Tags: GOP | Gripes | About | John | McCain | Music | Ears

GOP Gripes About John McCain Music to My Ears

Wednesday, 20 September 2006 12:00 AM

There's nothing I like better than listening to Republicans talk about John McCain. The more conservative the Republican, the better. If they're part of the religious right, it tends to be particularly good. I'd go so far as to say it is music to this liberal's ears. Especially this week.

The truth is, many Democrats are afraid of McCain. Everything conservatives don't like about him, we respect. That streak of independence. Standing on principle. A list of accomplishments that sets him off from other Republicans. We know he's much more conservative than many people think, but because he's principled he appeals to people who would otherwise never be drawn to a conservative.

I was with my good friend Hugh Hewitt this week at California Baptist University to discuss the Constitution, but what really struck me was hearing Hugh tick off the list of McCain's insults to conservatives:

And that doesn't count running against George Bush in a bitter, bitter contest in 2000 and flirting with John Kerry about the vice presidency in 2004. The latter totally annoyed Republicans.

So while conservatives appreciate McCain's support of the Iraq war and acknowledge his popularity, give them the slightest provocation, the littlest scratch, just a small invitation, and out it comes.

They have a whole litany against him. This reconciliation business is skin deep.

They hate him.

What a relief.

Hugh isn't the only one. Rush is railing against him. The Manchester Union Leader is condemning him on its editorial page. It is open season on McCain. A compromise may be in the works, but until the ink is dry, the cat is out of the bag - and in a big way. It sure doesn't take much. There is plenty of ill will to be tapped.

This raises a fundamental question:

Will a party nominate a candidate who is hated by a significant chunk of its activist base?

The answer, at least in recent times, seems to be qualified, maybe, only in the case of an incumbent president, but never in the case of a wide-open field. And so there is the example of the Republicans picking Gerald Ford over Ronald Reagan, or perhaps even the democrats picking Jimmy Carter over Ted Kennedy, but would they have picked Hubert Humphrey over Bobby Kennedy? Not likely.

Of course, as my father used to say, you can't beat a horse with no horse. George Allen, once the darling of conservatives, will be lucky to survive with his Senate seat. Toast.

One man to watch in this is Massachusetts' Mitt Romney, who has positioned himself foursquare behind the president on the military tribunal issue. In modern presidential nominating politics, there are two very good ideas for winning the nomination: winning Iowa and winning New Hampshire. Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, is well-positioned in New Hampshire. He's smart, attractive and positioned right (literally) on the issues, unlike the other Northeasterner in the race, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. But is America ready for a Mormon president? Are Christian conservatives?

The conventional wisdom among optimistic Republicans was that beginning with 9/11, the Republicans were beginning to turn things around, to build a head of steam on the terrorism issue, and that unfortunately McCain and the Gang of Four have stopped their momentum dead in its tracks. They might be right, at least about any momentum stopping. It makes them even madder at McCain. I couldn't be more thrilled.

COPYRIGHT 2006 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.

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There's nothing I like better than listening to Republicans talk about John McCain. The more conservative the Republican, the better. If they're part of the religious right, it tends to be particularly good. I'd go so far as to say it is music to this liberal's ears....
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2006-00-20
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 12:00 AM
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