David Limbaugh

Political commentators from various points on the right-wing spectrum are still arguing about the McCain presidential candidacy, lecturing and scolding each other -- as if their opinions are going to decide the election. They take themselves too seriously.

The McCainiacs are warning McCain's conservative opponents that unless they stop criticizing McCain immediately, he'll never recover in time for the general election.

This assumes that if the pundits come around, the grassroots will follow, like mindless sheep. Newsflash: They are neither intellectually shallow nor easily led. They are informed, engaged, independent minded and principled.

Nothing illustrates this better than the controversy surrounding the revival of McCain's candidacy. I haven't seen this much anxiety among conservatives since the Clinton impeachment.

I've never received more e-mails, and they've never been more passionate. My correspondents fall roughly into three groups:

One group is outraged at conservative holdouts who aren't warming to McCain quickly enough to allay their fears that less than a unified GOP front will result in the end of the world under a president Clinton or Obama. My earlier statement that I would ultimately vote for McCain (however reluctantly) if he's the nominee didn't pacify them. Even to softly criticize him or gently nudge him to the right would be to forfeit the election to the Democrats.

The second group is incensed that conservatives would consider supporting McCain even as the lesser of "evils." Such would be a betrayal of the highest magnitude and disqualifies them from calling themselves conservatives. They will never vote for McCain. One, fairly typical, wrote, "For me to cast a vote for (McCain) at this time is totally unthinkable. I would have to don from head to toe our surgical isolation gear with heavy gloves and boots and wear a gas mask, too, and carry my ballot over to the ballot box by a pair of tongs. Then I would have to hurry home to shower off in the hottest of water and then douse myself with bleach. … And I say this knowing that McLame is (supposedly) more conservative than Obama or Hillary!!!"

The third group, though equally passionate, is less resolute. They view McCain's candidacy as presenting a dilemma. On the one hand, he's an inveterate opponent of many conservative causes, and voting for him in the general election would be enormously painful. On the other, not voting for him would be to facilitate the unthinkable. They feel utter despair.


David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of new book Crimes Against Liberty, the definitive chronicle of Barack Obama's devastating term in office so far.

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