Hillary Clinton and her supporting cast, The Denver Group, aren’t the only ones who understand the rules. Republicans too know their party doesn’t really have a Presidential nominee – not yet anyway. It’s not official until the states are called, the votes cast and counted and the winner steps to the podium declaring: “I accept the nomination of my Party for the office of President of the United States of America.”
Those who continue to hold out hope that magic will somehow strike the Convention hall in Denver and Mrs. Clinton will – after everything! – still win the nomination away from Barack Obama… they need professional help. They are so far removed from political reality they may not be able to adjust even after the nominating process concludes, Obama has won and the Convention disbands. Who knows, those diehards may protest the Inauguration.
But there are others in America, far more realistic, fully savvy and perhaps far more motivated than any disgruntled Clinton supporters. They also know the rules and may begin working within them soon – if they haven’t already begun, in secret. Are they Democrats? No. They are Republicans. They are the sane ones, who see the McCain candidacy as potentially the most catastrophic political movement ever to ride the coattails of a major American political party. Not only is the McCain campaign doing everything wrong – yes, everything! – It is heading full-speed toward an electoral debacle which will not only end the GOP tenure in the White House, but may deliver a Democratic House and Senate that looks more like a FDR Congress than any Congress since the four-term Democrat.
There are Republicans who see Barack Obama, handsome, young, slim, smiling, self-confident, drawing overflow crowds wherever he goes – even 200,000 Germans! – while they painfully watch an old, pale, often confused John McCain struggle to get a small hall half-filled in what ought to be his conservative stronghold, white, working-class, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. If they won’t show up for him there, then where? Is McCain worried? He sure doesn’t look like he is.
Who are the worried Republicans? They are Republican powerhouses, the Grandees of American corporate culture and they cannot help but be scared by what they see. The 2008 Campaign must seem like a trailer for the latest Hollywood horror flick. “Be afraid! Be very afraid!” This fear only feeds on itself. Perhaps, that explains why Barack Obama raised more money in one day in June than John McCain raised in the entire month. The GOP fat cats are not only keeping their wallets closed; they’re sitting on them. Are you surprised? Does John McCain inspire you – does he inspire anyone – to take your own money and say, “Here, John, please take this. Go out and become President!”
What can save the Grand Old Party? The very rules Hillary Clinton counted on to save her, in vain. Both parties nominate – officially - at the Convention, not before. John McCain doesn’t become the Presidential nominee of the Republican Party until the first week in September. There’s a lot of time between now and then. The smart money in the Republican Party – and here, we’re talking about an amount of money you can’t begin to imagine – is on John McCain’s withdrawal from this race. Yes, that’s right. You heard me. The only sensible thing for the Republicans to do is nominate somebody who at least stands a chance of winning, and won’t bring down the party with him. That’s not John McCain.
How will this occur? What needs to happen? John McCain is no Tom Eagleton. There are no hidden secrets which, upon disclosure, will disqualify him. No, nothing like that. And you can be sure he won’t just… resign. Of course not.
What could happen to John McCain, between now and September 1st, that would be perfectly normal, absolutely acceptable to his supporters and all the American people and completely understandable? Watch for the signs of a “withdrawal for medical reasons.” The first such sign – “feeling under the weather,” one day, missing a campaign event, the cancellation of a trip here or a visit there, perhaps a long planned meeting that doesn’t come off. Watch for it. It could happen.
It’s the only thing left for the Republican Party – John McCain’s withdrawal and the nomination of a “competitive” candidate. Who could that be? The Republicans have many prospects, but it is unlikely to be someone who has already tried for the nomination this year. It won’t be somebody with a recent record of losing. The list of possibilities is longer than you think, at first. Keep watching.