John McCain is a New York Giant, not a New England Patriot. He has never come close to a perfect season, but like Eli Manning, he believes he can do it even if nobody else does. Super Tuesday was not quite the Super Bowl -- that comes in November. But the senator has the Big Mo, and that counts for a lot in politics as well as football. Now we'll see if he can show the Manning touch, moving down the field.
Other analogies thrive. Joe Lieberman, who was at John McCain's side Tuesday night, thinks his colleague might be Judah Macabee, a reference to the warrior whose victory over the Greeks is commemorated in the celebration of Hanukkah. "He's got that spirit," Sen. Lieberman told the Forward, the Jewish daily newspaper in New York. The Connecticut senator is credited with helping not only with the Jewish turnout for McCain in Florida, but for helping with the Cubans, who aren't Jewish, too.
Sen. McCain, lacking wide and deep support from the conservative true believers, will have to make up for it with his tested appeal to independents and Hispanics, and hope the true believers will overcome whatever impulse they have to sulk. There's one other important group he might tap into as well. Ever since FDR created the New Deal, which his critics called the "Jew Deal" because so many of his brain trusters were Jews, the Jewish vote has mostly been taken for granted by Democrats. Ronald Reagan persuaded more Jews than usual to vote Republican, but when Al Gore took Joe Lieberman as his running mate Jewish voters returned to the Democrats in droves. Now that may change.
The two senators go back a long way, working on legislative issues together, sharing the worldview that Sen. Lieberman describes as "a feeling that America has a unique role in the world, of taking the Declaration of Independence seriously[as] a universal declaration of human rights." That means "our foreign policy is always better when it's based on democratic values." The two men became even closer when the United States intervened in Bosnia and more recently in support of the surge in Iraq. Sen. Lieberman endorsed his friend before he was a front-runner, drawn by the McCain emphasis on foreign policy.