New Republic Editor: McCain Could Be 'Nixon-to-China' on Global Warming

     Sen. John McCain just got an endorsement he probably wasn’t expecting.

     The New Republic’s editor, Franklin Foer, wasn’t all that glum about the possibility of John McCain defeating Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. Foer told an audience at the Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. on February 1 that he thought McCain had the best track record on global warming and a McCain presidency could offer some interesting “possibilities.”

     “[I] think that McCain has certain political virtues that other Republicans don’t, which is that he actually has kind of a record of being, of being conciliatory – that there’s actually – I mean, I don’t what it means for the electoral future of the Democratic Party, but there are the possibilities for doing some interesting things with McCain as a leader, and I’m mostly thinking about global warming – where McCain has the best track record on energy and environment on the Republican side in the Senate,” Foer concluded. “So, I think you have some really good possibility for a Nixon-to-China type solution to climate change if he decides that that’s going to be the thing he is going to use to build a bridge.”

     Foer was promoting his book, “Election 2008: A Voter’s Guide.” He told the audience he couldn’t imagine the consequences of “a McCain presidency with Democrats in a ticked-off minority.” But he said McCain’s biggest challenge as president would be taking on his own party.

     “McCain will have his on problems if he is president which is a lot of the base that basically doesn’t like him,” Foer said.

     Foer referred to the Ann Coulter segment that appeared on Fox News “Hannity & Colmes” on January 31 as evidence of this.

     “[S]o Ann Coulter goes on and she basically says if John McCain is the nominee, she is voting for Hillary Clinton because John McCain is more liberal than Hillary Clinton.  And she goes through on issue after issue after issue on how she trusts Hillary Clinton more than John McCain on the issues.  So, it’s hard to imagine with a John McCain presidency he is going to have to deal with these lunatics who basically despise him. That’ll be, that’ll be a treat.”

     Foer also said global warming activist and former Vice President Al Gore had the opportunity to be king-maker, and he wasn’t sure why any of the candidates weren’t putting that issue front-and-center more.

     “He’s the ‘Big Kahuna’ of endorsements,” Foer said. “Obama and Edwards were talking to – were basically on the phone every to Gore every couple of weeks begging him to support them. I’m kind of surprised that they haven’t gone more overboard in trying to pander to Gore on global warming, because it’s obviously the way to the guy’s heart.”

      However, Foer said it wasn’t likely to happen in time to make enough of a difference in the Clinton-Obama race.

     “I wonder if he is looking at Bill Clinton right now and looking at the way in which Bill Clinton, by throwing himself into the fray as aggressively as he has, has kind of diminished himself. I think that in Gore’s mind, I would imagine the Clinton-Gore comparison is something that’s kind of that he can’t get away from. Just to think about, he’s preserving his kind of prestige and his power within the party by keeping his powder dry.”

     Foer added the failure of Howard Dean to win the party’s nomination in 2004 after the Gore endorsement is probably a reason for Gore’s reluctance to endorse a candidate. 

     “The other thing is the Howard Dean endorsement of 2004 has got to be on his mind, too, which was obviously a sad gamble for Al Gore,” Foer said. “He thought he was doing something kind of renegade. Here was the guy who had a lot of cool technology working for him and young people were.”