Skip to comments.Blumenthal Claims Inside Knowledge that McCain Flirted with Leaving GOP
Posted on 04/02/2008 3:46:53 AM PDT by gridlock
Clinton campaign adviser points to presumptive GOP nominee's positions on torture, taxes, global warming, tobacco and health care as evidence.
Could John McCain have been the Independent or Democratic senator from Arizona?
Though that sounds awkward, especially in the midst of a presidential race with McCain as the GOPs nominee, but one Washington insider claimed McCain considered abandoning the Republican Party.
According to Sidney Blumenthal, a senior adviser for former President Bill Clinton and current adviser to Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, at one point McCain was going to leave the Republican Party and caucus with Senate Democrats.
And although he doesnt want to talk to reporters about it now, there was a time and I was privy to some of those who were involved, did conduct negotiations through third parties about whether or not he would leave the Republican Party and become an independent more or less aligned in the Senate with the Democrats, said Blumenthal on April 1. Blumenthal did not say when those negotiations took place.
Although McCain has disappointed some members of the conservative movement, Blumenthal said he did not think this would hurt McCain on Election Day.
Blumenthal even supplied advice for McCain.
So I do not think this will hurt him and if I were advising McCain right now, I would say hes slightly overreacting to his conservative base, McCain said. I dont think he needs to do that so much. I think they dont have any choice right now.
(Excerpt) Read more at businessandmedia.org ...
Sadly, this DOES pass the smell test.
Although McCain has disappointed some members of the conservative movement, Blumenthal said he did not think this would hurt McCain on Election Day.
That passes as “thought?” - Dream on.
Considered? I think he left the Republican Party a long time ago.
“Sadly, this DOES pass the smell test.”
Smells like Clintonian politics. Whom do we know, who has Sid in her pocket, who would like to take McCain down a couple pegs before election day?
Sidney and McQueeg sittin’ in a tree....
Quelle shock! NON.
No, it doesn’t.
Isn’t this the “Grassy Knoll” guy who just got a DUI in New Hampshire?
Ah kin rite gooder thannn this ol' boy.
True that. I can vote for JM based solely on the CinC role of the President. That is enough, I guess.
Yes it does. McCain hates the conservative movement.
Looks like McCain was several years ahead of many FReepers who have been threatening to do the same thing this year. I guess sticking in there and toughing it out pays off in the long run. I hope this strategy never works for Ron Paul...
Sidney’s own lil’ Op Chaos ...
This is NO lord McCain hit piece, actually sounds like a soothing call to liberals, that no matter who gets elected liberals will control government.
This republican party loyalty thing constantly touted by democrats seems like a non starter to me. It's rather obvious McCain did NOT join the democrat party and I'm unimpressed by their claims he "considered" it.
Blumenthal says he knew people who talked to McCain about this, McCain didn’t do it and Blumenthal wasn’t there. So this proves exactly what? I know people who talked to Hilary about not wearing pants suits anymore. Apparently she didn’t accept that advice, either.
When Sid Blumenthal opens his mouth, you can be certain it is a calculated effort to help the Clintons. He is a hatchet without a handle. He knows only one thing.
He is Sid Vicious, and that is all he is. I would not consider him for insight or information, because I know that he always has one over-reaching motivation, which is to help the Clintons.
How could he leave the GOP when he never was a member?
I’ll throw my vote away by voting for a conservative. McCain can have the liberals.
Why did these guys not come forward earlier? Seems pretty self-interested now.
“No, it doesnt.”
For once Syd is telling the truth, and the truth has been out there — this is not news. I wrote about all the details of this, here on FR, during the run-up to the SC primary.
Can you talk one into running that can attract enough conservative support to make a difference?
We spent all last year looking for the “right” conservative, and ended up with John McCain. That was partly the fault of conservatives.
OK. But, the truth retold at this juncture by this pinhead doesn’t pass the smell test. If you had told me 10 years ago any freeper would be promoting the comments of this clown I would have said it would never happen. I would have been wrong.
If there was a creditable third party candidate, if Perot were fresh and new, he could win this year.
The next 4 years are going to be a mess, a mess and big mess. The US Congress is lead by dolts and poltroons. There is zero conservative leadership. No one is using the Democrat Party crack up to present the conservative/libertarian solutions for America's problems.
You'd think with the internet lowering barriers to getting information out, there'd be one conservative/libertarian politician building for the future. There is no one grasping this opportunity.
One thing in this world that you can be absolutely, positively certain of, and that is that Sidney Blumenthal does not have the Republicans' interest at heart.
