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Date sent:              Sun, 03 Jun 2001 17:36:12 -0700
From:                   Anna M* <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject:                IUFO: Another party fugative
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        June 3, 2001
Revenge, Served Hot
WASHINGTON No matter how effectively you take revenge, you always leave
somebody else wanting revenge.

And the Bushies do not exact revenge deftly to start with their payback is
crude, more Scud missile than Cruise. So it is easy to see why they now find
themselves caught in a vendetta vortex. They should have heeded the ancient
warning: "It is folly to punish your neighbor by fire when you live next

In a gathering that quaked the White House, evoking those medieval tales
where a group of knights hole up with some mead in a castle in the mountains
and plot to foil the king, John McCain is huddling in his Arizona cabin this
weekend with the impending majority leader, Tom Daschle, and Bruce Reed, the
Democratic Leadership Council president and former Clinton aide.

"The White House probably has NASA satellites programmed to see down there,"
joked John Weaver, who was the McCain campaign's political director.

Coming on the heels of the Jeffords defection, Senator McCain's exhortation
to his party and its "self-appointed enforcers of party loyalty" to "grow
up," and the Democrats' wooing of Mr. McCain, the Sedona summit set off an
explosion of speculation that the media darling would seek his own revenge
against the vengeful Bush White House  by leaving the G.O.P. and running
against W. as an independent in 2004.

I called Senator McCain at his cabin to see if he was still a Republican.
"This is just a social thing," he insisted, as the Reed family arrived and
his spaniel barked in the background. "I assure you, I am not becoming an
independent or a Democrat. Period.

"I am not interested in making George's President Bush's life miserable,
or in harming the Republican Party. I want to fix the Republican Party. I
believe in the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt."

The same Teddy Roosevelt who left the Republican Party to start the Bull
Moose Party and run against William Taft in 1912?

"I hope we can become a more inclusive party that tolerates dissent and
doesn't threaten punishment or revenge on people who don't agree," the
senator said.

His allies suggest that a rematch of Bush-McCain is "possible."

"John voices that, depending on the environment and the mood and the current
events," says one pal. "The day Jeffords switched, I haven't seen John smile
that much since he won the New Hampshire primary."

Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, agreed: "He hasn't
crossed the bridge in his mind, but the logic of events may push him there.
wouldn't be surprised if he did it in a year or two."

The Sedona retreat signaled the problems W. will have getting his
conservative agenda through in a topsy- turvy Washington where Democrats
formed an alliance with senators his White House has pushed around.

Bush the Younger did not have a heap of experience in governing or diplomacy
when he became president. He had spent his time in his father's White House,
not on issues but as loyalty enforcer.

Perhaps that is why he failed to understand that there's a big difference
between internal discipline and external, between making sure your own folks
are in line and those on Capitol Hill are on board.

He reckoned he could humiliate Jim Jeffords in plain view of his whole state
without ramifications. He figured he could mug John McCain in South Carolina
and dis him in Washington without any penalty. McCain allies claim the Bush
White House even refused to hire anyone who had worked on the McCain

"One young man got a red flag from the White House because they found out he
had donated $250 to McCain in the primary," said Mr. Weaver. "He was asked
he could explain himself. Is that their definition of a big tent?"

Even tough Republican operatives were surprised that the White House had not
been "killing McCain with kindness," as one put it.

Yesterday a deluged Senator McCain put out a statement: "I have not
instructed nor encouraged any of my advisers to begin planning for a
presidential run in 2004."

That is not likely to soothe White House nerves. W. and his inner circle are
learning the hard way that revenge will be avenged.

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