MEMORANDUM -- EYES ONLY
From: Sen. John McCain
To: Republican National Committee
Re: Proposed Arrangement
As per your request, I'm reducing to writing our agreement regarding my nomination as Republican candidate for the presidency. Though I eschew closed door arrangements, I understand your desire that our agreement be reduced to writing to protect the party's interests and insure the future thereof.
First, some straight talk: I'm well aware that I am not the party's first choice for its 2008 nominee. I recognize that my contrariness over the years has reduced much of my stature among the party faithful. In my defense, I've always tried to do what I thought best, though in retrospect it is now obvious that many of my attempts to cross the aisle in the Senate have resulted in bad law and even worse outcomes. McCain-Feingold, our feckless though good-hearted attempt to regulate political speech, was a major disaster, I'll admit. It just goes to show how hard it is to draft legislation; you try to foresee every contingency. Who would have predicted the free-for-all that resulted from the 527 organizations, both left and right?
I know, I know. You predicted it, and I now stand corrected. I think my position on border security was defensible, even now, though I admit I am in a shrinking minority in this. And me from Arizona! Yet, as I've said on the stump, the longest I've lived in any one place is the Hanoi Hilton. I hope I can be excused for not identifying sufficiently with my fellow border-staters. I will do better.
But what finally nearly sealed my changed views has been my stance on environmental issues. I truly believed Kyoto was a good idea; I believe in global warming (or cooling or whatever they're calling it this week). When the nomination was in sight but gas prices were not, I reluctantly signed on to off-shore drilling. I thought that would be enough to satisfy the base, but again, I misunderestimated (to coin a word) my own base. Two decades in Washington, D.C. have apparently done their mischief, even to me.
Now they're clamoring for ANWR drilling, which I still don't want to do. I know, I know, I haven't even been up there (not even to see Sarah), and I know the size of the site is equivalent to a postage stamp on a football field, but I hope you understand how hard it is for me to change from being a maverick to toeing the party line.
Ah, you say, but you co-opted BHO's rhetoric for change, so what's the problem? And you're right, you're right. I've got a few more "fine tunings of my position" left in me, to quote my prompter-dependent opponent, so ANWR is now on the chopping block. And I'll read that Crichton book about global warming that Karl sent over and try to have an open mind.
All this being said, I knew that my pick for Veep was crucial. I thought long and hard about it. My advisers wanted me to go with one of my primary opponents, to show I don't hold as hard a grudge as many allege. But Romney was too Mormon (and too young, tall, and good-looking, to be truthful). Huckabee gave me the creeps with his fundamentalist roots (I know you remember my regretful comments about JF being an "agent of intolerance") and physical transformation (how could a guy be fat for so long and then suddenly lose it all? Did he suddenly acquire self-control?). Rudy would have been good (he can melt ice with his disdainful sneer), but I can't help but feel there are bogeymen in his past he just couldn't let off the leash. Thompson (still my choice for SC, or if he wants it, SecState) apparently just didn't want it bad enough. If he'd had half as much energy in debates as he puts into his Townhall column, he'd have slayed me up there. Plus, people loved him in that Indiana Jones movie.
None of my challengers seemed quite right. So I stopped looking inside the beltway and began looking at my base and what they wanted. And it came to me like a revelation: Sarah Palin, the ultimate feminist/stay-at-home hockey mom who took on the oil companies in Alaska. I liked how she rejected the ultimate earmark, that stupid Bridge to Nowhere. Her selection, I reasoned, would solidify the maverick moniker I've fought so hard for (some say unwisely, but let's let that go), and she'd galvanize the base which was, to put it mildly, rather tepid about me.
And boy, was I pleasantly surprised! She did that and more. You folks at the RNC were tickled with her choice as VP and I saw more than one person nodding, mouthing the word "Reagan."
Well . . . I knew Ronald Reagan. I served with Ronald Reagan. And I know . . . I'm no Ronald Reagan.
So here's my offer: If the RNC will truly get behind my candidacy (I know you were soft-pedaling the entire project prior to my choice of Palin) and get out the vote for November, I'll promise you this:
1. I will continue to manage the war effort just as W has, with additional pressure on Pakistan to either deliver OBL or watch team after team of SEALS violate their border every night until we get him or his corpse.
2. I will continue my popular assault on earmarks. I'll use the presidential veto as never before and will, as I said publicly a few days ago, "make those who sponsor earmarks famous."
3. Just after the House reconvenes in October to vote on whether to maintain the off-shore drilling ban or let it lapse, I will announce that given the state of the economy, overwhelming public opinion, and the high cost of gas, I will fully support drilling in ANWR and let the caribou and polar bears sidle up to the pipeline for some much-needed warmth during the long Alaskan winter. I will also forget I ever heard of Kyoto. And I'll read that book. Hell, I'll even give time in one of my presidential debates for Crichton and Gore to square off. I'd like to emcee for a change; show my Jack Barry chops.
4. Supreme Court: More justices like Alito and Roberts. 'Nuff said.
5. I will bring Palin forward as the most involved VP in history. She'll be in every cabinet meeting, every NatSec meeting, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner (though with size of our combined families, I'm sure we'll all need an extended vacation afterwards!) because I know she represents not only the core of the Republican party, but its noble past and its hopeful future.
6. And after my term(s) (I can hope, can't I?) expire, I promise to shepherd Sarah Palin into the presidency. I know my time as leader of this party will be an aberration from what you folks at the RNC really want, but if I give you the justices you desire, keep America secure and taxes low, then the next generation (Palin, et al) can worry about reversing Roe, taking the culture back from the Hollywood miscreants, and further solidify the Court.
That's the deal. I know I'm not the guy you folks were hoping for. I even saw a "McWhatshisname/Palin" bumper sticker the other day, so I know exactly where I stand. I may have stood last in my class at Annapolis, but I stand behind no one when it comes to keeping my word. If you do your part, I'll do mine. Count on it.