The left-wing blog MyDD reports that, according to John Kerry, John McCain’s staff approached him (not the other way around) about the idea of McCain running with Kerry in 2004. Kerry said reports that McCain’s approached the Dems about switching parties
[don’t] surprise me completely because his people similarly approached me to engage in a discussion about his potentially being on the ticket as Vice President. So his people were active — let’s put it that way.
If this is true, it means the end of McCain’s 2008 run. A candidate can get away with flip-flopping over many issues, but the question of whether Bush or Kerry should be president isn’t one of them. However, to the extent that McCain denies Kerry’s claim (and in the absence of proof of that claim), Republicans should give McCain the benefit of the doubt, given his strong and arguably indispensable efforts on behalf of Bush’s re-election.
JOHN adds: As I recall, it was widely reported in 2004 that Kerry and McCain were talking about McCain being Kerry’s Veep choice. The New York Sun has a pretty good wrap-up of the reporting on the subject, and TownHall has McCain’s perspective via interviews with two of his aides who were involved at the time.
What most likely happened, I think, is that Kerry did approach McCain over a period of time, both about switching parties and about running as Kerry’s Vice President. McCain says he never took the offers seriously, and my guess is that’s true.
What hurts McCain is that over a period of time, leading Democrats who knew him reasonably well thought that he was someone who might switch parties or run on a ticket with John Kerry. Those aren’t good things to be believed, even wrongly, of a man who wants the Republican Presidential nomination.
In McCain’s defense, I suspect that these overtures reflect the Democrats’ basic lack of seriousness about policy. For the Democrats, everything is about politics. So if they perceived that McCain was angry at President Bush, they apparently didn’t consider his pro-war, pro-life, free-trade, small government views to be much of a problem. McCain, on the other hand, is serious about policy, and he seems to have understood how ridiculous it would be for him to share a ticket with a liberal like Kerry.
So you can question McCain’s judgment for even participating in conversations of this sort with Kerry and other Democrats, but you can’t question his seriousness about the issues. McCain’s real problem is that on some of the issues he’s serious about, like campaign finance, he’s on the wrong side.
To comment on this post, go here.