February 2, 2008

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The hardcore, right wing base of the Republican party, including one of its most prominent spokespersons, has been going berserk over the notion that Senator John McCain might become the GOP candidate for president. They've gone above and beyond trying to paint him as a liberal, which elicits laughter from actual liberals -- but apparently, it's catching on with some teevee bobbleheads.

This morning on The Chris Matthews Show, the panel discussed John McCain and how many Democrats and Independents would vote for him in the general election. Matthews puts up poll numbers showing McCain taking as many as 41% of Independent voters and 16% of Democrats. The same poll also shows him beating Hillary Clinton and losing to Barack Obama, both by slim margins and 7 out of 12 CMS contributors think McCain could hold those numbers all the way through the general election.

I was surprised, Joe Kline actually brings the most reality to this segment, reminding the panel that there are only a handful of Independents who think we should be in Iraq for 100 years and that if McCain thinks he can live off the narrow tactical successes of the surge (U.S. deaths in Iraq climbed in January) in Iraq and avoid talking about the economy throughout the entire campaign, he's in for trouble.

Democrats are consistently topping Republicans in both fundraising and voter turn out, so I find it hard to believe that the race would be anywhere this close. Having said that, it's a long way to November and anything can happen. We've learned not to place too much emphasis on polling data, so here's my question to C&L readers -- is this another case of our media trying to create a horse race where none exists, or does McCain, a war mongering, anti-choice, pandering, flip flopping Republican who has capitulated on torture, immigration and President Bush's tax cuts REALLY have a good shot at beating either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in November?

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