It's true that McCain is unpopular with Reagan conservatives because he decidedly is not, on far too many issues, a Reagan conservative. But it's more than that. He is the anti-conservative. He instinctively sides against conservatives and relishes poking them in the eye.
He enjoys cavorting and colluding with our political enemies and basks in the fawning attention they give him. Adding insult to injury, he now pretends to be the very thing he is not: an across-the-board Reagan conservative. This fraudulent pretense inspires fundamental distrust among Reagan conservatives.
Consider: Robert Novak has corroborated John Fund's account of McCain dissing Samuel Alito as too conservative, or as "wearing his conservatism on his sleeve." True, McCain voted to confirm Alito, but that's a far cry from nominating such a judge in the first place.
McCain’s characterization of Alito is troubling on another level, as well. There is a difference between a judicial-restraint philosophy and judicial activism that promotes conservatism. McCain wholly ignores that distinction and echoes the liberal line of disinformation that judges like Alito are conservative activists. This type of thinking is born of liberal instincts; McCain often thinks like a liberal.
That's unfair, you say? Well, isn't it true? Doesn't he have liberal instincts, or at least an irrepressible desire for liberal approval on global warming? Don't liberal assumptions underlie his crusade for campaign-finance reform?
How many times have we heard him say: "Money corrupts all of us. We need to get money out of politics"? Assuming he really believes money ineluctably poisons every politician, it is astonishingly naive to believe such ubiquitous corruption can be eradicated with a mere finger on the dike aimed at restricting certain avenues where money enters the process. It's as insultingly ludicrous as John Edwards' promise to end all poverty.
Plus, it's not as if the campaign-finance-reform experiment is just a well-meaning but harmless enterprise. On top of its woeful ineffectiveness, perhaps even counter-productiveness, it also has egregious consequences: It does violence to free political speech -- the most important category of speech essential to the preservation of our republic.
McCain's tunnel vision on this and his refusal even to consider the speech-suppressing aspects of his reckless, utopian fantasy bespeaks an ends-justifies-the-means attitude, also typical of the liberal mindset. "We know what is best for you, so there is no harm in our beneficent suppression of the most important freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights."