How McCain Could Help Bradley (and Vice Versa)

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Get out those hammers and nails, George, and start building yourself a platform. Early Monday afternoon, John McCain – considered by most pundits as the only viable opposition to George W. Bush for the GOP presidential nomination – formally announced his candidacy. McCain, a former Navy pilot and POW, has distinguished himself from his vague but popular rival by making himself very clear on a few issues: He believes strongly in campaign finance reform, urges an improvement in the standard of living of military families, wants to pay teachers according to merit and would institute a nationwide test of school vouchers. While there are a few unresolved monkeys on McCain’s back, including the pesky abortion issue, his generally clear-cut positions stand in stark relief to Bush’s campaign, which has so far steered clear of releasing any major policy proposals.

It's not only Republicans who will be watching McCain's fortunes against Bush. As Democrats go through the process of selecting their candidate, they will undoubtedly weigh up how their two front-runners, Al Gore and Bill Bradley, will fare against each of the GOP candidates. In this regard, there is a certain synergy between McCain and Bradley; conversely, McCain’s fate in the Republican party could be directly proportionate to Bradley’s progress in the Democratic primaries. While the two men disagree on some controversial issues, like abortion, they share a dissatisfaction with the political status quo that will appeal to the many voters fed up with politics as usual and the perceived entitlement of Bush and Gore.