My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


McCain's Problem is the Republicans' Paradox 

Let me begin with this statement: I will not work for John McCain.

If, against all odds, John McCain comes through the primary race and wins the nomination, I will not work for him.

Of course, elections are about choices; given the choice between McCain and either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I would pull the "lever" for Senator McCain. I would choose him to be President over any Democrat.

But there are other choices one makes in life. For instance, during most of the summer and fall of the last three election cycles, I CHOSE to give up a substantial portion of my free time to getting Bob Beauprez--and then Rick O'Donnell--, Bill Owens, and President Bush elected by walking precincts and manning phone banks.

I don't believe I would make that same choice for John McCain. And, yes, there will be a race for my Congressional seat this election, and I will probably give my time and energy to that race. But it would stop at that point--whatever portion of the effort would need to be dedicated to the McCain 08 campaign would find me either returning home to my family or headed to a driving range.

You see, other choices have consequences. When John McCain CHOSE to push through campaign finance reform, he made it exceptionally difficult for Republicans to run a fair race in a state with deep Democratic pockets. Because of that choice, so much extra effort will have to be devoted to down-ticket races that the Presidential election may just fall down the priority list.

What Michael Medved and others who admire and support McCain because of his integrity miss is that his mistakes HAVE CONSEQUENCES. A judiciary that could have been radically retooled during the eight years of President Bush has, instead, become a political football thanks to McCain; a border that could have largely been blocked off by two layers of fencing has, instead, been left porous thanks to McCain.

Mistakes have consequences, and McCain's mistakes have left me . . . unenthusiastic . . .about supporting him should he be the eventual nominee. And I don't think I'm alone in that assessment.

It is true that McCain deserves respect, even admiration, for both his heroic past and his current integrity. The country likes a poltician who, even when its not in thir best interest, necessarily, speaks their mind and takes strong, unwavering stances. And that, rightfully so, makes McCain the candidate most likely to bring Independents and a few hawkish Democrats into the GOP electoral tent. In fact, given the last eight years' lack of coherent argument in favor of conservatism, he may be the ONLY Republican who can bring outside groups into the tent.

Which leaves Republicans in an electoral dilemma. Republicans are no longer the party of deep pockets, which means that we are heavily dependent on volunteers to win elections. If that base of volunteers is weakened by the person at the top of the ticket, Republicans can not win. Period.

Electorally, John McCain may be the only candidate who can dominate this election cycle; structurally, John McCain makes it almost inconceivable that Republicans will have a good year. That's not a good formula.

Personally, I would prefer a candidate who can make an articulate defense of conservative principles, even if they lose. There's more to be gained from losing the good fight than there may be from surrendering our principles.

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