Opinion: Ticket video chat: Matt Welch on ‘McCain Myth of a Maverick’ -- VII


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This is the seventh and second to last chapter in our video conversation with former Times writer, Matt Welch, who’s written a new examination of the personal and political personnas of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

In this episode Welch discusses what he calls ‘McCain’s Ron Paul problem,’ a smallish but very dedicated splinter group of libertarian Republicans who back the 10-term congressman from Texas. Paul captured about 1.1 million GOP primary votes this season while collecting nearly $35 million, more than McCain had for a while.


Welch sees McCain’s policies of a strong federal government, though with curbed spending, combined with McCain’s enduring support for the Iraq war and Paul’s antipathy to what he sees as empire-building as prohibiting any kind of real rapprochement between the two camps for the Nov. 4 election.

Also McCain could risk loss of support among independents and moderates if he was to taxi too far to the right to accommodate Paulites. In a close election the Paul group’s votes or their absence could make the difference between a McCain or Barack Obama presidency, as some of them are likely to drift over to Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party, although that too is split.

Part I of our conversation with Welch is available here, Part II is available here, Part III is here, Part IV is here, Part V is here, Part VI is here. Part VIII will be published on The Ticket Wednesday.

Samples of Welch’s writing as a Times staffer are available here.

--Andrew Malcolm