Rod Dreher over at NRO’s The Corner has read John Derbyshire’s latest in which he predicts that the U.S. won’t go to war with Iraq and sees an opportunity for the Democrats to outflank the Republicans if the Bush adminstration does, indeed, go wobbly:
Say the Democrats found a candidate willing to flank Bush on the right regarding the conduct of the war. Say this candidate was able to speak prophetically about the true threat the West faces from militant Islam, whence his tough-minded views on the need for the U.S. to get more aggressive with the Arab world, both militarily and diplomatically. Let’s say he favored slamming the door shut on immigrants from Islamic countries for the time being, and sending Islamic students studying here on visas home — and was able to face down both the media squishes and the left within his own party over this. And let’s say he was able to persuade voters (with the help of, say, another massive 9/11-style attack from terrorists) that the danger of Islamofascism to American interests made conflicts over domestic issues like tax policy, abortion, gay marriage, etc. — on which he could be fairly liberal — not so important. Anyway, if the Dems were able to come up with that kind of Scoop Jackson-like candidate — an American Pim Fortuyn, in other words — do you not think he would be formidable? Do you not think he would stand to win over swing voters, and in so doing move domestic policy to the left? Is there anyone like this on the Democratic horizon — or for that matter, on the Republican horizon (Bush could be challenged in the GOP primary, after all)?
Is it just me, or did Rod just describe John McCain (or at least, an idealized version of what John McCain could be…)? That whole McCain-Should-Run-As-A-Democrat thing was all the rage a few weeks back, but Dreher’s scenario is the first thing I’ve seen that puts in place a realistic set of conditions that might make it feasible…
(be sure to read Derbyshire’s article — it’s excellent, if, as Dreher says, depressing…)