I suppose I could be accused of over-dramatizing, but I truly worry about the direction this nation is headed when contemplating a presidential race where the choices are liberal and liberal-light. If John McCain is the GOP nominee, that's what we'll be faced with, despite the Herculean efforts of some to spin it otherwise.
In that case, the presidential candidates of both parties would be willing to use the bully pulpit and governing power of the presidency to suppress political speech, punish producers, oil companies and drug companies, open wider our borders, cater to the whacko environmental movement and its junk-science-driven pseudo-consensus on global warming, nominate judges who don't "wear their conservatism on their sleeve," close Gitmo, confer constitutional civil liberties on enemy combatants, end life-saving interrogation techniques, demonize evangelical conservatives, and obstruct efforts of conservative Republican legislators.
It is also distressing that many conservative commentators are so deeply mired in rationalization in order to spin their support for John McCain.
Sure, if I'm a paid staffer for McCain or a high-school debater forced to take the affirmative side of the proposition that McCain is a conservative, I can make a colorable case -- intellectual honesty be damned -- that he's a conservative. But I am under no such constraints.
Getting 50 endorsements from well-placed Republican officials or even respected conservatives doesn't make McCain conservative. Being a conservative makes one a conservative. I bet, truth be told, McCain can't even stand the word.
How quickly we forget that McCain said that conservative evangelicals are "agents of intolerance" and that social issues just aren't his thing.
How readily we overlook that his environmental and immigration policies alone contradict his self-identification as a budget hawk.
How quickly we forget that he really was just one of two Republican senators who actively opposed the Bush tax cuts, which, despite liberal disinformation, led to sustained economic growth.
How blindly we're willing to overlook McCain's fib that he opposed the cuts because they weren't coupled with guaranteed spending cuts. That was most certainly not the thrust of his opposition to the cuts -- and he knows it. The facts are available for all to see. He opposed the cuts because he said, quite dishonestly, that they were skewed in favor of the wealthy. That, "my friend," is apparently what he means by "straight talk."
McCain has no abiding loyalty to conservative principles. His loyalty is to John McCain. If he captures the nomination and then goes on to win the election after leading the charge for open borders and against the Bush tax cuts, can you imagine how liberally he'll govern? How long do you think it will take for him to abandon his opportunistically acquired, more restrictive immigration policy when he has already stated that he hasn't changed his position at all? It's time for Rod Serling to bring us back from the Twilight Zone.
With McCain's many liberal predispositions and his craving for approval from elitist liberal circles, how likely is it that he will be able to resist the temptation to govern so as to please The New York Times? Would the Old Gray Lady have endorsed McCain had she believed he had actually converted to the supply -- er, dark side? Would this most liberal of liberal print-publication giants eulogized McCain if he hadn't established himself as a persistent annoyance to the Republican Party and conservatism? Would the liberal commentariat in general be salivating over McCain if he'd seen the error of his quasi-liberal ways?
It would be one thing for a Democratic president to rail against capitalism, slander those as racists and bigots who want to protect the unique American culture and safeguard our national security through prudent protection of our borders and rule of law, routinely pay homage to the gods of global warming, and use the tax code as a weapon against achievement and realization of the "American dream." But for a Republican, also falsely labeled as a conservative, to do it would be tragic.
We've already gone far enough in that dangerous direction under Republican administrations. We can't afford to go any further.
No matter how freely both parties have neglected the essential principles of limited republican government established in our Constitution, and no matter how foolishly we assume our unique experiment in constitutional self-rule will thrive even if we continue to reject the constitutional principles underlying it, we can destroy ourselves just as quickly from within as our enemies can destroy us by force.
We can't ever expect the ultra-liberal modern Democratic Party to vigilantly safeguard the pillars of self-government that guaranty our liberties. We have no choice, then, but to work to bring home the GOP and its principal leaders, to conservatism.