Since last night’s results make it increasingly apparent that Sen. John McCain is not only the Republican front-runner but its putative nominee-to-be, here are some thoughts. Exit polls confirm the obvious – that McCain has a lot of work to do to woo conservatives.
Mary Matalin (via KJ Lopez at the Corner) has some concrete ideas for what the McCain campaign can do to make it happen:
A â€œtrust but verifyâ€ strategy for McCain might include:
** announcing in his CPAC speech that he is leaving CPAC and going straight to Newtâ€™s for a comprehensive tutelage on â€œReal Change.â€
** adopting Fredâ€™s immigration plan and Rudyâ€™s tax plan;
** announcing that he would establish a Cabinet-level Domestic Policy Czar who will report directly to him, be housed in the White House, and would would oversee and consolidate all the â€œsoft Cabinets.â€ This would be followed by the announcement that he planned to name Jeb Bush as the czar;
** announcing Ted Olson as attorney general;
** announcing George Allen as secretary of the Treasury;
** recognizing that Romney has made and could put blue states in play, and is relentlessly optimistic about America. Therefore he would install him as RNC general chairman to traverse the country and chatterati shows as the 21st century face of conservatism.
Here’s my initial suggestions for what conservatives should expect from McCain, as a minimum:
1. McCain-Coburn: Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma may be the most credible politician in the GOP, thanks to his no-nonsense, bluntly honest approach to earmarks and federal spending. Coburn is already a McCain supporter. Reagan announced Schweicker ahead of the 76 GOP convention. McCain can put Coborn on the ticket and make him the McCain administration’s tax and budget czar.
2. Reform McCain-Feingold: McCain should admit the First Amendment says Congress shall make NO law regarding freedom of political speech. That means McCain-Feingold must be rewritten as a campaign finance disclosure law, not a campaign speech regulation.
3. Build The Fence: Stop the nonsense and doubletalk. Like Reagan said, a nation that cannot control its border is not a sovereign nation.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more suggestions from the Republican and conservative punditocracy over the coming weeks. But that’s only because it’s crucial for McCain to do some serious wooing of conservatives if the party is going to hold together and have a chance of being energized this November.
Now the only entertainment left in this Presidential primary season is on the Democratic side. To me, it’s clear and simple: If McCain is to be the GOP nominee, Republicans who want to preserve the White House need to be cheering for one Democrat candidate to win and another to lose. The Arizona Senator matches up much better with one than the other, and if you’ve been paying any attention, you should be able to figure out who is who.
But for the fact that it will practically be in our backyard, I’m looking forward to the possibility of a Democratic National Convention with plenty of fireworks. The Clinton-Obama race is far from over, and could be a race to the finish line.