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July 30, 2008

a road not (yet) taken?

Michael Calderone of Politico reports that the McCain campaign tried to hire an AP reporter and editor, Ron Fournier, as a senior adviser. Fournier has been criticized by liberals for being allegedly too personally friendly with McCain and also Karl Rove. But Mark Salter, who works for McCain, said "that Fournier was an attractive target because of his knowledge about the political process, not because of his ideological or partisan leanings. Salter says he still does not know what, if any, those are."

Here's another theory. Ron Fournier has some interesting and explicit ideological leanings, but they aren't conventionally liberal or conservative. They are populist in a particular way: enthusiastic about local self-government, deliberation, and public participation. I say this because of an opinion piece that Fournier wrote, based on a survey that I helped to design and analyze for the National Conference on Citizenship. He wrote:

John McCain could make an interesting appeal to this civic core. He has a lifetime record of service and leadership and could broaden those ideas by explaining how ordinary civilians can also lead and serve at home. He could criticize arrogant bureaucrats and judges (conservative targets) but also strongly support programs that expand opportunities for civic work--charter schools, voluntary national service programs, the Peace Corps, and community development corporations. I haven't seen him do any of this yet--at least, not effectively--but it may explain why he was interested in Fournier.

July 30, 2008 1:04 PM | category: none


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