04 February 2008

McCain Mania: Another Opinion

Here's the conservative columnist of a local paper:

Independents and liberal Republicans provided John McCain with the majority he needed [in Florida]. Any Republican with whom so many Democrats have no problem, I'm weary of, thank you. Our problems with Senator McCain are much more concrete, though.

He thinks Mrs. Clinton 'would make a fine president' as he's stated on at least two occasions ... McCain firmly believes that waterboarding is torture, couldn't care less that the majority of Americans don't agree and shouts obscenities at members of Congress who don't agree. McCain believes that enemy combatants should be given rights under both the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Convention, neither of which they're entitled ... McCain believes that the McCain-Feingold Act does not infringe upon the First Amendment. Most Republicans disagree, most Democrats don't care, but that legislation put far more soft money into campaigns.

The columnist goes on about McCain's treasonous role in forming the "Gang of 14," which has allegedly blocked the appointment of "several outstanding nominees to federal benches." He indicts McCain's temperament, apparently because it's mostly directed at Republican Senators, condemns him for saying that the Bush tax cuts "favor the rich," and so on. Then he compliments McCain for opposing "radical Islam and its goal to kill Americans" and "the greatest abomination in mankind's history" -- wait for it -- "legal abortion."

McCain is "widely applauded for both" stands, but "on the aforementioned issues, though, conservatives simply disagree." The writer is defensive on this point.

And I'm tired of people I support being accused of 'hating' John McCain. We don't hate him, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry or anyone else. We only wish to see conservatism retained. It succeeds every time it's tried.

We'll leave the last point to be debated at another time. As for the hate question, this particular writer has a very narrow definition of what it means to hate somebody. Basically you can only be said to hate somebody if you wish them dead. The writer is perfectly comfortable making the blanket charge that liberals "hate" Bush, but cannot bear to apply the h-word where it so obviously applies. But the author clearly idolizes Limbaugh, and even finds a silver lining in the talker's failure to sway voters against McCain. In his mind, that fact only refutes the charge that Limbaugh's listeners are "mostly mind-numbed robots who'll do whatever he says." In other words, he defends Limbaugh by defending Limbaugh's listeners for not being mind-numbed robots because they defied Limbaugh, then goes on to say Limbaugh is right anyway. That is, to be a conservative, you must believe that waterboarding is not torture, you must never limit rich people's ability to donate money to politicians, you must never compromise with liberals on judicial appointments, and you mustn't yell at your own party. These are the supreme litmus tests of 21st century American conservatism. Fall short on any of them and conservatism is not retained -- believe it, or not.

This particular writer, at least, stops at the brink of the precipice. He has never stated, unlike "people I support," that he would not vote for McCain in the general election, or that he would actively support a Democrat just to spite McCain. For the moment, however, he seems unwilling to acknowledge that, from any sane Republican perspective, Limbaugh, Coulter and others have gone too far in their obvious ambition to be the cardinals and kingmakers of conservatism. If he thinks that his heroes have no self-interest, no desire for power within the movement, staked in this struggle, he's naive, to say the least. Why I should care I don't exactly know; maybe I have an unexpected sense of pity at the sight of madmen roaring and running about with shards of glass aimed at their throats. These people would throw away their last best hope of staying in power, if only they could, for some of the pettiest of reasons. There's something nearly tragic about this spectacle that makes it hard for me to gloat over it as some will do. Maybe I don't really hate anybody, either...

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