Is Sid phoning this story in from the drunk tank?
Just to be abundantly clear, I am not promoting the comments of this clown. I posted this thread because I thought it was interesting that Sid Blumenthal was trying to inject himself into our well-drilled Republican Circular Firing Squad.
I posted the following here on FR on 2-21-08, so what Blumenthal is asserting is hardly news. The New Republic has covered this aspect of McCain for years, no doubt with McCain’s blessing.
The NY Times McCain Hit-Piece: the key is Weaver
self | 2-21-08 | WL-Law
Posted on 02/21/2008 12:06:32 PM PST by WL-law
Claims that the charges against McCain are unsourced leave out one source that is prominently mentioned: John Weaver.
So who is he, and can he be believed?
I recall that Weavers name was directly associated with the stories, delivered to the press in the 2004 Bush-Kerry contest, that McCain was flirting with an offer floated by Kerry to become Kerrys running mate.
In the retelling of that story by the Kerry people, the person who is square in the middle of the discussions and negotiations was — John Weaver.
When McCains campaign was imploding, back in the fall 07, because the campaign was spending much, much more than it was taking in, and because McCain had hired too big of a staff, Weavers name was again prominent in the press
For example, here are excerpts from a Washington Post story:
Top Aides Leave McCain Camp
Senator Retools Campaign Team as Money and Support Fall Off
By Dan Balz and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
In the mid-1990s, years before Sen. John McCain officially launched his first bid to become president, it was John Weaver who convinced the senator that he had all the ingredients to win the GOP nomination and the Oval Office.
Officially launched his first bid to become president, it was John Weaver who convinced the senator that he had all the ingredients to win the GOP nomination and the Oval Office.
Weaver — a lanky, fidgety Republican strategist with a deceptively low-key Southern drawl — would go on to become one of McCain’s closest advisers during the 2000 race, an architect of the “Straight Talk Express.” .. On Tuesday, McCain parted ways with his longtime aide and engineered a dramatic shake-up of his presidential campaign team as he sought to reverse a months-long downward spiral that has left him short of cash and struggling for support.
The stunning developments unfolded quickly yesterday morning after Weaver and campaign manager Terry Nelson, a key member of President Bush’s 2004 reelection team, issued terse statements announcing their departures from the McCain camp.
McCain quickly installed Rick Davis, the campaign’s chief executive, as the new manager and vowed to press forward despite months of disappointing news. Davis long had sparred with Nelson, Weaver and Mark Salter, one of McCain’s closest confidants, over operations.
..Two other senior officials — political director Rob Jesmer and deputy campaign manager Reed Galen — followed Nelson and Weaver out the door, as did several lower-level aides.
In a brief encounter with reporters in the Capitol, McCain sought to portray the extraordinary changes as nothing significant. Speaking of the departures of Weaver and Nelson, he said: “I can only say repeatedly what I have told you. They remain valued and strong friends, our campaign remains the same...”
Over the past two weeks, according to multiple sources, McCain had several tense conversations with Nelson and Weaver over the campaign’s direction and, in particular, the amount of money being spent long after it was clear that fundraising was falling far short of projections.
Now, here is Weaver again, as the person behind the McCain-Kerry VP solicitations in 2004:
John Kerry: McCain’s ‘people ... approached me’ in 2004
Tue, 3 Apr 2007
In an interview with Jonathan Singer of the liberal blog MyDD.com, Senator Kerry of Massachusetts says that Senator McCain of Arizona, or at least his staff, approached him about becoming his running mate in 2004
Jonathan Singer: There’s a story in The Hill, I think on Tuesday, by Bob Cusack on the front page of the paper talking about how John McCain’s people — John Weaver — had approached Tom Daschle and a New York Congressman, I don’t remember his name, about switching parties. And I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about what your discussions were with him in 2004, how far it went, who approached whom... if there was any “there” there.
John Kerry: I don’t know all the details of it. I know that Tom, from a conversation with him, was in conversation with a number of Republicans back then. It doesn’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.
Singer: Okay. And just to confirm, you said it, but this is something they approached you rather than...
Kerry: Absolutely correct. John Weaver of his shop... [JK answers phone]
..Kerry had apparently been thinking of McCain as a possible running mate for some time; in August, 2003, he met with him to propose the idea and to suggest that they announce their pact before the Iowa caucus, according to a McCain aide. Then, in the spring of 2004, in a series of phone conversations with McCain, Kerry offered to augment the power of the Vice-Presidency with the defense portfolio—in effect, a combined Vice-President and Secretary of Defense, according to John Weaver and Mark Salter. “ .
