January 31, 2008


Some Conservatives Make Last-Ditch Bid To Block McCain (JOSH GERSTEIN, January 31, 2008, NY Sun)

A popular talk radio host who has vocally opposed Mr. McCain in recent weeks, Rush Limbaugh, sounded resigned yesterday to the prospect that the Arizona senator will be the Republican nominee. "It looks like McCain's pretty far down the line now to having wrapped this up," Mr. Limbaugh said on his program.

"There's a lot of anxiety among a lot of conservatives about Senator McCain. It's simply indisputable, but there was no figure in our roster of candidates who rose up to challenge him or to galvanize conservative support. All the candidates on our side, for various reasons, are uninspiring or worse, and so, just as I predicted, the base has fractured."

When you passionately hate the most popular candidate -- only candidate on either side who has higher positive than negative ratings -- the problem is you, not him. Like the Left of the 70s, Rush and company have been co-opted by Washington and have their heads so far up the Beltway they can't see America. The view from a padded booth can't help but be omphaloskeptical.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 31, 2008 8:20 AM

I'm a reluctant McCain supporter and am fully aware of all of his flaws. He's too old, he's too willing to sacrifice my constitutional rights and he enjoys being a maverick just a little too much. If it weren't for one issue -- the issue, as far as I'm concerned -- I wouldn't support him and I can understand conservatives for whom even being right on the one big question isn't enough.

But I've just been astonished at the behavior of the Corner, Limbaugh and the establishment right. Hugh Hewitt, who's always seemed like a rational guy, has just gone right through the looking glass. McCain has flaws and is not a straight-down-the-line conservative, but to suggest that not only is he not a conservative but that no one who supports him is really a conservative is lunacy.

Leaving everything else aside, McCain is the second best politician in the nation on the war and the first best is constitutionally barred from running for president. McCain stayed firm on the war when it was received wisdom for the Dems that the war was lost and all of the other Republicans were tiptoeing around the question just in case they were right.

A candidate who is not right on the war is not right for the presidency (pun intended).

Posted by: Ibid at January 31, 2008 9:01 AM

People freaking out about McCain now, are already starting to accept him, and will pull the lever for him in November. They are venting now, but will fall in line later. No conservative wants to put the military in the hands of those who loathe it. This one issue will pull the McCain haters back from the brink.

Posted by: Stormy70 at January 31, 2008 9:21 AM

I find it hard to take anything Rush says seriously about this election because his contract is ending soon. And since AM/FM radio can't really pay him the money he's used to receiving, that means Rush is going to get a mega-buck satellite radio contract once XM/Sirius figure out their merger.

And as far as Hugh Hewitt goes, the guy wrote a quick, fairly profitable, book about Mitt, so it stands to reason he'd be loathe to give up a revenue generator. Of course when he does, you can expect Hugh to use his admittedly improved ratings to launch a full defense of George W Bush, and a tepid defense of McCain.

Posted by: Brad S at January 31, 2008 9:33 AM

I dunno - I see plenty of people going "I am NEVER going to vote for Johnny McShamnesty-Keating 5-Gang of 14-Campaign Finance Reform EVER! I'll pull my weiner out by the roots before do that!!!!1!!!! I'll vote for Zombie Stalin and the ghost of Joni Mitchell before vote for him!!! Rarr!"

Of course, nobody gives a damn what those people think, so he's only going to lose about 50 votes from them come November.

Posted by: Bryan at January 31, 2008 9:37 AM

When you passionately hate the candidate the majority of the party has selected, you really have no good reason to call yourself 'the base'.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 31, 2008 9:45 AM

The usual "I say I'm conservative but I'm really a libertarian" blogs are the main source of the sound and fury against McCain.* Even then, it is people who make comments that are the worst. A lot are McCain-Feingold ravers. If 1% of the general population even remember what that was, I'd be surprised.

*Plus the actual bigots (Levin, Derbyshire) and very stupid (Lopez) commentators on NRO. The smarter ones (Lowry, Hanson, Ponneau & Lowry) may not like McCain but they aren't calling him a "liberal" for goodness sake.

Posted by: Bob at January 31, 2008 10:06 AM

Yeah, a lot of the rancour over McCain is weird. He gets criticised for CFR fairly enough but the immigration bill was backed by Bush who hasn't attracted much ire at all for it. And if they're speaking of purity tests, McCain's anti-porkism easily puts him one over compassionate conservatism.

Maybe the online policy wonks fancy themselves as ultra-smart people who know what's best for the GOP. And they got very flattered when a guy as brainy and successful as Romney started courting them.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at January 31, 2008 10:17 AM

The argument the yappers make is that McCain is unelectable because conservatives will stay home. These are the same people who think it's a travesty that a candidate who gets only a third of the primary vote (McCain)would be the nominee instead of the candidate who gets 15% (Fred) or the one who gets 30% and can't hit 40 in his home state (Romney).

The same people who want Rick "Mr 41%" Santorum to be the Republican nominee for every office on the ballot--and any Supreme Court vacancies that might arise.

And of course, these are the same people who went ballistic over a market-based expansion of Medicare to include prescription drug coverage but seem sanguinely to accept a President Hillary Clinton and increased Democrat majorities in Congress who will immediately resurrect--and probably pass--some form of socialized medicine.

There needs to be a thread devoted simply to NRO commentary and its increasing similarity to Democratic Underground. Now McCain is being attacked for "smirking" during the California debate. Hmm . . . "smirking" . . . like a "chimp" perhaps . . . where have I heard that before?

Posted by: AC at January 31, 2008 10:56 AM

Yeah many of the anti-McCain people are acting like spoiled children. The NRO Corner is an embarassment. Rush lost me several years ago when he talked about his golfing adventures (not that there isn't anything wrong with that but it hardly shows him as a man of the people).

