Will McCain's Movie Role Curtail His Political One?

Matt Drudge’s breaking ‘news’ today that John McCain has an uncredited cameo in the raunchy comedy Wedding Crashers is, as a former coworker of mine would say, “more evidence for the prosecution”. In McCain’s case, it’s more evidence that he’s not personally committed to Christian values, despite his Beltway harangues about crass R-rated flicks. It may also mean he’s not personally committed to becoming president. But I find that hard to believe.

However, cameos and all, McCain is going to have a devil of a time becoming president. He has many advantages, most notably his high name-recognition and positive impression, which is why he keeps winning what-if polls like Zogby's from late June. His principled centrism makes him popular, but it also makes him easy to beat in the primaries, especially if the Christian Right unites behind a single candidate, as some leaders are trying to do. Today's news that the Michigan G.O.P. will be barring Democrats and Independents from voting in the Republican primary is another nail in the coffin of McCain's hope of winning a primary outright.

Would McCain be an effective president? Most likely. He's an independent, tough-minded leader. He's not afraid of his own opinion, and he's pleasant to look at and listen to. He's a centrist who would make partisans on both sides look petty, and his relationship with the legislative branch would be excellent. However, the only scenarios under which I can foresee McCain becoming president would be:

  • He runs as an independent against weak Rep. and Dem. nominees. With Hillary all but a lock on the left, that's unlikely.
  • Centrist Republicans like Pataki and Giuliani drop out of the race early, leaving McCain to sweep the center/left primary votes against a divided right. He would annihilate Hillary in the general election.
  • Hillary becomes so popular that Republicans panic en masse in the primaries and vote for McCain for his electability.
  • Hillary dies in office, and Vice President McCain succeeds her.

For more on the 2008 election, see the longer version of this post here.

Posted by Chops at July 14, 2005 4:23 PM