The Corner

McCain the frontrunner

There is clearly a lot of truth to the Novak column today that Jonathan brought up earlier. Two slight cautions, though. 1) He is not in as strong a position as Bush in 1999, when almost the entire Republican establishment rushed down to Austin to kiss his ring. Having Sens. Lott and Roberts is better than the alternative, but it doesn’t necessarily make for a juggernaut. 2) Not to sound like JPod, but the odd thing about McCain as the frontrunner is that he is coming in second in polls, something that wasn’t true of establishment front-runners in the past. He’s trailing to Giuliani, of course. Now maybe all that Giuliani support goes to McCain if Giuliani doesn’t make it, but at the moment it seems obvious that McCain is the frontrunner, though not necessarily an overwhelming one. Final note: I thought this “common sense conservatism” speech McCain gave at GOPAC a few weeks ago was quite good.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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