The only way McCain can win (?)
John McCain is America's favorite kind of candidate. With his record of extraordinary patriotism and his distinctive Senate tenure, McCain is a nominee whom voters from both parties -- and independents, too -- could easily support. But he has been dealt a terrible hand: a tanking economy, an unpopular war, a Republican incumbent whose approval ratings are at their all-time low and a gloomy national mood, with 82 percent of Americans saying in a Washington Post-ABC News poll last week that the country is on the wrong track. Political scientists add all that up and predict that the Democrats are destined to win the White House. But I don't do political science; I do politics, and I'm convinced that McCain can still win -- if he's willing to follow the road map below.
McCain needs to not run as a traditional Republican, which is easy, since he's not one. After all, how did an anti-torture, anti-tobacco, pro-campaign finance reform, anti-pork, pro-alternative-energy Republican ever emerge from the primaries alive? Simple: The GOP electorate, along with the rest of the country, has moved somewhat to the left. (In Florida, for example, exit polls showed that only 27 percent of Republican primary voters described themselves as "very conservative," while 28 percent said they were "moderate" and 2 percent said they were "very liberal.")
In this environment, McCain can win by running to the center. His base will be there for him; indeed, it will turn out in massive numbers. Wright has become the honorary chairman of McCain's get-out-the-vote efforts. It would be nice to think that race isn't a factor in American politics anymore, but it is. The growing fear of Obama, who remains something of an unknown, will drag every last white Republican male off the golf course to vote for McCain, and he will need no further laying-on of hands from either evangelical Christians or fiscal conservatives.
So McCain doesn't have to spend a lot of time wooing his base. What he does need to do is reduce the size of the synapse over which independents and fearful Democrats need to pass in order to back his candidacy. If the synapse is wide, they will stay with Obama. But if they perceive McCain as an acceptable alternative, there is every chance that they will cross over to back him in November.
Earlier in the race, Iraq might have been a deal-breaker. But a kinder, gentler war has emerged. U.S. combat deaths are way down, and the de facto U.S. alliance with Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province against al-Qaeda in Iraq seems to have dramatically improved the security situation. Still, most Americans don't like the war, and McCain must deal with their opposition if he wants to win. The solution is to draw Obama out -- to ask the untested senator what he would do if al-Qaeda in Iraq took over the country . . . or if Iran did . . . or if the Iraqis who backed the U.S. mission were being slaughtered by the thousands . . . or if Islamist terrorists seized control of the country's oil wealth.
Obama, not wanting to appear weak, would no doubt rise to the bait and agree that he might need to send troops back in under certain conditions. He would assure us that sufficient forces would be available at nearby bases to get the job done. To avoid coming across as indecisive and timid, he would put on a sufficiently hawkish face to reassure the voters. And in doing so, he would blur the war issue vis-a-vis McCain. It will make little difference to most Americans whether our troops are in Iraq (as McCain wants) or in Kuwait (as Obama can be pushed to suggest), so long as U.S. casualties are dropping. And with the economy in tough shape, Iraq will fade as the election's be-all and end-all issue.
Meanwhile, McCain should highlight his credentials as a reformer and a maverick to attract Democrats and independents who worry about Obama.
British police: OK to be a terrorist-supporter but not OK to reform and condemn terrorism
The Muslim-loving British police get madder every day
He was the poster boy for jihadist extremism who become one of its most vocal opponents, meeting a government minister and being offered Home Office funding to support his deradicalisation work among young Muslims. But now Hassan Butt is under arrest and at the centre of a high-stakes legal battle that goes to the core of Britain's fight against terrorism.
Hassan Butt sent dozens of British Muslims to training camps in Pakistan, raised money for the Taleban and once boasted of his desire "to kill or be killed for the sake of Allah". His words and deeds in support of Islamist terrorism were reported widely between 2001 and 2004, yet he was never charged with any offence.
After the suicide attacks on London in July 2005, he embarked on a lengthy and painful reexamination of his beliefs, eventually repudiating violence and emerging as a passionate critic of the cause he once espoused. Since early 2007 Mr Butt, 28, has denounced al-Qaeda in numerous newspaper articles, in international television interviews and in debate at the Cambridge Union. However, he has been labelled a traitor to Islam by his former comrades and in April last year was stabbed in the street by two assailants.
Ten days ago, as he prepared to board a flight to Pakistan, Mr Butt was arrested - and is still detained - under the Terrorism Act. If his rejection of violence was not a sham, then Greater Manchester Police - whose investigation is being carried out independently of Counter Terrorism Command at Scotland Yard - may be about to face more than a few tough questions.
The fact that Ted Kennedy was recently hospitalized seems to have been deemed newsworthy worldwide. In the circumstances, the following email from a medical reader may be of interest: "LOVE the politeness of the Media, including Fox News, about Kennedy's seizures. They don't discuss the most obvious. Kennedy has a history of many years of heavy alcohol drinking. He was even said to be a possible candidate for a liver transplant years ago. There are any number of recordings of Kennedy being drunk in the Senate. Is this rocket science? One of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is seizures. No doubt this is just too much to handle for the "sensitive" media."
The British spooks sure know how to screen their spies: "A bizarre sex scandal involving a top motor sports official and the prostitute wife of a British spy has raised urgent questions about the screening procedures employed by the MI5 security service. The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph reported that an MI5 officer had been forced to resign after it emerged that his wife was one of five prostitutes who took part in an orgy with Max Mosley, president of Formula One's governing body, the FIA. A security source did not dispute the reports but said any suggestion the orgy had been an MI5 'sting' operation to entrap Mosley was "nonsense". The affair raises many questions, not least how MI5 could have failed to know that the wife of one of its operatives was working as a prostitute. Staff are subjected before joining the agency to what its website calls "the most comprehensive form of security vetting in the UK", aimed at establishing their reliability and suitability. The screening continues after a person has joined the service, and there is a responsibility on staff to inform MI5 of changes in their personal circumstances." [Even Kim Philby could probably get a job there these days]
Blame it all on fatties: "Obese people are contributing to the world food crisis and climate change, experts say. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calculated the obese consume 18% more calories than average. They are also responsible for using more fuel, which has an environmental impact and drives up food prices as transport and agriculture both use oil. The result is that the poor struggle to afford food and greenhouse gas emissions rise, the Lancet reported."
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)