At a dinner party in Los Angeles not long after the 2000 election, I was talking to a man and his wife, both prominent Republicans. The conversation soon turned to the new president. “I didn’t vote for George Bush” the man confessed. “I didn’t either,” his wife added. Their names: John and Cindy McCain (Cindy told me she had cast a write-in vote for her husband).
The fact that this man was so angry at what George Bush had done to him, and at what Bush represented for their party, that he did not even vote for him in 2000 shows just how far he has fallen since then in his hunger for the presidency.
That our nominee is, shall we say, less than a fully devout Republican is something already well known to the base. A new tale of party betrayal will hurt him — but a tale of Bush betrayal, specifically? Dubya’s approval rating is 28%; according to the new Gallup, he’s a bigger liability for McCain than Wright is for Obama (although, surprisingly, only slightly). Conservatives who don’t want to believe the story can simply discard it based on the source and independents who do want to believe it can accept it as proof that McCain’s not the Bush clone the left wants him to be. Thanks, Arianna! Exit question: What did she hope to accomplish by mentioning this? Anything coherent? Bear in mind, this is a woman who convinced herself last summer that the conservative outcry against McCain had to do with his support for the war, not that little immigration matter you might have heard about. It fell to Glenn Greenwald, of all people, to set her straight.
Update (Ed): I’m as mystified as Allahpundit about this story. McCain and Bush had hard feelings following the primary in 2000, so McCain’s reluctance to vote for Bush doesn’t surprise me at all. Arizona wasn’t exactly a battleground state in 2000, so McCain’s abstention hardly put the election at risk. The only takeaway from this anecdote is that McCain and Bush have two different approaches to politics, which undermines the McSame argument the DNC wants to sell this year.
And the “how much he has fallen” spin doesn’t work, either. McCain and Bush worked together on some issues and in opposition on others. McCain isn’t exactly running around the country on the Bush bandwagon. And doesn’t their rapprochement also negate the “McCain holds grudges forever” meme that Democrats pushed along as part of their focus on anger management?
Allow me to thank Arianna, too.