were on the table.”

Those last two paragraphs are key. First, McCain's dislike of the president, still boiling over from South Caroline in 2000, and secondly the shop talk behind the scenes of what McCain would get if he switched parties. This is devastating to the Maverick, and such a revelation could very well hurt him, which is probably why he's having such a rough go of this early on. Rudy is sucking up all of his oxygen because not only is he taking away from the moderates, but a great deal of the social conservatives are, right now willing to overlook and "forgive" him for a couple of issues they wouldn't normaslly do so on. The conservatives (whether they be middle of the road, social, 'hawks, or fiscal) can see in Rudy things that appeal to them.

They don't see that in McCain anymore.

Hugh has said it best, and I'll continue to push it. John McCain is a good American, but he's a terrible senator and a lousy Republican. Starting way back in 2001, we can see his first act of spite fired across the bow with McCain-Feingold. (TY for trimming some excess off the First Amendment, Johnny.)

In 2003, he argued over the administration about the troop levels in Iraq, and even though he campaigned for the president's reelection, he made it a point in front of almost every camera and microphone to disagree with the president's strategy on the war during the campaign. (Nothing says "I'm for you" more than trying to cut them off at the knees, eh Johnny?)

And during Campaign 2004, there was the neverending drone about John Kerry attemtpting to court McCain as his veep; a fact McCain never denied, nor did he refuse to take the calls. (Sleeping with the enemy, Johnny?)

The infamous Gang of 14 deal, which as far as Marcie and I are concerned will ALWAYS be his legacy in the Senate, severely underminded the president's authority to nominate whomever he chose to federal offices. In this case, federal judges, and that deal kept in place an unconstitutional filibuster against said nominees. (Forced a few to take one for your ego, eh Johnny?)

Last but certainly not least, his attachment to Ted Kennedy's ill-fated immigration reform bill, which is anything but reform, and all about granting a form of "amnesty light" to the 12 to 14 million illegal aliens here in America right now. In one of our final posts over at our old TownHall site I picked up on the story about McCain and Kennedy going their separate ways. This is obviously a ploy as the questions are getting a bit hard for him on the stump trail, but I doubt his views have changed. and while this may seem as though he's come to his senses, that's the furthest thing from the truth. (A leopard doesn't change it's spots in a month's time, Johnny.)

Dean and I aren't the only ones on this story. Allah weighs in with this:

Honestly, the blockquote doesn’t do it justice as I had to omit further corroborating quotes by another Democrat, former Rep. Tom Downey. You’ll simply have to read the whole thing. It boils down to whether you take a bunch of Democrats’ words over McCain’s: they have an interest in knocking him out of the race, but do they have an interest in knocking him out now? The longer he’s in, the more damage his oppo researchers can do to Giuliani and Romney. And the quicker he’s out, the more easily his fundraisers can transition to another candidate. If they’re making this all up, it would have made more sense to drop it six months from now.

Which makes me think they’re not making it up.

Rudy’s and Romney’s people are surely working the phones as we speak. If there’s anyone else on the Democratic side who can corroborate this — and there must be if it’s true — they’ll find him. And if they can get him to talk, which is a big if given what I’ve just said about the timetable, I think J-Mac’s done.

And Captain Ed, the eminent blogger extraordinnaire who broke this first, adds this:

However, there is another independent, if indirect, corroboration. Cusack reports that Chafee was another live target of this recruiting effort at the time -- and Chafee confirmed it to Cusack. Also, John Edwards reportedly played a key role in the negotiations with McCain, and The Hill confirmed it with an anonymous source "close to Edwards".

If true, this would effectively end McCain's presidential bid. He already has trust issues with Republicans, and this will do nothing but cause them to reject him entirely. However, the people who sourced this story have plenty of motivation to derail McCain, including Edwards, who thinks he may run against McCain in the general election. The principals tell completely conflicting stories, and the nature of the issue almost ensures that no independent proof one way or the other could exist. I'm betting this is nonsense.

I trust Captain Ed's instincts, but given McCain's track record of backroom dealing, stab-in-the-back politics to the conservative movement and the GOP base, it wouldn't surprise me if the flirtation was there. Like Allah said, there's a lot more in the Hill piece that's been cited. I suggest readers peruse that carefully, and understand that the story may definitely be true. And if it is, Allah's right: Romney's and Rudy's teams are beating the bushes to find anyone to corroborate the allegation. If they do, Johnny's done like dinner. Stick a fork in him.

Publius II


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