Well, I guess we're all pretty relieved we didn't drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge back in 2002. What a disaster that would have been.
The vote on ANWR was almost entirely along partisan lines, with all Republicans, except a handful of "moderates," voting for drilling, and all Democrats, except a handful of sane Democrats like Zell Miller, voting against drilling.
John McCain opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because he polled soccer moms and found out they were against drilling. They thought it sounded too much like going to the dentist. McCain wanted to ensure that he remained beloved by the two pillars of his base: "centrists" and New York Times reporters.
Even Sen. Chuck Hagel voted for drilling in ANWR. But John McCain, "our" candidate, voted against it.
I guess we're beginning to see the problem of basing a political platform on the passing fancies of "centrists." These are people who have no opinions because they know nothing about national issues. They're the ones who check the "not sure/no opinion" box on polls regarding the legalization of cannibalism.
You can't blame them: They're not being paid to know something about national issues. Those people we call "senators" and "representatives."
But now, astronomical gas prices have forced even soccer moms to spend 10 minutes looking at a problem that their leaders were supposed to be thinking about for years. And the soccer moms are saying: Drill! Drill! Drill! Bobby, come down off of there! Stop hitting your sister! Where was I? Oh, yeah ... Drill! Drill! Drill!
Consequently, McCain recently switched his position to go along with the centrists. See, that's the downside of having chosen all your political positions by polling centrists: The moment they acquire any knowledge, they'll realize you're an idiot.
It's always the same argument. Year after year, the "moderate Republicans" so respected at The New York Times harangue us to dump the Christians, the conservatives, the Swift Boat Veterans, the "right-wing extremists," the gun-and-God clingers and the fanatical pro-lifers from our party so we can repel every American who voted for Ronald Reagan in order to win the votes of people like Christine Todd Whitman.
Yes, by all means let's clear out all that deadwood and pave the way for a 49-state landslide! (For the Democrats.)
McCain followed the Times' strategy to a T. He called Jerry Falwell an "agent of intolerance." He called the Swift Boat Veterans "dishonest and dishonorable." He has denounced every Christian minister who tries to endorse him. Over the years, McCain has ostentatiously attacked every issue of importance to conservatives and embraced every crackpot liberal idea, including the left's latest plan to exterminate the human race, called "global warming."
Two weeks ago, McCain skipped the capitol prayer breakfast in California, instead appearing with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at an environmental event in nearby Santa Barbara. Schwarzenegger's absence marked the first time a governor skipped what has come to be known as "the governor's prayer breakfast." I guess in the world of moderate Republicans an environmental event qualifies as a religious observance.
The keynote speaker at the breakfast, Hollywood producer Mark Joseph, quoted a recent cover article in Christianity Today by professors Daniel Taylor and Mark McCloskey that said:
"In premodern times, the courage of a leader often had to be physical. In the last 500 years it is more often moral. Moral courage is the ability to do what's right even when it is deeply unpopular, even dangerous. Courage is only found where there is the genuine possibility of loss -- loss of friends, reputation, status, power, possessions or, at the extremes, freedom or life."
No wonder McCain and Schwarzenegger skipped it.
Moderate Republicans like McCain have taken to heart liberals' admonition that Ronald Reagan's appeal had absolutely nothing to do with his conservative philosophy.
The irony is, the only people McCain can count on to vote for him are the very Republicans he despises -- at least those of us who can get drunk enough on Election Day to pull the lever for him. In fact, we should organize parties around the country where Republicans can get drunk so they can vote for McCain. We can pass out clothespins with his name as a reminder and slogan-festooned vomit bags. The East Coast parties can post the number of drinks necessary for the task to help the West Coast parties. For more information, go to getdrunkandvote4mccain.com.
Not being ignorant "centrists," we know what a world-class disaster B. Hussein Obama will be. Meanwhile, the centrists McCain spent years impressing with his outraged denunciations of conservatives, Swift Boat Veterans and Christians will be voting for Obama. They think he's cute.
How many times do we have to run this experiment?
Taking the advice of Democrats, Republicans ran "moderates" for president in 1944, 1948, 1976, 1992 and 1996. All lost. Republicans also ran a "moderate" for president in 1988, but that was unwittingly -- both to us and, fortunately, to the voters. In other words, in the language of the market, the best tip on "moderate Republicans" is: SELL!
But now, apparently, we have to run the experiment again. This year, moderate Republicans have hit the jackpot. John McCain is the Platonic ideal of a "moderate Republican."
To paraphrase Richard Nixon on George McGovern in 1972: Here we have a situation where moderate Republicans finally have a candidate who almost totally shares their views. Now we'll see what the country thinks.