Republicans' trouble with John McCainMSNBC highlights one of the many reasons why so many conservatives are uneasy about John McCain:
Senator John McCain never fails to call himself a conservative Republican as he
campaigns as his party’s presumptive presidential nominee. He often adds that he
was a “foot soldier” in the Reagan revolution and that he believes in the
bedrock conservative principles of small government, low taxes and the rights of
What Mr. McCain almost never mentions are two
extraordinary moments in his political past that are at odds with the candidate
of the present: His discussions in 2001 with Democrats about leaving the
Republican Party, and his conversations in 2004 with Senator John Kerry about
becoming Mr. Kerry’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket.
None of this may seem to pose a major issue or even seem like a contradiction to Americans who are politically uninvolved in the process except to vote. However, if you've ever become involved as a conservative activist with Republican politics in any way, shape, fashion, or form, you know that the one thing that the GOP asks of its conservative adherants is loyalty. There is a good reason for this-with rare exceptions, the Democrats fail to offer much in the way of conservative choices. Failure of a political candidate at any level who identifies himself or herself (whether directly on the party ticket, or indirectly in some local races where party can't be identified) as a Republican to support the party's choices, or at least not to publicly disparage them, is usually seen as an act comparable to Brutus engaging in the plot to kill Julius Caesar.
Lack of loyalty to the Republican Party in my heavily-Republican State Senate district is one of many issues being raised in the campaign to unseat the incumbent.
Knowing that both the party and many conservative party activists place such a high premium on the loyalty of its active members, it is understandable that those members would now feel no obligation to get excited about a presidential nominee who has not shown himself to have any loyalty to the party or to the activists who have built it. It isn't a question of whether McCain cast a vote that dissented from conservative orthodoxy, something that he has done many times. Lamar Alexander has done the same thing from time to time, but I have no problem helping Lamar's re-election campaign. The reason is because when we've asked Lamar to stand with us, he has done so when it really mattered. The problem with John McCain is that he has shown himself willing not only to vote with Democrats, but perhaps to become one as long as it gets him to the White House. Literally, McCain has taken the attitude that "I will do what it takes to get what I want," and loyally to the party that helped bring him to the dance can be thrown to the wind.
A McCain victory in November will happen because of people's repugnance at the Democratic nominee as opposed to their embrace of the Republican one.