Conservatives are not going to support John McCain.
Unless he selects a spectacular conservative Vice Presidential candidate, that is, and promises to deliver a very long inauguration speech wearing no overcoat.
Kristol hasnâ€™t got a clue what Reagan meant to the conservative movement. Heâ€™s so enamored by the opportunity to get â€œhis boyâ€ sold to the unwashed masses of us who dare to keep the principals of conservatism intact, that he desecrates the legacy of Reagan.
Again, Reagan didnâ€™t appeal to moderates and independents by becoming â€œlike themâ€ or by compromising with their middle of the road ideas. He simply communicated core conservative principals and brought them in. He could bring the three legs of the stool together because he found the common thread among them all, and thatâ€™s why we consider him the master.
McCain is a leg and a half conservative and anyone that sits on it is bound for a fall. Since Kristol misses the point on Reagan, he no doubt wouldnâ€™t notice his ass hitting the ground.
And Mona Charen jogs our memories.
The problem with McCain is not just that he strays. George Bush has strayed from conservatism, too. So has Fred Thompson. Certainly Mitt Romney has as well. But Sen. McCain has a knack for saying things in just the tones and accents that liberals prefer. In 2000, he condemned the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as “agents of intolerance.” In 2004, when Sen. John Kerry was getting his comeuppance from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, vets who had known him during the war and couldn’t remain silent as the Democratic nominee distorted his war record, McCain weighed in by calling the Swift Boaters “dishonorable and dishonest.” When the Bush Administration was being vilified as a nest of Torquemadas for using waterboarding on three occasions, McCain came forward to condemn waterboarding as torture. …
There is a strutting self-righteousness about McCain that goes hand in hand with a nitroglycerin temper. He flatters himself that his colleagues in the Senate dislike him because he stands up for principle whereas they sell their souls for pork. Not exactly. He is disliked because on many, many occasions, he has been disrespectful, belligerent and vulgar to those who differ with him.
Bradley Smith, former commissioner of the Federal Election Commission and the leading legal scholar on campaign finance issues, experienced the McCain treatment firsthand. Because Smith opposed limits on political speech, he was denounced as “corrupt” by the senator (as was Commissioner Ellen Weintraub). Smith, who lives modestly, jokes that his wife has complained about the absence of jewels and furs.
Though he served on the commission for five years and made several attempts to meet with McCain to discuss the issues, Smith was rebuffed. The two did accidentally meet outside a hearing room in 2004 when they were both scheduled to testify before the Senate rules committee. At first, McCain grasped Smith’s outstretched hand (Smith was in a wheelchair, recovering from surgery), but when he recognized his campaign finance opponent, he snatched his hand back, snarling, “I’m not going to shake your hand. You’re a bully. You have no regard for the Constitution. You’re corrupt.”
Smith, a soft-spoken scholar, ardent patriot and lifelong conservative Republican, cannot, as a matter of honor, pull the lever for McCain. He is far from alone, and that is the Republican Party’s heartbreak in 2008.