How often do politicos get such golden advice for free? My McCain Victory Strategy begins last Friday, when Mac met behind closed doors at the Council for National Policy with - and I say this as a lifelong Republican - some of the right-wingerest of right-wingers in a pre-election kiss-up. We continue in my Los Angeles Daily News column today:
“…Let them rant. Let them complain. Keep shaking off anti-Catholic televangelist John Hagee. You’ve got work to do. It’s called ‘being yourself.’
Because that, my friend, is the only way you’ll win the election come November.
You are one of the few Republicans, in this day and age and after eight years of Bush’s divisive presidency, who has the ability to handily lay claim to the middle. You need the ever-growing middle, moderate sea of voters to win the White House. You don’t need to do anything that will get you painted as a panderer to the far right. The middle’s reaction to that would be a sort of synchronized electoral ‘ick.’
Because, Sen. McCain, as someone who spends most of her time around liberals (I am a journalist, after all), you have to know that they generally have always liked you. They like the maverick, but not just because you’ve held hands with Democrats. They like that you’ve been your own guy, even when they don’t agree with you, even when it’s been unpopular. They respect your above and beyond the call military service (well, except for Gloria Steinem).
And the righty pundits who swore that they’d vote for Hillary Clinton over you? Those tirades had a 15-minutes-of-fame shelf life. Already, they’re not the talk of voters anymore. And when voters rally to beat a strong Dem, there will be little chance of the Pundit Mafia staging another hit - unless, of course, you pick Dennis Kucinich as your running mate.
Do you need the far right to fight the waves of Obamania sweeping across the plain in body-snatchers style? Not since Hillary got back in the game with Texas and Ohio. Now Barack Obama is going to be forced to answer those hard questions, like ‘Can you name the new president of Russia and describe his background and liabilities without piggybacking on Hill’s garbled-pronunciation answer?’…”