Will Senator John McCain leave the Republican Party? Rumors are flying and it’s the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

The senator denies it, but this situation bears watching. Mr. McCain was one of only two Republican senators to vote against a tax cut and he is not pleased with the conservative bent of the Bush White House. McCain's position on the tax bill is that it cut the top bracket too much and did not help lower income workers as much as it could.

The larger question, however, is John McCain's presidential ambitions. He now knows the Republican establishment will never embrace him, so his only shot at the White House is to run as a Democrat in 2004. That would be tough because on some core issues like abortion, the senator is conservative and the Democrats would never go for somebody with his position.

But guys like Ted Kennedy and Tom Daschle would love to have McCain bolt the GOP and become an independent like James Jeffords. That would really hurt the Republicans.

Talking Points believes it will come down to McCain's passion, campaign finance reform. He'll watch how the Bush administration handles his bill. If they oppose him, watch out. President Bush, of course, knows this and must tread carefully. Like him or not, John McCain is a powerful man with ready access to the media and a major following among aware Americans.

This is a drama worthy of The West Wing and anything can happen. Keep your eye on it.

And that's the memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

As you may have heard, your humble correspondent is writing a weekly newspaper column which is seen in about 100 papers around the country. And I'm getting a huge reaction to my most recent column, "Advice to High School and College Graduates."

The gist of that column was taken from The Factor book, which, of course, we recommend to all graduates. But we understand if you don't want to pony up for it. So you can access the column free by clicking here.

And if you know somebody who just graduated, you might want to shoot it over to them.  That would be a nice thing to do, and not at all ridiculous.

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