What else do we know about Weaver? I found this by Jonathan Chait, editor of the New Republic. Yes the same mag that was coming out with its own version of the McCain story, and thereby rushed the NT times to release the story it had been sitting on. And Note that the conversation cited with Weaver was BEFORE Weaver was let go by McCain in the above cited belt-tightening and the power struggle with Davis.
Why John McCain is the Democrats best hope.Whats in a Name?
by Jonathan Chait
Issue date 04.29.2002
John Weaver hunches his angular frame over a Styrofoam cup of coffee in the basement cafeteria of the United States Senate and tries to explain what might seemto an outsiderhis peculiar political loyalties. Once a loyal Republican strategist who directed the presidential aspirations of über-conservative Phil Gramm and helped plot John McCains maverick primary run in 2000, he has since reregistered as a Democrat and severed consulting ties to all Republicans except McCain, for whom he still serves as chief strategist. I only work for Democrats now, he tells me. Noticing that he has overlooked the party affiliation of his most prominent advisee, I helpfully add: And John McCain. Weaver shrugs his shoulders and grins, Oh, right.
Its easy to forget that the Arizona senator is not, in fact, a Democrat. In the past year he has stood against his party on so many prominent and contentious issues that his concurrences with GOP dogma have become more of an exception than a rule. In the conservative media, he has become a figure of vilification on par with Tom Daschle. Last fall, when his name came up in a meeting of House Republicans, he was booed. And it is no exaggeration to say that he has co-sponsored virtually the entire domestic agenda of the Democratic Party. One prominent Democrat enthuses, Hes the leader of the loyal opposition. Typically that role falls to a leader of the opposition party. But the most popular and effective champion of the Democratic Partys values isnt Tom Daschle. Its John McCain. And at a moment when the party is casting about for a leader to define it against a popular president, and McCain is casting about for a home after his virtual expulsion from the GOP, there is an obvious solution to both dilemmas: John McCain ought to become a Democratand a presumptive front-runner for the partys presidential nomination in 2004.
Its strange that amidst all the political gossip about a McCain third-party candidacy, Washington has barely considered the far more logical possibility of a McCain second-party candidacy. Last summer one senator informed Newsweek that McCain himself has discussed the idea. I know hes looked at our field and said to himself, I could take these guys, the (presumably Democratic) senator explained. Yet the capitals political rumor industry, which usually requires only the flimsiest scrap of data to launch a speculative frenzy, completely ignored this tidbit. The conventional wisdom seems to be that Democrats wouldnt accept McCain. Elizabeth Drew, whose recent book Citizen McCain reflects the McCainiac worldview, writes, McCain, with his conservative record on issues such as abortion, would never be welcome in the Democratic Party. But while McCains historical voting record may be conservative, his recent record in Congress is anything but. In off-the-record conversations, Republicans argued that Democrats would never accept McCain, while Democratseven very liberal onessaid just the opposite. The assumption that McCain is at ideological loggerheads with the Democratic Party either misunderstands McCain, or the Democratic Party, or both.
Mmmmm. Weaver was also behind the McCain move to join the Democrats in 2001, and tip the majority of the Senate away from the Republicans before Jim Jeffords pre-empted McCain.
Democrats say McCain nearly abandoned GOP(The Hill)
By Bob Cusack 03/28/07
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.) famously announced his decision to become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions.
In interviews with The Hill this month, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and ex-Rep. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) said there were nearly two months of talks with the maverick lawmaker following an approach by John Weaver, McCains chief political strategist.
Democrats had contacted Jeffords and then-Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) in the early months of 2001 about switching parties, but in McCains case, they said, it was McCains top strategist who came to them.
At the end of their March 31, 2001 lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Bethesda, Md., Downey said Weaver asked why Democrats hadnt asked McCain to switch parties.
Downey, a well-connected lobbyist, said he was stunned. Youre really wondering? Downey said he told Weaver. What do you mean youre wondering?
Well, if the right people asked him, Weaver said, according to Downey, adding that he responded, The calls will be made. Who do you want? Weaver this week said he did have lunch with Downey that spring, pointing out that he and Downey are very good friends.
Within seconds of arriving home from his lunch with Weaver, Downey said he was on the phone to the most powerful Democrats in town. One of the first calls he made was to then-Senate Minority Leader Daschle.
I did take the call from Tom [Downey], Daschle said in an interview. It was Weavers comment to Downey that started the McCain talks, he added.
.. McCain consistently shot down the rumors, though Weaver acknowledged this week that the senator did talk to Democrats about leaving the GOP.
