That’s what David Frum has to say in an excellent new column.
Reason number one: “Conservative Republicans likewise do not trust John McCain. And candidates who cannot win the trust of their parties do not win their parties’ primaries.”
I’d buy that.
Reason number two: “Then there’s a second–and more important–catch: Call it the Eisenhower catch. The American presidency is the supreme executive job on planet Earth. And American voters not unreasonably tend to demand executive experience from job applicants.”
John McCain, for all his winsome appeal over the TV camera, has never managed anything bigger than a senator’s office. By contrast, McCain’s Republican opponents include two outstanding executives:
Rudy Giuliani, the most successful mayor in U.S. history, who cut New York City’s crime rate by two thirds, restored its economy and personally managed the 9/11 emergency response; and also Mitt Romney, a successful businessman, who went on to save the 2002 Olympics from scandal and disaster, and then won election as a Republican governor in Massachusetts, where he balanced the state’s budget and widened health coverage without raising taxes.
Romney lacks McCain’s name recognition; Giuliani is even more to the left on social issues than McCain. But as Republicans review the experience of the past 6 years–from 9/11 to Iraq to Harriet Miers to Katrina–many of them may decide: Management matters.
McCain may prove a brilliant manager. The American public may decide that we are never too old to try new things. They may decide to trust the country to a candidate who, if elected, will be simultaneously the oldest president in American history and the least experienced since John F. Kennedy. They may decide these things. But if history offers any guidance, they probably won’t.