I Told You Republicans Wanted Obama 4 Prez

Say hello to Wayne Gilchrest, the only elected representative from either party to endorse the opposing party’s ticket.  Gilchrest, a “maverick” (I want to shudder at the mention of the word, but it seems that at least for this guy the title still applies), endorsed Obama today during an interview, saying,  “we can’t use four more years of the same kind of policy that’s somewhat haphazard, which leads to recklessness.”

Party defectors tend to make big news, but I’m not sure this one will be.  Gilchrest is apparently known for bucking the party line, and has in fact already lost the primary to hold his seat and is retiring from congress at the end of his term.

But what this endorsement does for me is further confirm the suspicion that support for McCain even within the party isn’t so much a true belief in Republican ideals so much as winning for the sake of winning.  This is an observation I first made during my brief break from blogging, and I have yet to really see any need to discount that observation now.

It’s not just that the McCain campaign doesn’t want this election to be about issues; it’s that the entire Republican base doesn’t want or even seem to care about the issues.  Instead it seems more as though the heavy push (largely ignited by Sarah Palin), is more about winning for the sake of winning, and preserving a party brand that at one point was so successful in the political arena.

Put another way, while I do not discount that there are many, millions in fact, supporters who honestly believe McCain would make a better president (which, frankly, boggles my mind); for far too many, the wellbeing of the country is simply not a factor.

On a similarly related note, Senator Chuck Hagel also throws another hint that he won’t be voting for the McCain Palin ticket:

“She [Palin] doesn’t have any foreign policy credentials,” Hagel said Wednesday in an interview. “You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don’t know what you can say. You can’t say anything.”

Palin was elected governor of Alaska in 2006 and before that was the mayor of a small town.

Democrats have raised questions about Palin since Sen. John McCain picked her as his vice presidential running mate. Most national Republican officeholders have rallied to Palin’s candidacy.

Palin has cited the proximity of Alaska to Russia as evidence of her international experience.

Hagel scoffed at that notion.

“I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, ‘I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia,'” he said. “That kind of thing is insulting to the American people.”

Now, I would love to see an eleventh hour endorsement from Hagel.  But, being more realistic, what I think will happen from him is that he’s going to honor his decision not to endorse, but when he gets in the voting booth, that lever is getting pulled for Obama.

The fact is, Hagel still may hold presidential ambitions of his own, and endorsing Obama now would likely kill them.  It would be one thing if Hagel was more in line with the Democratic platform, but outside of foreign policy and national security, he’s far too conservative for the Democratic party to provide an amicable home for him.

No, if Hagel wants a future in politics, it’ll be with the Republican party.  It’s just that right now you get the feeling that Chuck thinks his party may have just lost its damn mind.

He wouldn’t be alone.

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