A red meat victory on the road to defeating McCain?

According to Andrew Sullivan, the right is "celebrating" the victory of Hillary Clinton.

That may be, but the evidence he cites (a remark by Hugh Hewitt) seems rather slim:

A month ago talk radio was dead. Now it has resurrected Hillary?
I think that's more a statement of irony than jubilation, but I could be wrong.

What I would like to know is why visceral antipathy towards McCain correlates so strongly with visceral antipathy towards Obama.

Any ideas?

It's almost spooky, because a lot of that Hillary hatred that so possessed the angry red meat conservatives in the 1990s seems to have morphed into McCain Derangement Syndrome, and unless I'm wrong, there is a strong correlation between McCain Derangement Syndrome and Obamaphobia.

What gives here?

The reason I checked Andrew Sullivan first thing this morning is that I'm looking for theories, and I thought he might find some correlation between MDS, Obamaphobia, and what he calls "Christianism" (generally his code language for anti-gay bigotry) but it wasn't staring me in the face.

There's a lot of emotion, though, and I wonder what is going on. Might it be that the people who hate McCain and have vowed to either sit this out or vote for Hillary are worried that Obama might be the spoiler? The reason I'm speculating about this is that I haven't seen many of the angry red meat, Anyone-But-McCain conservatives including Obama as an "anyone." Might it be that they hate Obama more than McCain, but hate Hillary less than Obama or McCain? Why?

Is it because Obama comes off sounding nice, while Hillary sounds screechy and awful? Perhaps that's part of it. Last night an anonymous commenter explained it this way:

If I have to sleep with a rattlesnake, I want the one that rattles loud and clear.

If I have to have a Dem president, I want the one that everyone knows is a snake. I do not want the one that comes off as "such a nice, nice man!! We'll do whatever he says!!"

If I have to have a Dem president, I want the one that NO ONE trusts.

While I can't speak for the commenter, the problem is that a lot of conservatives prefer sleeping with the rattlesnake to voting for McCain. I am not at all sure this is driven by politics, or positions on issues. Just as McCain's 83% ACU rating means nothing, the fact that there's little political difference between Obama and Hillary means nothing. (Obama's middle name and his African relatives are considered far more important.) And I guess his smooth demeanor and ability with words frightens people.

Seriously, I'd like to know what it is that makes the red-meaters so willing to overlook Travelgate, Whitewater, FBI filegate, Pardongate, Chinese money, Peter Paul, terrorist pardons, Norman Hsu, and more, more, more?

I'm thinking along the same lines I've been thinking about and blogging about for years. For a combination of unholy reasons, they want a familiar, tried-but-true enemy back in the White House, and when enough people want something to happen, it will happen.

I'm thinking that maybe "enemy" should go in quotes.

UPDATE: Via Glenn Reynolds, Mickey Kaus links this interesting tidbit:

there is definitely a sizable portion of the vote in Texas tonight comprised of Republican voters looking to "game" the Democratic primary. I spoke with numerous friends today, who claim to be Republican, who said they voted for Sen Clinton with the thought that it will prolong the Dem in-fighting and therefore benefit Republicans. I won't debate the merits of their argument here, but the phenomenon (Republicans voting for Sen Clinton to gain the system) is real and I think material to the results. I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone reporting it and just how large the impact might be. I'm sure it is contributing to the number of voters deciding in the final three days to support Sen. Clinton. Would be curious to hear your contributors comment on this dynamic. The VRWC conspires to save the Clinton campaign?
I realize that they claim this "strategy" will "help" the GOP in November, but I'd feel a little more reassured if it wasn't being orchestrated by people who hate John McCain and want him to lose, or think his defeat as inevitable.

If the Clintons get back in, they'll be back in for eight years.

And as I witness the final destruction of the American health care system by a determined enemy who tried and failed in 1993, every time I hear that screeching voice, it will be hard not to remember the "strategy" that put it there.

MORE: How big a factor is Rush Limbaugh, anyway?

