How McCain gains by embracing Bush.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Nov. 29 2005 6:30 PM

The Bush Hugger

How McCain gains by embracing Bush.

(Continued from Page 1)

So, which way will he go? In 2000, McCain revolted against the demands of party loyalists and the result was a rather spectacular flameout. I was there when he blew up about Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell in the back of his campaign bus before Super Tuesday. He told us that it was part of his job "to stand up and take on the forces of evil," referring to the two men. "I can't steer the Republican Party if those two individuals have the influence that they have on the party today." It was classic McCain: cranky, impetuous, and more honest than anyone in his party was willing to be. Running as he still was in a Republican primary, he had to apologize for his remarks a few days later. When Republicans in South Carolina demanded that he stay out of the debate in their state over whether the flag of the Confederacy should fly above the state capitol, McCain obliged. His position was so tortured, he had to read from a crafted statement he kept in his pocket to keep it straight. The charade ate at him so much that he went back to South Carolina after the campaign to scold himself in public for not saying what he believed: The flag should not fly above the state capitol.

Fortunately for McCain, he doesn't have to win over all the Republicans he alienated last time. He just needs enough to add to his moderates and independents voting in the GOP primaries to lock up the nomination. Still, even that will require a constant and complicated balancing act. I used to think there was no way a second McCain run could be as unpredictable and dramatic as the first one. Watching him tell his party's establishment to stuff it in 2000 was one of the great moments I've watched in politics. But it may be just as exciting to see him try to avoid telling the powers that be where to put it this time around.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 12:13 PM “For a While Liquidity Led to Stupidity”
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 17 2014 1:04 PM The War Department's WWII Advice Booklet for Soldiers Headed to Syria
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 1:26 PM Hey CBS, Rihanna Is Exactly Who I Want to See on My TV Before NFL Football Games
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 1:01 PM A Rare, Very Unusual Interview With Michael Jackson, Animated
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.