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Friday, February 08, 2008

Should Conservatives Vote For McCain?


I won't argue about Senator McCain's failures in representing the base of the Republican Party. We already did that. Unfortunately, we lost this battle for the nomination of a conservative candidate.

As in war – not unlike the war in Iraq – victory cannot be found in quitting. Likewise, the conservative movement is not benefited by quitting the next battle and ceding the Presidency to Democrats – no matter how much we may despise Senator McCain.

Still, I know what many of you are feeling. Frustration, betrayal, anger, disgust, and want for vindication likely sums it up. But, for now, box these feelings – don't forget them – just set them aside for awhile. Your decision about voting in November should be driven by clear thinking and not emotional impulse – as is the case with most Democrats. It's time to live up to the bumper sticker Republicans Think, Democrats Feel.

Why we should (gulp) vote for John McCain for President:

We are at war. We must win. We must win in Iraq. And Democrats are dedicated to defeat. I've had my issues with McCain being AWOL when Democrats lied about Iraq to score political points against President Bush. Still, Senator McCain is dedicated to winning in Iraq. Further he is dedicated to defeating our enemies and defending our shores. McCain has made defense of our nation a cornerstone for his political career and his ego will not allow defeat. As Governor Romney put it today at CPAC:

And Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror. They would retreat and declare defeat. And the consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America, launched from safe havens that make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child's play. About this, I have no doubt.

I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror. ... in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.
We know what happens when Democrats control the White House. In four short years, President Carter failed to protect our interests in Iran which ultimately gave birth to the radical Islamic terrorism that threatens us today. President Clinton made things worse by failing to respond to increasingly brazen terrorist attacks. He put polls before military strategy and let Bin Laden get away – multiple times. We have no reason to believe that Senators Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would do any better.

We cannot let our disdain for Senator McCain aid a surrendering to terror.

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will be 88 years old when the next president takes the Oath of Office. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be 75. The likelihood that the next President will appoint a Supreme Court Justice is very high and the damage that another Ginsburg or Bryer can do is even higher. Should we put another justice on the bench dedicated to fixing law more than applying it, our grandchildren will be living with the ramifications.

Senator McCain seems driven to live up to the Maverick moniker. This was easy to get. All he had to do was walk into a liberal network studio to criticize Republicans. For this, he was called courageous. But, McCain was just one of a 100 U.S. Senators and getting attention was hard to do – unless you are a Republican turning against Republicans. It doesn't take courage to attack Republicans in front of the media, yet McCain seems drawn to this badge of honor.

As President, McCain need not oppose his party to get this attention. If McCain truly wants to be known as a Reagan Foot Soldier, he just might earn that Maverick moniker in a more courageous fashion by using his Bully Pulpit to promote conservative issues.

We may not always like what McCain promotes, but we can trust that he will follow through and keep his word. Senator John Kerry earned his Flipper image by switching positions with the winds of public opinion. This isn't true with Senator McCain. McCain is more an agitator and a dedicated one at that. As he aptly put it at CPAC:

... I hope you will grant that I have defended many positions we share just as ardently as I have made my case for positions that have provoked your opposition.
Tax cuts, spending cuts, free market health care, and no expansion of entitlement programs are a few of the commitments that McCain made in front of CPAC today. He included specific commitments:

I will start by making the Bush tax cuts permanent. I will cut corporate tax rates from 35 to 25% to keep industries and jobs in this country. I will end the Alternate Minimum Tax. And I won't let a Democratic Congress raise your taxes and choke the growth of our economy.
And, regarding national defense:

... It is shameful and dangerous that Senate Democrats are blocking an extension of surveillance powers that enable our intelligence and law enforcement to defend our country against radical Islamic extremists. This election is going to be about big things, not small things. And I intend to fight as hard as I can to ensure that our principles prevail over theirs.
These are bold commitments to a skeptical crowd, commitments upon which a President McCain will be judged. Democrats will promise tax cuts – they always do – but they never keep them and they are never held accountable for their deception. But, Republican Presidents don't get away breaking promises. McCain, knows the lesson of "read my lips" and the consequences of Republican Presidents who break bold promises made to a conservative Republican base. If he plans for a second term, keeping these promises will be vital.

Today's speech hinted at a deliberate move to right. Time will tell if it becomes more than a hint. But surely, Senator McCain is aware of the "suicide voter" movement that has been sweeping talk radio about Republican voters who plan not to vote in November. As evidenced by his frequent reference to President Reagan and his repetitive claim of conservative credentials, he knows that he must shore up the base to win in November.

I am encouraged that Senator McCain spoke boldly about the big conservative issues that separate Republicans from Democrats. I am further encouraged that he committed himself to campaign on these big issues for they are issues that will pull that squishy middle to the right. If McCain surrounds himself with more conservative advisers and potential cabinet appointees – like Governor Romney or Senator Thompson – then our confidence in is commitment to the big issues should be strengthened.

Elections are about choices, not always perfect choices, but choices nonetheless. We can choose to support Senator McCain with optimism that he will pleasantly surprise us. Or we can choose to hand the reigns of power – and guns of our troops – to Hillary and Barack with pessimism about our future. It is difficult to advance the conservative cause if every step forward is followed by two steps backward and no one can take us backward faster than Obama and Clinton.

Be optimistic. Life will be friendlier for you and those around you. Threaten to abstain if you must, but plan to vote for optimism and for McCain come November.

Oh, about that box with your feelings inside. Maybe it would be best to leave it boxed up for a few days.

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Blogger Daria said...

"...Democrats feel".

They certainly do. Just ask Kathleen Wiley. ;)

- D

2/08/2008 9:39 AM  

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