George W. Bush should be wary of the McCain Jinx
Commentary by PAT MURPHY
Should George W. Bush begin to seriously reconsider whether he really
wants John McCains endorsement for president?
The "McCain Jinx" has struck again, and what mightve been
coincidence now seems to be a full-blown political kiss-of-death, just like the bad luck
that seems to haunt sports figures after theyve appeared on Sports
Illustrateds magazines cover.
The heart of the "McCain Jinx" is this: everyone whom McCain
endorses in politics seems either to lose at the polls, drop out before election day or
meet an uglier political fate.
The latest "victim" of the "McCain Jinx" is New York
City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom McCain endorsed in the Senate race against First Lady
Hillary Rodham Clinton. McCain even offered to campaign for him.
Now, Giuliani has dropped out only weeks after the McCain endorsement.
Theres a string of others whose political careers crashed after
In 1996, he endorsed Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas for the Republican
presidential nomination, even strong-arming the Arizona Legislature to create a
Republican-only primary to benefit Gramm over other candidates. But Gramm dropped out and
never even made it through the Arizona primary, which was won by Steve Forbes.
- After Gramm dropped out, McCain jumped the fence
and endorsed Bob Dolewho also went down in defeat in the general election.
- In Arizona politics, McCain embraced and provided
high-visibility support for state Sen. John Kaites, a former TV weatherman, to be state
attorney general. But Kaites was crushed in the Republican primary, despite or because of
- McCain recruited a Republican unknown, Carol
Crockett, to run against Maricopa County (Phoenix) Schools Supt. Sandra Dowling,
whod displeased McCain by supporting a non-McCain Republican for governor.
McCains handpicked candidate was smothered at the polls.
- McCain also enlisted Phoenix Vice Mayor Thelda
Williams to run against Mayor Skip Rimsza, because Rimsza had displeased McCain by
supporting Dole, rather than Gramm, in the early days of the 96 primaries. She, too,
was thrashed on election day.
- And the McCain political protégé who suffered
perhaps the worst fate was J. Fife Symington III, Arizonas blue-blood Republican
governor who was forced to resign after being convicted on federal criminal fraud charges.
Symingtons conviction was reversed over questions of a juror; the Justice Department
is deciding whether to re-file charges.
The logical question that reasonable people might now ask is whether the
"McCain Jinx" could affect George W. Bush. After all, McCain not only endorsed
the Texas governor for president, but endorsed him six times in a spurt of repetitive
playfulness during a joint news conference in Pennsylvania.
If New York Congressman Rick Lazio is wise, hell go up against
Hillary Clinton without McCains endorsement.
Pat Murphy is the retired publisher of the Arizona Republic and a former