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The Real Victor in the Judicial Battle

Thursday, 26 May 2005 12:00 AM

No, the real victor is Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., who will gain, and surely will claim, all kinds of senatorial clout and who, more importantly, has helped dilute the clout and appearance of clout of Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.

Does this make a difference? You bet! People in Washington understand that both Senators Frist and McCain are interested in seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Along comes McCain, knocks Frist out of the ring, waits for plaudits to run for president.

How strongly Frist returns to the ring remains to be seen. He is bright, honest and likable.

Are "moderates," however the term is defined, also victors? It doesn't look that way. Consider these phenomena: The influence of moderates within the Republican Party is not rising. Their numbers also may be falling. More crucial, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee will be the candidate who garners enough votes of conservative delegates to the national convention.

(The exceptions don't apply any more: Wendell L. Wilkie in 1940; Thomas E. Dewey in 1944 and 1948; and two unique situations - the World War II hero Dwight D. Eisenhower victory over Robert A. Taft in 1952 and incumbent President Gerald R. Ford's victory over Governor Ronald Reagan in 1976). This history surely doesn't augur well for McCain, who may be the Republican darling of the (mostly liberal) mainstream media but who, except for abortion, on key issues usually votes to the beat of his own drummer.

Furthermore, the compromise is so vaguely "iffy" that the compromise itself may rise up and bite McCain. No filibuster except in "extraordinary circumstances" means what?

Within the Republican Party there is little "moderate center" except to the extent the media manage to find it. Most Republicans who vote in presidential primaries, run for delegate, influence national nominee choices are varying degrees of conservative. Some of the Republican senators who forced the compromise did so to protect their version of senatorial privilege. Others did so because they play to the liberal media or generally aren't that keen on Bush judicial nominees.

Their reasoning doesn't matter. The bottom line is that McCain is off and running.

Paul M. Weyrich is the Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

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No, the real victor is Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., who will gain, and surely will claim, all kinds of senatorial clout and who, more importantly, has helped dilute the clout and appearance of clout of Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. Does this make a difference?...
The,Real,Victor,the,Judicial,Battle
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2005-00-26
Thursday, 26 May 2005 12:00 AM
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