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America's primaries.

Mccain's future

UNITED STATES--"I would love to follow the example of Theodore Roosevelt. He's my ultimate hero. But in this particular example, no, I am a loyal Republican. The Republican Party is my home. ... I am loyal. No matter who our nominee is, I will support that nominee."

So said John McCain on March 2, when asked during a GOP debate whether he'd bolt the party if he lost his Presidential bid. A man who bases his candidacy on honor and truth-telling must have meant what he said.

So we weren't surprised when Mr. McCain announced March 9 that he is "suspending" his campaign to return to the Senate. He can count delegates, and GOP voters preferred George W. Bush. Now all he has to do is resist the various aides and reporters goading him into turning his laudable campaign into a kamikaze run.

--Wall Street Journal

March 10, 2000

Keeping the cause alive

UNITED STATES--In pulling out of the presidential race, John McCain and Bill Bradley vowed to keep fighting for reform. That promise was to be expected as part of the rituals of politics. But because both candidates inspired new voters and brought new vision to the campaign this year, their ability to continue influencing the debate is considerable.

Mr. McCain, who "suspended" his candidacy but did not endorse Gov. George W. Bush for the Republican nomination, is in an especially crucial spot. He made overhauling the campaign finance system his central theme, and now he can refocus his energy to stop a coming orgy of corrupt fund-raising by both Democrats and Republicans.

A year ago, Republicans and even many Democrats in Washington were dismissing the need to clean up the system. They said it was a minor issue for voters. But now the presidential race has proved them wrong. In fact, it has elevated reform to a new level of prominence and urgency.

--New York Times

March 10, 2000

Exit mccain, bradley

UNITED STATES--Texas Gov. George Bush handed Arizona Sen. John McCain his lunch March 8 in all the major Republican primaries. Yet it is now Mr. McCain, the man who just got clobbered at the polls, who is demanding that Mr. Bush, the victor, negotiate the terms of Mr. McCain's surrender. Unlike Sen. Bill Bradley, who unconditionally withdrew from the Democratic presidential race and graciously endorsed his victorious opponent, Mr. McCain announced that he was merely "suspending" his campaign. Instead of the customary endorsement, Mr. McCain pointedly offered only his "best wishes." ...

Despite having recently rejected any possibility that he would run on a third-party ticket in November, Mr. McCain cagily retreated to his "Straight Talk Express" after announcing his campaign suspension and refused to answer any questions, including the inevitable question about current third-party intentions. Meanwhile, several high level advisers let the press know that some of Mr. McCain's chief strategists are now pushing him to mount a third-party bid for the presidency, an effort that would certainly deliver the White House to Vice President Al Gore. Surely Mr. McCain understands this.

--Washington Times

March 10, 2000

Exit john mccain

UNITED STATES--Unable to win Republican majorities, the McCain insurgency failed--though the candidate's concession speech was about as qualified as it could be. He suspended his campaign but did not pull out. He congratulated his rival, George W. Bush, but did not endorse him. He declared his devotion to the Republican Party but also to "the necessary cause of reform." And he hinted that this second cause might turn out to matter more to him.

Having stirred so much excitement, driving turnout up and turning the apathetic into eager volunteers, Mr. McCain seems possessed of an entirely human urge: to bottle the magic of the moment, to preserve it somehow, all in the hope of uncorking it at some future opportunity. Quite how to use it is not so clear. Mr. McCain may try to turn his following into a drive for campaign finance reform, or into efforts to discredit dishonest campaign methods. But his crusade to lift the tone of politics was in part an abstract thing: You could feel the possibility of progress fleetingly in the atmosphere of his campaign events, but that feeling will be hard to recreate if Mr. McCain's campaigning days are over.

--Washington Post

March 10, 2000


GREAT BRITAIN--One sad fact of the Republican Party's recent history is that it often takes an outsider to reform it--and make it electable. Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower were such creatures; Mr. McCain could be another. The point of the exercise is to choose the man most likely to beat Mr. Gore in November.

On that measure, the choice should surely be John McCain. Of the two, he has demonstrated the clearest ability to appeal to independent and Democratic voters, which will be crucial in turning a party victory into a presidential one. Moreover, he is most clearly the man for the post-Clinton moment, the anti-Gore: clean, heroic, straight-talking, likely to stand up strongly for democracy's interests around the globe. This paper disapproves of his positions on guns and abortion, and of his anti-tobacco stance. But if we had a vote, then on the evidence so far it would go to Senator McCain.


February 25, 2000

Race for the white house

GREAT BRITAIN--Since the end of the Cold War, Americans generally have looked homeward, seeking to rebuild domestic institutions and especially the economy. While domestic policy concerns will undoubtedly remain the decisive political issues, Americans are not unaware of the first-order questions they face in international affairs. First and foremost among these is the question of America's role in the world. How should it handle the decline and democratization of Russia and the rise of China? What is the proper stance towards its traditional allies in Europe, East Asia and the Persian Gulf? How deeply involved should it become in crises that bear only indirectly on "vital" U.S. interests--in the Balkans or East Timor?

How has the relationship between traditional nuclear deterrence, arms control and missile defense been altered in the post--Cold War world? And what kind of military force does the United States need to meet the demands of its superpower status? It will be difficult to postpone further the search for answers; world events are increasingly pressing.

--Jane's Defense Weekly

February 23, 2000

Victory with false friends

GERMANY--In part, McCain's attraction is surely founded on his role as underdog. McCain's case, however, also demonstrates that his outsider status is not the whole story. His continuous success basically depends on three factors: his credibility as a person, his fight against corruption and for campaign finance reform and his proposal to use the surplus not only for tax cuts, but also to strengthen the retirement system and reduce the national debt.

