Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Could Iraq Save Mccain

Conventional wisdom goes that Senator Mccain has a major problem with the base of his party (especially Bushites). Since the 2000, the base has seemed cool on Mccain and his maverick/gadfly style: Detainee treatment, "gang of 14", climate change, campaign finace etc... These are issues that have complicated Mccain's quest for the republican nomination. However, the situation in Iraq may provide an opportunity for him to get in good with Bush and the Bushites.

As the Iraq Survey Group comes out with its recommendations, it has been intimated that a "phased withdrawal" and talks with Iran and Syria, are going to be the principal recommendations. Both are ideas that president Bush has shot down in the past two weeks. What seems to be an increasingly popular idea on the conservative side of politics is Mccain's proposal for an increase in the number of troops in Baghdad and Iraq as a whole. If reports are correct, the Bush admin is seriously contemplating this issue.

Increasing troop levels (agreeing with Mccain), might seem a more palatable policy prescription to Bush than, agreeing with dems on a "phased withdrawal" or being saved by his paps friend and agreeing to talks with Iran and Syria. Getting rid of Rumsfeld (principal opposition to increased troops) may also give the president enough wiggle room to increase troop levels.

The visibility of the issue - Iraq - and the fact that Mccain has been the only one seriously advocating for it (increased troop levels), could then be an asset to Mccain's campaign as he tries to make inroads in to the conservative pro-Bush wing of the Republican party.


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