MCCAIN: THE NEW ROCKEFELLER REPUBLICAN | 2000-04-01
I don't think we can be warned too much about how similar today's McCain is to yesterday's Rockefeller. And not since Rockefeller has there been a Republican the national media loved as dearly as they do John McCain.
They had reason to love them both.
Rockefeller did his work for the leftists a generation ago.
Back then, Rockefeller pushed their policies as an openly liberal Republican. Such outright liberalism has been discredited, even for a national candidate of the Democratic Party. So today McCain does his work for the liberals, not as a liberal, but as the most respectable of respectable conservatives.
The fact that McCain lost the nomination is not the end of his usefulness to the media and other liberals. Rockefeller did his best job for them after he had lost a nomination. That was in 1960.
In 1960, the Republican Convention that nominated Richard Nixon for president passed a very, very conservative platform. The conservatives who would nominate Goldwater in 1964 were already showing their muscle.
As a moderate, Nixon of course immediately sold out the conservative Republican convention. Conservatives had always supported Dewey, a liberal Republican, when he was nominated in 1944 and 1948. Needless to say, liberals were not so accommodating. Governor Rockefeller of New York made it clear that, unless Nixon rewrote the platform for him, he and his fellow liberal Republicans would not support him.
So Nixon got on the phone in California and called Governor Rockefeller in New York. Over the next several hours, he and Rockefeller rewrote the whole platform. Republican conservatives at the convention did what they always did. Nixon kicked them in the teeth and they came up smiling. He told them to do what Rockefeller wanted and, as always, they did. Not one conservative even hinted he might not support Nixon.
To pile it on thicker still, Nixon made Henry Cabot Lodge, a Massachusetts liberal, his running mate.
No one today understands how difficult it was for Nixon to lose the 1960 election.
Even after he made every possible mistake, it took Democratic Mayor Daley of Chicago all night following the 1960 election to steal enough votes to put Illinois in Kennedy's column. The margin was razor-thin.
Theodore H. White, in "The Making of a President, 1960," made a point which no one since has disputed. He reviewed the tight races in state after state in the election, citing one after another where Kennedy barely won. White pointed out that if Nixon had been just a little bit more conservative, he would have carried a few more Southern states, and won the election. He also said that if Nixon had moved to the left, he would have carried several eastern states and won.
It took a liberal Rockefeller and a moderate Nixon all night on the coast-to-coast telephone to work out the only deal that could have lost the 1960 election!
The liberal media look for the same kind of performance from their new ally in the Republican Party, John McCain. You can almost see the liberal media's tongue hanging out as they discuss a deal between Bush and McCain. If history is any guide, it will be a second Deal of the Century for the left, a repeat of 1960.