I don't like campaign finance reform but I think somewhat reasonable minds could differ as to the need for it.

McCain's correct on the big issues and more importantly he can win.

My biggest concern with McCain is that he is a senator with little executive branch experience. I believe JFK was the only President in modern times (past 75 years) to be elected as a senator with little or no executive branch experience (LBJ was at least VP for a couple of years). Fortunately, Obama and HRC have no executive branch experience (spouses don't count).

Posted by: pchuck at January 31, 2008 11:02 AM

Since we first debated the proposed McCain immigration bill, I think you'd have to credit McCain with pulling back from its most egregiously offensive terms, namely amnesty without effective border control. I think he has taken a reasonable political position which is that if he wants amnesty it will have to be preceded by effective border control.

To the extent that he honors his word (and I believe he will), that compromise by McCain has me satisified on that issue. And credit him with the good political sense to recognize that he'd have to adopt a more generally conservative stance to suceed in the GOP primaries.

I honestly thought that he was wrong on the Gang of 14 issue at that time but with midterms so strongly against the GOP, I'd say that the Congressional minority party's retention of the filibuster is a major tactitcal option that will benefit the GOP in the next several Congressional election cycles.

In short, McCain wasn't wrong to compromise and as the GOP Congressional margins dwindle we may all prove to be thankful that the nuclear option never won out.

("Wasn't wrong" by the way is attorneyese for he was right and I was ack, choke hack hack ....wrong.)

With a nephew actively deployed in the 82nd Airborne for the last fourteen months, I can only welcome the prospect of McCain as Commander in Chief during the next four to eight years.

He's got a little problem with anger control but on a personal level he is a man in full to paraphrase the book title.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at January 31, 2008 11:13 AM

Last time I checked, there were about as many Independents as Republicans. And more self-identified "moderate" Republicans than "conservative".

Math has never been El Rushbo's strong suit.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 31, 2008 11:48 AM

A Republican Congress passed, a Republican president signed and a Republican Court upheld CFR. And 70% of the American population supports it. McCain was right.

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2008 1:50 PM

Not only is McCain not serious about that compromise (as Huckabee wasn't) but W is likely to render it nugatory.

Posted by: oj at January 31, 2008 1:52 PM


As you so accurately point out the ONLY thing McCain has going for him is his prior military experience. The thought of the Hil and Bil duo or Obama in charge of my son's future is sickening to me. You see my son is currently near his end of this tour with the 82nd in Iraq also, like your nephew. BUT, you gotta ask yourself, why is the left wing liberal media supporting him and the left wing RINO'S aka Rudy and Arnie for a start. And, the Repulicans got the boot 2 years ago because of the war. No war issue and now no issue at all.

Sign me
Damn Proud father of an 82nd Airborne Paratrooper

Posted by: Pops at January 31, 2008 3:21 PM


McCain was right about what? He certainly wasn't right to aggressively campaign for CFR, if it was indeed unconstitutional.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 31, 2008 10:19 PM

I hope you guys will still be crowing next November 5. Some possible potholes on the road to the coronation:
(1) We really are the stupid party, and sometimes stupid doesn’t work. The Dems didn’t miss by much the last two times, with laughably poor candidates, so it wouldn’t take much of a Republican civil war to hand it to them this time.
(2) Not to disparage the voting public, but I have a fear that more than a few people will see McCain and Obama on the screen together and make a quick decision for the nice handsome young man over the cranky old guy. (I doubt Obama will be the nominee, but who knows?)
(3) Finally, some unanticipated (and probably insignificant) incident might cause the tightly-wound, gook-hating Maverick to explode in just the wrong way at just the wrong time.

Posted by: sog at February 1, 2008 1:15 AM

It is not, by definition, unconstitutional, no matter how much you and I believe it is. He was right. We were wrong.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2008 4:06 AM

And in a few months, after another 5-4 vote, it will almost surely be, by definition, unconstitutional.

If it seems that the pundit class is reading McCain's entrails over judges (Alito in particular), just wait until he has to face the questions about whom he might appoint once the Court nullifies his "law". It will be a moment of truth for McCain - does he blow his stack at the Court or does he graciously say that the Court has spoken and free speech won? The next move is his - the apoplectic 'base' awaits.

Posted by: ratbert at February 1, 2008 7:33 AM

McCain is a pig in a poke.

He doesn't have high negatives (yet) because he's the MSM's favorite kind of Republican - one that reliably attacks other Republicans. Bill Clinton is getting more press than the Republican candidates *combined*. Nobody but else is really paying attention to the Republican race.

McCain isn't going to be able to generate attacks against Obama or Hillary like he did against Romney on troop withdrawals. Nobody in the MSM cares that he misrepresented Romney's statements because any attack on a Republican is a good one. If McCain even accurately quotes a statement unfavorable to Obama or Hillary, he's going to catch so much flak he'll think he's over Hanoi again.

By the time November comes, his negatives will be higher than Hillary's.

Posted by: Chris B at February 1, 2008 9:08 AM

McCain has a 30 year public record of conservatism and people like him because he's a bull in the Beltway china shop. When he calls out the Democrats the press and public will lap it up.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2008 12:44 PM

When the men in black rule against 70% of the American people, Congress and the President it's a usurpation, not a constitutional standard.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2008 12:47 PM


That is ridiculous, particularly from a guy like you who proclaims that we are a republic and not a democracy. What could possibly be the point of having a Constitution or swearing to uphold it if the only standard that matters is everyone else's erroneous interpretation?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 1, 2008 9:17 PM

The insistence that everyone else interprets it wrongly is gnostic.

Posted by: oj at February 1, 2008 10:47 PM