The Spectacle Blog

Novak on McCain

By on 12.14.06 | 10:26AM

Robert Novak explains today that the anointing of John McCain as the GOP standardbearer for 2008 has begun, just as it did for Bob Dole in '96 and for President Bush in 2000.

The GOP, abhorring competition and detesting surprises, likes to establish its presidential nominee well in advance. I first appreciated this in 1996, when Robert J. Dole's candidacy was dying after he barely won in Iowa and lost New Hampshire, Arizona and Delaware. He then won eight of eight primaries on a single Tuesday. When I asked a Dole adviser how this happened, he said it was ''Dole, Inc.'' repelling outsiders seeking the nomination, Steve Forbes and Pat Buchanan.

Viewing Republican presidential campaigns through this lens finds the corporate party selecting one candidate -- and invariably nominating him. It has nothing to do with ideology.

No kidding. It's the same behavior that returned Trent Lott to power, and kept John Boehner over Mike Pence for House Minority Leader.

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