I was reading Peggy Noonan’s article (They’re Paying Attention Now) this morning, when I stumbled on an interesting passage:
I still think a one-term pledge could win it for him, because it would allow America to punt. It would make the 2008 choice seem less fateful. People don’t mind the chance to defer a choice when they’re not at all sure about the product. … it would allow Mr. McCain to say he means to face the tough problems ahead with a uniquely bipartisan attitude and without having to care a fig for re-election. That itself would give him a new power, one that would make up for the lost juice of lame duckdom. It would also serve to separate him from the hyperpolitical operating styles of the Clinton-Bush years, from the constant campaign.
And Mr. McCain would still have what he always wanted, the presidency, perhaps a serious and respectable one that accrued special respect because it involved some sacrifice on his part.
To me, this is a radical idea that might or might not work.
On the one hand, it could play as she thinks it might—he may be able to say that he’s bipartisan, and that he can be a bridge builder and a person to calm the rhetoric. The question here is, would we believe him?
The other hand is not so rosy—besides the doubts that people would have on this pledge (remember “no. new. taxes.”) and whether it was just a gimmick that would be thrown away in four years, if they did believe him would they think that he really didn’t want it because he wasn’t willing to fight for it again?
I’m not sure how it would play, but in an election season that’s seen a lot of firsts, this would certainly make it all the more interesting.
What do you think?