When did John McCain go from being an also-ran to being a serious contender, and eventually the Republican nominee (as tonight’s wins effectively assure, despite the valiant campaign run by our hero, Mike Huckabee)? One man’s opinion: the turning point in the 2008 Republican campaign came on December 27, in a land far, far away. When the news of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto reached American ears, a whole lot of people began to think about issues of national security. Not Iraq; that’s been on our minds for some time. But the shock of the death of Bhutto brought home once again to Americans that we live in a mighty dangerous world (at least to Republicans; the notion doesn’t seem to have dawned on Democrats, hell-bent as they seem to be on nominating the most singularly unqualified candidate in my lifetime—more on that later). John McCain, for his good and for his faults, is the Republican candidate who best seems to understand that, and best seems prepared to deal with it. If you go to the polls, you’ll note that McCain’s resurgence began in the days just following Bhutto’s assassination.
Would John McCain be the Republican nominee if Benazir Bhutto were still alive? Who knows, but my guess is that the answer is “no”.