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March 31, 2008 | by  | in Online Only |
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McCain’s Bane

John McCain is almost certainly the republican candidate for the US presidential election at the end of this year. That much is agreed upon. However, during his bid for the republican nomination there was serious concern over his loyalty to factions of the Republican party.

John McCain is seen by many as a maverick within his own party. When the candidates entered the race, there was barely a mention of John McCain. He was sidelined early in the 2004 contest, it was expected to happen again. How wrong the pundits were, John McCain steadily gained momentum, and he never gave it up. In a contest as important as the US candidate primaries, media momentum is integral to a successful campaign.

So why the concern?

McCain is a mystery in terms of his own personal ideology. He is typically right, but yet he supported a bill ensuring amnesty for illegal immigration. In reality an effective and pragmatic policy — but ideologically untenable by many powerful  Republican party leaders. His own pet political projects never seemed to tow the party line, and often deviated from ‘standard’ Republican doctrines.

The Parties in Play

During the George H.W Bush, and then the George W. Bush era’s there was considerable influence from three factions in the Republican party. Firstly, there were the Neo-Conservatives. Seeking to spread ‘democracy’ at the point of the sword, and influenced by the renowned RAND institute — it was concerned with Realism in politics, and fighting communism’s remnants. using the Fall of the USSR, they saw an opportunity to promote American dominance throughout the world.

Secondly, the evangelical faction of the Republican party had large influence over both Bush’s. The faction had been active within republican circles, virtually ensuring Reagan’s tenure as a president. There influence can be shown in the actions of G.W.B who has continued to replace retiring supreme court judges with right leaning judges — often judges acceptable to the evangelical division.

Thirdly, there is the libertarian faction of the republican party. While not as strong as the other two (as evidenced by Ron Paul this year) the faction does have considerable sway when it comes to Bread and Butter domestic issues such as Education (support for school vouchers) and  Health (their support for a private system). Many of their opinions shape the domestic policies of Republican cabinets.

McCain has a real problem in calming their fears over his presidential bid. It is probable that the evangelicals will stay at home this year, and the libertarian wing will be supporting Ron Paul until the bitter end. It is unclear if his failure to secure the nomination will shift votes back to McCain — he does support NAFTA, but is that enough for the hardcore government destroyers?

Only the neo-conservatives may support him, he is iffy on Foreign Policy and has no real policy except for Iraq, which is more of the same. Secondly, public support for the continuation of a neo-conservative created war, is only going to hurt him politically. Something he cannot avoid, against either Hillary or Obama.  McCain is a maverick, a politician who can see the best or worst in everything, and who refuses to follow the herd. His election to office could be fantastic for America, or it could be very very bad. At this stage, its up to the factions in the Republican party to set his course.

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About the Author ()

Conrad is a very grumpy boy. When he was little he had a curl in the middle of his forehead. When he was good, he was moderately good, but when he was mean he was HORRID. He likes guns, bombs and shooting doves. He can often be found reading books about Mussolini and tank warfare. His greatest dream is to invent an eighteen foot high mechanical spider, which has an antimatter lazer attached to its back.

Comments (6)

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  1. Quixote says:


  2. peteremcc says:

    McCain is good on Free Trade issues (and most economic), but NAFTA isn’t free trade.
    NAFTA is managed trade, with so many exeptions and regulations and restrictions they may as well have just kept all the tarriffs. The libertarian wing DON’T support NAFTA.

  3. well, they’d rather have it than not have it. But keep in mind this is the Libertarian wing of the REPUBLICAN party. They are more reasonable than libertarians in general.

    Lets also not forget that NAFTA stands for — The North American FREE TRADE Agreement. You can bleat all you want about semanitics or how it doesnt go far enough, but its still something the libertarians can support.

  4. Conscience says:

    This is a pretty inaccurate and confusing piece.

    John McCain was sidelined early in the 2000 race, but he was still the second most prominent candidate to George Bush, and was sidelined by some pretty foul play after an early and significant victory in New Hampshire. He fell by the wayside in South Carolina.

    He was the candidate seen as strong because he was a Democrat’s Republican, he was widely rumoured to be considering being John Kerry’s VP in 2004, before U-turning and stumping for Bush, who it is accepted he carries much animosity towards because of the 2000 campaign.

    He was an early front-runner, and many thought McCain couldn’t be bested in the 2008 campaign – but in the face of strong competition from Giuliani and Romney he flipped positions – giving up his centre ground on immigration, his open disdain for the American evangelicals and the religous right, and supporting Bush’s tax reform. His weak point was seen as being his strong support for the Iraq war, but now he’s flipped over belly up for the righter factions of the party, the Limabughs and all, but he’s savvy, he came back from the dead in this campaign after an identity crisis, and he’ll attempt to seduce the far right, as well as maintaining his appeal to right leaning Democrats. Lieberman is a huge endorser of Mccain, and is rumoured to be high on the list for VP.

    NAFTA is way more complicated than mere “free” trade. Way more. This article confuses me. It pretty much says nothing.

  5. a) this is a blog post, not an article
    b) this is not an post on NAFTA, if you’d read you would of realised, that NAFTA is a mere evidential factor for Libertarians in choosing to side with McCain. I never said they would.

  6. Conscience says:

    I never said it was all about NAFTA. I was trying to say that you don’t really know your John McCain well at all.

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