February 10, 2008


Honor Politics: McCain's is a peculiar conservatism (Yuval Levin, February 7, 2008, National Review)

Conservatives fear John McCain because they assume he approaches politics the way most people do, and so take his substantive views to express an underlying liberalism. That is certainly mistaken. McCain is neither a liberal nor quite a conservative. Even if his actions do not always live up to his own standards, McCain is an honor politician - aggressive in opposing corruption, hypersensitive to inauthenticity or dishonesty, addicted to big causes, essentially uninterested in what most conservatives take to be the substance of politics, and, lest we forget, supremely vain. This is not a wonderful combination, but it is not a terrible one, and it could well be a winning one in November. Conservatives should view McCain not as a hostile force, but as a foreign and unfamiliar presence, bearing real potential as well as real risk.

To make the most of McCain's potential - his appeal to voters, his personality and force of character, his immensely impressive personal history, his patriotism and devotion to America - conservatives should seek ways to make their causes his, and so to focus on the elements of honor and of greatness in the defense of the American family and the country's freedom and prosperity. They should emphasize the elements of their worldview that speak to honor, just as McCain should emphasize the elements of his that speak to freedom, family, and limited government.

Conservatives should also use this period of the campaign to extract very specific commitments and promises on the substantive issues that move them, but seem to mean so little to him. A man of honor does not break a promise, and this is the time to invest McCain's honor in the Right's crucial aims.

...your voting record is. You have to ignore his in order to even pretend confusion about his views.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 10, 2008 6:52 AM

"Give 'em hell, Harry!"
"I give 'em the truth and they think its hell!"

If conservatives want to change the direction of the country and one of the major political parties then they have to be engaged in the society and that party. Retreat from either is impotence.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 10, 2008 10:19 AM