But there is a catch for McCain. He appeals only to part of the Republican supporters, while receiving more substantial backing from independents and Democrats.

--Sueddeutsche Zeitung

February 24, 2000

Establishment vs. the underdog

GERMANY--The most exciting figure is without doubt McCain. This looks like a continuation of the Cowboy Reagan with a twist, even though McCain is a longtime senator, a traditional Washington insider. George Bush, on the other hand, puts the emphasis on tradition in all areas: family, father, money. But the well-to-do man often comes across like the tired clone of his still highly regarded father. Each of McCain's victories, like the one in Michigan, is a revolt against the eternal men of the establishment and a fiery confirmation of the most lively of American dreams: the dream of the self-made man.

--Die Welt

February 24, 2000

America rediscovers politics

ITALY--McCain's campaign for reforming the financing of politics has convinced people. His crusade magnetized twice as many of Michigan's Republicans, Independents and Democrats as voted in 1996. However, ranking Republicans, the "fat cats" as they are called, hate McCain's personality and sponsor George W.'s platform.

McCain's crusade has a moral that is also good for politics in Europe: Watch out, only those leaders who are perceived as independent, who are able to modify and mature, will be able to attract fundamental votes from independent, young citizens, who otherwise wouldn't even bother to vote.

--La Stampa

February 24, 2000

Repeating reagan's miracle

ITALY--Politics is not the realm of fairy tales. However, the United States is writing a most extraordinary one: John McCain's story, the rebel Republican candidate for the White House. It is a moving story: a young "top gun" is pulled down in the Vietnam War.

McCain lays claim to Teddy Roosevelt's and Ronald Reagan's heritage. However, within the Republican Party, John McCain is considered a "pariah." If politics really were the realm of fairy tales, McCain, not Bush, would face Gore next November. On the contrary, the story will likely have a bitter end. Currently the Republican Party seems to be willing to commit hara-kiri between reformism and conservatism.

--Corriere della Sera

February 24, 2000

Lone ranger mccain

PORTUGAL--The American--and peripheral--media universe has discovered, in the "lone ranger" McCain, the right ingredient to give some animation to a campaign that, in the beginning, did not promise any great surprises. McCain also has the added appeal of somehow seeming outside of the two-party "diktat" that has long dominated American political life.

But the media, so far fascinated by this unexpected contribution to the demanding world of spectacle politics, could one day discover that the fate of their creation is no longer under the control of its creators.

--Diario de Noticias

February 24, 2000

Mccain sets the standard

ISRAEL--Measured in narrow, conventional, political terms, the four major candidates in the race--Al Gore, George W. Bush, Bill Bradley, and John McCain--can all be considered "pro-Israel." What counts, however, is not so much the classic litany of "pro-Israel" statements-- however sincere and important--but the next president's overall approach toward America's role in the world.

Here, too, all four candidates can be counted as "internationalists" who are willing to speak out against America turning inward and eschewing its responsibilities. Of the four candidates, Senator John McCain is the only one not to mince words. "The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is the clearest danger we currently confront," says McCain. With all four presidential candidates clearly in the "pro-Israel" and internationalist camp, it is too soon to pick favorites. So far, however, McCain is setting the standard for serious discussion of how to confront the most deadly threats facing both the United States and Israel.

--Jerusalem Post

February 25, 2000

What about free trade?

AUSTRALIA--Mr. Gore, Mr. Bush and Senator McCain all profess to favor free trade and oppose a return to protection. Mr. Gore has already begun promising to ensure labor and environmental concerns are addressed in any future negotiations on world trade liberalization. Australian farmers should be wary of such talk. It smacks of protection by stealth. As last year's decision to raise tariffs on Australian lamb shows, the broad commitment to free trade in the United States can be easily forgotten for the sake of domestic political gain.

--Brisbane Courier Mail

February 28, 2000

Obsession with winners

HONG KONG--Nowhere it seems is this cult of the winner amplified more than in the presidential primary race now unfolding across the United States. "Mr. Bradley is a very decent, a very intelligent and even visionary politician," one veteran Washington Democrat insider said, reflecting a common mood. "Yes, he appears much more substantial than Gore. But he is not tough or blunt enough to win."

Bush has virtually all Republican state governors and senators on his side and an expansive operation. But his winnability remains vulnerable. If McCain can continue his run, he could start to appear to the all-important Republican establishment as someone who can pull in a wide range of votes. He could look like a winner. And, desperate for a win, they will flock to him in droves.

--South China Morning Post

February 24, 2000


CANADA--America has never experienced anything quite like the McCain phenomenon. His demeanor, courage, fortitude, honor and integrity while a Vietnamese POW for over five years make every American proud. He is a living contrast to the Clinton White House. His "straight talk" and criticism of the slippery ways of Washington financing cut across party lines. Mostly it is die-hard, status quo Republicans who are flustered and panicked by McCain's anti-establishment "people" campaign.

--Ottawa Sun

February 28, 2000

Mccain could unite the right

CANADA--John McCain has smuggled a third party into the abode of the GOP. But unlike Ronald Reagan--who was able to graft faction upon faction--McCain has energized the reform/protest party by leading it against the regular party. One way out of this dilemma for the GOP would be to nominate McCain, who would probably do a better job of holding on to Republican votes than Bush would of recapturing protest/reform votes. Failing that, Republicans need to crack the protest/reform party's code and relearn the language of their disaffected former allies.

--National Post

February 28, 2000
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Publication:World and I
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2000
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