Now that McCain looks inevitable, I’m becoming sanguine. More than that, I’m hunting for his good points, and they are many:
1. He’s a hawk.
2. He will almost certainly nominate strict constructionist Supreme Court justices — and certainly more conservative than anyone Hillary or Obama would nominate.
3. He’s a hawk.
4. He claims to support lower, not higher taxes — unlike Obama and Hillary, who explicitly support higher taxes.
5. He’s a hawk.
6. He supports the Second Amendment — which Hillary and Obama most emphatically will not support.
7. He’s a hawk.
8. He’s pro-life, which is not a huge issue to me, but which is for many others — and Hillary and Obama are not.
9. He’s a hawk.
I’m going to ignore, because the above strengths are so important, his bad history and bad advisors when it comes to border control (and you know that’s a problem for me), because he’ll still be better than Hillary and Obama; as well as his dismal history on free speech, because he’ll still be better than Hillary and Obama.
Most importantly, give his real strengths, I’m going to focus on the fact that McCain can win. I can’t find the link now, but I definitely recall reading a week or so ago that, if the Presidential election were held right now, McCain would win. Certainly I know that Mr. Bookworm, staunch liberal though he may be, would vote for McCain over Obama. He’s terrified of Obama and would cross the aisle to vote against him. And given Hillary’s negatives, a lot of people would also cross the aisle.
I refuse to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. McCain is very much not perfect, but the good of America will not be served by seeing conservatives get into a snit and turn their back on the un-Hillary or un-Obama candidate. After all, this is how democracy works. Unlike other countries, where candidates are selected, we have the luxury of joining with our fellow citizens to select our own candidates. And if our fellow citizens, in their collective wisdom, select a centrist Republican rather than a conservative Republican, that’s our blessing and we have to live with it and optimize it.
One last thing: if McCain is inevitable, it does not behoove conservatives to alienate him. If top conservatives are too terrible to him and if, God willing, he beats Hillary/Obama, he may ending up feeling so hostile to his fellow conservative that he gets his revenge by closing the doors on them and turning to liberals for succor and advice.
UPDATE: Here’s a comment that Mike Devx left at another post on this blog, and I think he’s absolutely right:
The level of hatred and vituperation against McCain is simply astonishing to me. Politics is a rough-and-tumble business, but this level of divisiveness seems profoundly harmful to me. I’d be personally comfortable with any of McCain, Romney, or Huckabee as the candidate, so I’m perhaps a terrible judge of this.
A few points:
McCain is staunchly pro-life and has promised to appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court. For abortion voters, what else could be more important? Consider that Reagan had a less than stellar record on Supreme Court appointments.
McCain carried the water for George Bush on the Shamnesty bill. This was George Bush’s baby too. Yet all the criticism goes to McCain. Hardly fair, and there is more than whiff of hypocrisy. Bush was more than ready to sign the bill had it passed. And Bush signed McCain-Feingold with nary a protest, too, of any sort. And then there’s the Reagan Shamnesty…
McCain is NOT a higher-taxes politician. He demands spending cuts in concert with tax cuts. A tax cut without a spending cut amounts to little more than printing free money and saddling future generations with more debt. Cuts in taxes do increase revenue, but there’s a limit.
The antagonism appears to be related entirely to the fact that he’s got no respect for the evangelical wing of the Republican party. On all the issues themselves, it’s hardly clear to me that there’s a good reason for the level of hate when other Republicans, including President Bush, hardly come in for anything near that level of criticism.
If you want a Reaganism, here’s one: “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” The Slick Willie response to that is to declare the McCain is not a Republican. I’m ashamed of that kind of facile, Clintonesque response at avoiding responsibility.