He said McCain was invited to a meeting in Kennedys office with several other Democratic senators but didnt know what the meeting was for and left soon thereafter. Weaver added that Edwards approached McCain on the Senate floor to discuss the matter.
Daschle, however, said the talks went much further, claiming that there were times that he and Democratic leaders thought McCain might be our best opportunity.
Daschle stressed that McCain never considered becoming a Democrat, but was close to becoming an Independent. Downey said, I actually thought during the initial stages of this that [McCain leaving the Republican Party] was almost a certain deal.
Weaver, who changed his party affiliation to Democrat several years ago, said he respects Daschle and Downey, but added, Theyre partisan Democrats and were in the political season.
Told of Weavers version of what happened, Daschle said, Obviously, our recollection of what transpired is somewhat different.
Downey said he talked to Weaver at least once a week during McCains discussions with Democrats, asking him questions like, What is the state of play? and Where are we?
Weaver was very active in this, Downey said, None of this happens without Weaver.
Hmm.. So heres my theory. Weaver had been playing the role of McCains alter-ego, in the alternate-universe version where McCain is a democrat. Weaver has been McCains front-man for McCain’s flirtations with both the Dems AND the MSM media, including the NY Times. And this back-room line of communication is why the MSM loves McCain — as many have pointed out, the MSM really has BECOME McCain’s constituency. Chaits article, which I excerpted, merely reveals this.
And so — when Weaver was dumped by McCain in a power struggle, and McCain indicated that was implicitly going to submerge his democrat persona and go butch as a conservative, Weaver got fired, and Weaver turned on McCain. Weaver went to the Times with this. And when McCain finally declared, in essence, that he was going to resolve his political ambiguity by staying republican and seeking the nomination (eschewing a 3rd party run or a cross-over), then the MSM infatuation chilled, and the NY Times started sharpening the knife.
The Times wanted to sit on their hit-job until after the convention but word got out to the New Republic. The New Republic, and its writer Jonathan Chait, had long been working on the McCain-as-Democrat theme, and they were anxious to run with the story NOW, and not sit on it for maximum damage to the republicans.
Thats what I see in this.
Big deal... so what? I flirt with the idea of leaving the GOP daily. ;-)
Word to Sid and McCain. There are always choices. They may not be good choices, but there are choices.
I haven't decided how to vote, yet. To me, it's an open question, whether McCain would be worse for the country than Obama/Hillary. I think McCain, as a Democrat in GOP clothing, would be able to split the GOP and get his insane policies through the Congress, while the GOP would unite to oppose Obama/Hillary.
I think with Obama/Hillary, we could have a replay of Bill Clinton's first term and get the Dem's thrown out in disgust after a couple of years. I think either one, actually all three, would be one term Presidents.
Who's worse for the county is an open question, we'll see how this plays out this year and make a decision. I don't think I could vote for Bob Barr as the libertarian and I don't think the Constitution Party will be on the Michigan ballot. There's always the Write-In option.
Hey Sid, STFU and serve your DUI sentence.
So, Senator McCainiac is a Democrap mole!
What a pair.
This actually helps McCain cut into the moderate-liberal vote. I’m surprised that Blumenthal came out with it.
McCain’s “global warming” speech signals the same thing. McCain is after the moderate-liberals to counterweight his loss of strong conservatives (and so he can ignore making any promises to conservatives.)
My guess is that he’ll pick Mitt Romney as VP. Two reasons: (1) Romney has a liberal record and conservatives have mixed feelings about him. (2) Romney knows that the VP slot is his step up to the White House, so he’ll dump some of his own money and/or monied connections into the campaign.
I wish this story had legs NOW...this would push McNut to choose a CONSERVATIVE VP.
Hillary's aide - Sidney Blumenthal
There once was a low-life, name of Sidney.
Who passed along dregs, like a kidney,
He did Hillary's work,
Like some low-level clerk,
And had morals as pliable as a squid knee.
Old FR thread : Condi's trail of lies Salon ^ | Dec. 8, 2005 | By Sidney Blumenthal
“I dont think he needs to do that so much. I think they dont have any choice right now.”
Sorry, thought this was America. Guess I made a wrong turn.....
“I think they dont have any choice right now.”
Conservatives don’t have a choice. So McNasty should stop lying about being a conservative and run a campaign totally dedicated to Libs.
It does McNasty no good to continue to try and fool conservatives into giving him money. We aren’t mind numb Libs willing to believe in his carp.
McCain is a disaster for this party.