Is John McCain the GOP’s Ken Clarke?

Is John McCain the GOP’s Ken Clarke?

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    Are they both more popular outside their parties than within?

Just reading what some US right wing commentators are saying about John McCain it struck me that he is his party’s Ken Clarke.

Both McCain and Clarke have sought and failed to be party leader/presidential nominee in the past

Both McCain and Clarke have been seen by outsider observers as being highly electable

Both McCain and Clarke are probably more popular outside their parties than within

Both McCain and Clarke have views which are alien to large sections of the Tory/GOP mainstream

Both McCain and Clarke are getting on in years and were born well before the baby boomer generation

Just compare the following piece by right-wing commentator Robert Tracinski with the things traditional Tories have said about some of Ken Clarke stances.

“..Many voters seem to be attracted to McCain because of his strong stance on the War on Terrorism, reinforced by his war-hero biography. This is part of the reason, for example, that Rudy Giuliani’s poll numbers have declined precisely as McCain’s have risen: both candidates are competing for the support of pro-war voters..But that raises another, far more important question: if John McCain saves Republicans, who will save Republicans from John McCain? The voters who support McCain over Giuliani are making a dangerously short-sighted trade. McCain is a suicidal choice for Republicans, because on every issue other than the war, he stands for capitulation to the left..”

It is the age factor and the notion that McCain is the GOP’s Ken Clarke that have made me reluctant to join the rush by UK gamblers to back the Arizona senator for the nomination. When you are so detached from core opinion on a range of issues something is likely to give as Ken Clarke has seen on a number of occasions.

At the start of the Tory leadership race in 2005 I backed Clarke heavily when the French turned down the EU constitution in their referendum. To me, an outsider, the main sticking point to a Clarke leadership had been removed and he was the obvious person. Over the next few days it was the reaction of Tories on this site that convinced me that I was wrong – so I closed down the bet at a profit.

I get the same feeling now with McCain.

Mike Smithson

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