Via Glenn Reynolds, James Joyner links an Ohio exit poll showing that while 9% of the Democratic primary voters identified themselves as Republican, they were evenly split -- 49% Obama to 49% for Hillary.

What that means for me is that if I want to help neuter Hillary and Rush, I should march right down to the Registrar of Voters and register as a Democrat in time for the crucial Pennsylvania election.

MORE: Hillary hints at Clinton-Obama unity ticket.

Well, that might be one way to unify the GOP.

MORE: Dick Morris thinks Obama has to get tough:

It's time that Obama counters her strategy by hitting back.

His lofty politics of hope will avail him little in the aggressive rough and tumble world of modern politics. He's got to spell out the special interest connections that stigmatize Hillary as the tool of the lobbyists. He must underscore the need for her to release her tax returns for 2007 and 2006 to show the source of her newfound wealth.

He's got to probe her relationship with Norman Hsu and Bill's financial ties to the emir of Dubai. He has to underscore how Hillary's so-called experience, particularly in military affairs is largely derivative of her husband's. He's got to learn to trade blows with the Clintons, the best counter-punchers in the business.

Of course, Hillary's innumerable negatives are largely forgotten history. What matters now is Naftagate. And a legal but ethically questionable real estate deal.

posted by Eric on 03.05.08 at 08:44 AM


That 83% ACU rating is from his first years in the senate. It is now in the low 60's and will only get lower if McCain is elected.

shunha7878   ·  March 5, 2008 8:51 AM

Here are the numbers as analyzed by an anti-McCain conservative:


2006 -- 65

2005 -- 80

2004 -- 72

2003 -- 80

2002 -- 72

2001 -- 68

2000 -- 81

1999 -- 77

1998 -- 68

1997 -- 80

1996 -- 95

1995 -- 91

1994 -- 96

1993 -- 83

1992 -- 85

1991 -- 86

1990 -- 87

They're up and down.

Hillary has an ACU of 9, while Obama has an ACU of 8.

I don't think these numbers explain what is going on.

Eric Scheie   ·  March 5, 2008 9:06 AM

The pure and simple truth about elections is all candidates are professional politicians. Such people run in a very small community where everyone knows their name. They pander to the electorate every 2, 4 or 6 years to keep them from having to get real jobs.

Meanwhile, the electorate does not have the financial resources to raise candidates who truly want to put this country back on the course of American Exceptionalism.

SeniorD   ·  March 5, 2008 9:25 AM

Eric, you raise an interesting question. I am very conflicted about this as I am sure many others are. First, the republican crossover voting in Texas is no more scandalous than the democrats and independents who started McCain on his way.

Second, we know from what we have been able to observe that no candidate not obsessed with desire to be POTUS stands a chance. Thompson's campaign demonstrated that the media would not accept less and they are a powerful screen of information to the public.

Is the negative stance of conservatives who don't believe McCain is true to our most fundamental founding principles any different than those who stood by Huckabee because of his religion?

I have long wondered, with some amazement, why minorities blindly support democrats while that party does not really represent their interests. It is my sincere hope that a rift in that party would cause many voters to examine this issue and result in a significant shift in voting patterns. A shared ticket would probably negate this potential effect.

Bob Thompson   ·  March 5, 2008 11:18 AM

> First, the republican crossover voting in > Texas is no more scandalous than the > democrats and independents who started > McCain on his way.

Really? How so?

Jonathan   ·  March 5, 2008 11:52 AM

Bob, I have much agreement, but what we conservatives say are foundational principles is more variable than we pretend. A few years ago property rights were at the forefront because of Kelo. McCain's solidity on that issue now counts for nothing, I guess.

I dislike the gamesmanship aspect of politics but understand that it's part of the process. I would not cross over as a Republican into a Democrat primary as it seems to me "not the straight bat." Even if I were to register as an independent to send a message to Republicans (which is exactly what I think minorities should do to Democrats), I would hesitate before voting in the Democrat primary.

The conventional wisdom is that it extends the infighting and works to Republican advantage. I see the point, but I find such manipulations too clever by half, and believe they backfire as often as they succeed.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  March 5, 2008 11:59 AM

Well, Jonathan, you tell me why its different.

