Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, February 04, 2008

Prepping For McCain

While I'll mark my ballot for Romney tomorrow, I'm not expecting him to carry enough states in the Super Tuesday primaries to stop the McCain juggernaut. Most people feel the same way, no matter who they're supporting. McCain could not have timed his surge in the polls better if he'd had millions to spend on political prognosticators.

While it's true that Super Tuesday may not settle either the Dem or GOP campaign, there is a chance that it will, and I am writing this acknowledging that by the time we go to sleep tomorrow night, McCain may well be the apparent nominee.

Some, led by the disgraceful Ann Coulter, are not behaving maturely when faced with the near inevitability of a McCain candidacy. Others, like Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt, continue to argue eloquently in the face of the howling McCain storm. Here's Hugh, from this morning:
Once the score was clear after Florida --a McCain or Romney nomination-- the Republican base quickly began to rally to Romney because the Republican base cares deeply about the issues that bind the Reagan coalition --tax cuts, originalist judges, free markets, and of course the value of unborn life and traditional marriage.

A vote or McCain or Huckabee is widely understood as a vote for a long eclipse of that agenda. The turn to Romney led by Rush and then Sean, Laura, Mark Levin et al was simply the widespread and widely broadcast recognition of the choice in front of conservatives.
I hope they're right, and that this post ends up in the dust bin of history.

Hewitt, always the pragmatist, looks at Obama's magnetic ability to attract money and sees McCain as a fund-repellent, concluding that there may well be a $175 million gap in campaign funds for McCain vs. Obama.

That supposition -- that Conservatives would not fund a McCain campaign -- ought to open our eyes, because it means that none of us, not Rush or Hugh or Laura or you or me, is any different that Ann Coulter; that all of us are ready to hand the government over to Obama or the Clintons, just because we don't care much for John McCain.

Fortunately, some (including me!) are dealing with the undesired probability of a McCain campaign more stoically and intelligently, noting that there is every reason in the world to actively support McCain, no matter who we supported in the primaries, if it does turn out that he is our standard bearer against the legions of Obamericans or Clintonistas.

Here, for example, is Jeff Jacoby:
The conservative case against McCain is clear enough; I made it myself in some of these columns when he first ran for president eight years ago. The issues that have earned McCain the label of "maverick" - campaign-finance restrictions, global warming, the Bush tax cuts, immigration, judicial filibusters - are precisely what stick in the craw of the GOP conservative base.

But this year, the conservative case for McCain is vastly more compelling.

On the surpassing national-security issues of the day - confronting the threat from radical Islam and winning the war in Iraq - no one is more stalwart. Even McCain's fiercest critics, such as conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, will say so. "The world's bad guys," Hewitt writes, "would never for a moment think he would blink in any showdown, or hesitate to strike back at any enemy with the audacity to try again to cripple the US through terror."
Why would anyone who sees the Islamists' war on us as real and threatening not support McCain with commitment and finances over Clinton or Obama, both of whom fall all over themselves to pronounce their opposition to the war? As if their opposition will stop the jihadists.

Readers of the NYT got a headful of good-thinking on the subject from Bill Kristol this morning:
This is an important moment for the conservative movement. Not because conservatives have some sort of obligation to fall in behind John McCain. They don’t. Those conservatives who can’t abide McCain are free to rally around Mitt Romney. And if McCain does prevail for the nomination, conservatives are free to sit out the election.

But I’d say this to them: When the primaries are over, if McCain has won the day, don’t sulk and don’t sit it out. Don’t pretend there’s no difference between a candidate who’s committed to winning in Iraq and a Democratic nominee who embraces defeat. Don’t tell us that it doesn’t matter if the next president voted to confirm John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court, or opposed them. Don’t close your eyes to the difference between pro-life and pro-choice, or between resistance to big government and the embrace of it.

And don’t treat 2008 as a throwaway election. If a Democrat wins the presidency, he or she will almost certainly have a Democratic Congress to work with. That Congress will not impede a course of dishonorable retreat abroad. It won’t balk at liberal Supreme Court nominees at home. It won’t save the economy from tax hikes.
Conservatives are always telling each other how reasonable they are, how they think logically while the liberals think emotionally.

Well, then I'm seeing a lot of liberal thinking by Conservatives lately. I don't begrudge the airwave Conservatives their strong stands; they have influence and they're trying to wield it to turn the tide. But if things go McCain's way tomorrow (or later, after the convention), I will expect them to behave like the mature, intelligent, future-looking Conservatives they claim to be, and pull out their checkbooks and recalibrate their rhetoric.

I would much rather rail against McCain's foibles in office, which will have to do with not being conservative enough, than have to rail against the damages done by Obama or Clinton, which will have to do with being far too liberal.

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