April 12, 2008

Ah...the rub of any Republican candidate after the clusterf&@k of the Bush administration: in order to be electable, you can't be like them. Which is a problem for John McSame, who has built his campaign around giving voters a third term of the Bush presidency. David Brooks thinks that McCain can still pull it out, but it involves invoking another President: Teddy Roosevelt.

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MATTHEWS: David, the question that a lot of women especially care about is, choice--abortion rights-- and although they may like the cut of his jib because he seems like a maverick and sort of a suburban, independent type--not part of some machine--he does relentlessly say that he's for strict constructionists. He likes Scalia, he likes Roberts, he likes Alito. How does he break out of that?

BROOKS: He doesn't. That's who, that's what he believes he'd believed that for thirty years. The guy is pro-life. He's a conservative. The way he breaks out of this though electorally is to be Teddy Roosevelt and this is going to be the toughest thing for his campaign. He's got a group of people around him and frankly a group or party that doesn't want the government to do anything to help poor people. And he has to break out of that. He's begun to do that on housing.

MATTHEWS: Especially when there are more poor people now.

BROOKS: Right, and but he's gotta…he's gotta say, ‘hey Teddy Roosevelt took on corporations, he took on health insurance, he took on the trust of his day,’ and it's going to be up to--and this is going to be the toughest part of his campaign--is breaking out of those restrictions on the role of government to be aggressive on the behalf of people, sometimes against corporations, which is going to make the party feel uncomfortable but to me, it's his only shot at getting those white working class he needs.

But, but, but...if McCain goes up against corporations and stand up for the working class and the poor, he wouldn't be a Republican, would he? First step might be not giving trillions of dollars in tax breaks to corporations in your tax plan.

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