Renewed interest seems to be sparking Republican hopeful John McCain's campaign as the Arizona senator and former prisoner of war garnered endorsements from the liberal Boston Globe, moderate Des Moines Register and conservative Manchester Union-Leader.
That Republicans may be taking a second look at McCain on the eve of the Iowa caucuses is fitting because, at the end of the day, it isn't about ideological purity but rather who can win the whole enchildada.
Those who dismiss McCain as too liberal forget that his American Conservative Union rating is over 80%. The Des Moines Register pegged it right when it said that he has the experience to do the job even though the newspaper doesn't always agree with him.
It may well be that McCain is the devil we know as opposed to the one we don't.
Of the possibilities, Rudy Giuliani has a chunk of support but, like McCain, a number of enemies, too. McCain, however, has experience outside of New York City.
Mitt Romney, the once front-runner in Iowa, is being seen as too conservative by some, too wishy-washy by others and his speech on religion and politics seemed to muddy the waters rather than clear the issue. Nobody ever successfully accused McCain of being wishy-washy.
The 11th hour right-wing darling, Fred Thompson, may have to grapple with Ron Paul for the fringe vote. At least Paul had the integrity to enter the campaign early and with well-defined positions instead of "I'll get back to you on that." Thompson is too much of an actor and, having known Ronald Reagan, I can assure you that Fred Thompson is no Ronald Reagan (no matter how hard he tries). Thompson is no dummy, to be sure, but you have to have a broader base of support and range of policies in order to win the big one. The "Shiite wing" of the Republican party has long failed to recognize this.
With either Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama the likely Democratic nominee, the question really is who among the Republican field stands the best chance of fighting off the left-wing. On that basis alone it may well boil down to either (pro-life) McCain or (pro-choice) Giuliani.
There's a few things I don't like about McCain but at the end of the day his military experience, senatorial experience and willingness to engage in straight talk may well be what this country needs.