A lot of Republicans who have no problem saying they’re not conservatives and whose opinions I respect (like The Anchoress) will probably, almost certainly vote for McCain. He wasn’t their first choice, but he’s acceptable, mostly, and they figure he’s better than the alternatives. I’m not talking about moderate and liberal Republicans in this post. I’m writing from the perspective of a conservative Republican. For the conservative “True Believer” like myself, things are not so simple. Bill Quick has made the definitive case against John McCain for conservatives. There are things on that list that I’d forgotten about. It’s a depressingly long list.
1. The McCain-Snowe-Dorgan S. 2328, Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2004. This is drug reimportation, or “Drug prices set by a foreign diktat…at levels set by socialized medical systems abroad…”
2. Mccain-Feingold – the “Incumbent Protection Act.” He says he values “clean government” more than our Constitutional rights. He’ll get neither.
3. Shamnesty. Which he still has not given up on, as he admits. No, he doesn’t admit. He brags. Now he’s trying to give $25 million of your tax dollars to La Raza. He has no shame.
4. “The Patient’s Bill of Rights.” – what Quick refers to as “Mccain-Edwards-Kennedy tort lawyers wet dream.”
5. The Keating Five – Mark Levin wrote that “He rails against the so-called “wealthy special interests” and their ability to buy access to elected officials, yet this is precisely what the Keating Five scandal was all about” and notes that McCain was the only Republican implicated.
6. McCain’s attack on the Swift Boat Vets – he reflexively defends Democrats instead of his own party. Every. Single. Time. And he doesn’t even wait to see if he’s correct; he just does it, as he did again recently with the N.C. GOP and the Wright ad without even viewing the ad. As John Hindraker of PowerLineBlog wrote, “Most of what the Vets said in their ads has never been disputed, let alone discredited.”
7. McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts – and he played the class warfare card in doing so. He’s played that card quite a lot.
8. Gang of 14 – perpetuated the filibuster against fully qualified judges and preserved Senate privilege and unaccountability. Today McCain played his “judge” card, but it wasn’t so long ago that he found Alito too conservative.
9. McCain supports Constitutional rights for terrorists. Mark Levin again: “It just so happens that in each of these cases—detention, interrogation, and intelligence gathering—McCain has adopted the litigation agenda of some of the most radical antiwar activists, including the ACLU.”
10. McCain on the GOP, in 2004: “I believe my party has gone astray. I think the Democratic Party is a fine party, and I have no problems with it, in their views and in their philosophy.” That was the straightest talk I think McCain has ever publicly indulged in.
Click through to read it all, chock full of supporting information and links. This list was just a very brief summary. So he’s good on pork, and he’d like to win the war; provided we treat terrorists like Americans and give the anti-war activists what they want in terms of detention, intelligence, and interrogation. Is there any chance that McCain would implement a terror finance tracking program like the one the New York Times burned? None at all. He’s in favor of a comprehensive solution where immigration is concerned, but for the war, will he do anything but keep throwing soldiers at it? No; there’s no comprehensive solution for winning the war in McCain’s view.
Based on that list, Bill Quick provides an excellent argument that McCain is purposely driving conservatives out of the GOP:
He thinks conservatism is a dead ideology that doesn’t recognize that the world has moved on. It has lost its relevance in a nation where the old paradigms are falling away. We are becoming a nation of Mexican and Latino immigrants, legal and illegal. That must be recognized and catered to. We can no longer afford the wild swings and gyrations of what he views as unfettered capitalism. The people at the top make – and keep – too much money. He proposes to fix that. All of the rest of his programs and policies reflect -not a conservative sensibility – but an accomodationist, populist vision: He sees the future of America as One Big Party, with all those scurrilous, hard-nosed, stubborn shell-backs on both the left and the right who prate that principles are more important than pragmatic politics effectively sealed out of the process of representative government.
So that’s the case against McCain. I find it persuasive; in fact I left the GOP and registered independent last year. I’ve been struggling since the nomination to find some way to make myself vote for him. It’s cold comfort to realize it’s not just me despising McCain – he hated me first. Ace[Correction: Drew M.] makes the case for a Hillary vote. Yes, even taking into account three (count ‘em, THREE) SCOTUS nominations. And his commenter Gary pretty much sums up a lot of people’s feelings:
Yeah, if I’m gonna hate the next President, I’d prefer it be a Democrat.
Back in January, Slublog, Dan Riehl, Ace, Jay Tea, Tammy Bruce, and Instapundit all considered the merits of voting for Hillary before they’d give Huckabee their vote, if Huckabee became the candidate. They’re not all Republicans, but that group does lean toward conservative views. If McCain keeps going like he’s going on illegal immigration, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Michelle Malkin endorse anybody-but-McCain. I suspect a lot of people agree with Mike at Cold Fury and doubleplusundead’s plan – just vote downticket and don’t vote for President at all.
Is this a pissy, pick up my ball and go home attitude? No, although I’m happy to admit to being angry and frustrated with McCain’s nomination and with his views. If I vote for Hillary or simply vote downticket and skip the presidential race, as is increasingly likely, it will be because I think McCain is more harmful than a Democrat would be because he will have at least some cooperation from Republicans in Congress.
The damage is done; for conservatives, the race was lost some time ago. Now it’s pragmatic damage control, and President Hillary with a determined GOP Congressional minority to oppose her just may be the best option.
Updated: well, our “last, best hope” such as it is, has been quashed. Barring anything drastic happening, it’s going to be an Obama/McCain matchup. That’s a lot harder, because Hillary said she’d end the war, but her heart wasn’t in it. Obama’s is; he will surrender at the first opportunity and Pelosi and Schumer will ram through whatever legislation needs to be rammed in order to do it. The blue dog Democrats will not resist, and the GOP won’t be able to stop it. The surge is ending, the Iraqis have made great strides in security and political reconciliation, and Iran is becoming known as an enemy Iraqis may unite against. So it’s a race to see if we can get enough done between now and November to make a Democratic forced withdrawal a moot point.