Bob Dole didn’t appreciate being called a loser, and Bob Dole didn’t like the press saying that he had endorsed John McCain when he hadn’t, and Bob Dole isn’t one to let people think he was the tax collector for the welfare state, so Bob Dole called up Laura Ingraham to have a chat about it all.
I do think Dole gets a bum rap for 1996. As he says in the clip, sometimes you get beat up when you don’t deserve it. The Clintons still had their young president thing going, they had successfully put the blame for Oklahoma City on conservative pundits in a way that unfairly put the right on the defensive, they had boatloads of illegal cash coming in from China to fuel their campaign, and Clinton was the master at the smarmy politics of the 90s and the vacation from history. Dole never really lit up the Republicans, Jack Kemp didn’t deliver the vaunted and always mythical youth vote as the GOP hoped he would, so that ticket never stood a chance.
But I don’t think that comparisons between Dole then and McCain now really work, beyond the fact that they’re both senators and war heroes. I do think that comparisons between McCain and Kerry ’04 have legs, though. Both won their respective party’s nomination mostly on biography and “electability” without a great deal of thought put into how they would wear on the trail. Kerry didn’t, and I fear that McCain won’t either. Against Hillary, McCain stands a chance and probably wins. Against Obama…he’ll have matchup issues to go along with intra party issues.