Bob Thompson   ·  March 5, 2008 12:12 PM

McCain is fine on some issues but Freedom of Speech is not one of them.

Bob Thompson   ·  March 5, 2008 12:27 PM

I'm with you, Bob, in finding no scandal in crossover voting, even "organized" at the radio talk show level. People have a right to vote for whomever they wish, and such games are not only an indelible part of the system, but as there is no way to winnow crossover from conversion, they are also integral.

The larger issues of whether the McCain Derangement Syndrome runs as deep as BDS, whether it leads to Obamaphobia, and all the rest: No. The dislike of Obama is, as far as I can tell, solely resentment of the worship he gets in the MSM for trashing America and Republicans.

The anti-McCain sentiment will fade as libertarian and social conservative R's realize there's a lot more to like about him than there is to dislike. Economic and defense R's are already on board, for the most part, so especially to the extent that the categories overlap he's got a lot to stand on for Republicans.

Clearly, barring major scandal or health issues, the 2008 election will be about attracting the uninterested voter. It is for that reason that many Republicans worry about an Obama nomination, but I think enough people are turned off by his empty-suit rhetoric and pandering that it's a wash.

Socrates   ·  March 5, 2008 12:35 PM
Seriously, I'd like to know what it is that makes the red-meaters so willing to overlook Travelgate, Whitewater, FBI filegate, Pardongate, Chinese money, Peter Paul, terrorist pardons, Norman Hsu, and more, more, more?

Keating 5, Gang of 14, McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy.

The Maverick is not our buddy. He just happens to share a lot of the same enemies we do.

Phelps   ·  March 5, 2008 12:40 PM

Note that Ceaser's last words weren't, "you bastards", it was "Et tu, Brute?"

Phelps   ·  March 5, 2008 12:43 PM

There is no such thing as MDS. There is McCain's record and the RINO agenda. One sees McCain's record and asks can this man be trusted to continue the war? Yes. Can he be trusted on other conservative issues? No. Would the RINO side of our party take our giving in as weakness? Yes. Would our cooperation portend the RINO side offering more conservative input in the future? No. If your only message is: "You are stubborn children, you must say uncle immediately"; you know where you can go, don't you?

Fred Beloit   ·  March 5, 2008 12:52 PM

" lot of conservatives prefer sleeping with the rattlesnake to voting for McCain. I am not at all sure this is driven by politics, or positions on issues."

McCain is just as much a rattlesnake as Obama or Hillary. The problem is that (despite years of evidence to the contrary), you are hoping that the 'maverick' aisle crosser will have a miracle change of heart & philosophy on the way to the general election and start biting the democrats instead of members of what is supposedly his party.

McCain has bit at me too many times in the past few years for me to believe that any "road to the White House conversion" is anything more than a political insider's lies.

What you so cutely called "McCain Derangement Syndrome" is more accurately described as "fool me once, shame on your; fool me for the hundreth time, shame on me."

If McCain tomorrow submitted a bill to immediately cancel McCain - Finegold; went to the border & built a section of the wall with his own money; and repudiated his leadership of the Gang of 14 and publicly and personally appologize to each of the judge nominees that he screwed over THEN I might be able to see my way to voting for him rather than writing in "other" come November.

The only good thing that can be said for the 3 remaining nominees is that at least one of those three liberals will be out of the senate.

Mark E   ·  March 5, 2008 3:57 PM

I think winning the war is a very good idea.

Who ever votes for McCain will have his ear if not his agreement. Would we even get an ear under a D?

If Real Conservatives™ desert him and he still wins they will have no place at the table. Independents and RINOs will be in control. There will be Joe Lieberman lessons for both parties. Great!

If Harriet Miers had been a Dem appointee would the noise by Rs have been heard?

Think of McCain as a delaying tactic while we seek to educate Americans about the Constitution, economics, and geopolitics.

M. Simon   ·  March 6, 2008 9:52 AM

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