Via WaPo. To think, some people say I never give you guys any good news.
For what it’s worth (not much, three years out), he sounds a bit rosier here about running again than he did last month when the subject came up. Maybe there’s good reason for that. Even if he was 50/50 last month and is 50/50 now, he doesn’t want wealthy donors starting to hunt around for replacements. If they find someone appealing, that could inadvertently create pressure for him to retire even though he’s genuinely undecided. Better to err on the side of sounding like he’s running again than not so that he’s fully in control of his own destiny.
The one genuinely newsy thing he says is the mention in passing of business groups clamoring for him to hang in there. That’s entirely plausible given the upset among the national business lobby towards tea partiers like Ted Cruz over the shutdown. If McCain retires, it’s possible — maybe likely — that Arizona GOPers will nominate a tea partier to replace him, which means business is facing the prospect of either another populist Republican in the Senate or a Democrat. Solution: Stick with the incumbent. That’s an interesting new wrinkle to McCain’s 2016 calculus, which right now involves somehow surviving a primary during a presidential campaign year when conservatives will be clamoring for a nominee who’s further to the right than Maverick or Romney was. Can McCain get reelected if he declares he won’t support Rand Paul or Ted Cruz if they’re the party’s choice to face Hillary? Or will he suck it up and support them in the name of rebuilding goodwill with the right? Would it even matter at that point? I sense we’re past the rebuilding stage here. The bridges are burned.
Don’t underestimate McCain’s chances, though. He’s got plenty of money and tons upon tons of name recognition. To beat him, it’ll probably take someone who’s just as famous, with ties to Arizona, who can mobilize tea partiers more effectively than a garden-variety grassroots rightie could. Exit question: Dude?