Quite uncharacteristically, I find myself somewhat torn, as well. I couldn't ever vote for Hillary or Obama, but I don't think Republicans are so fragile that continuing this vigorous debate among ourselves is dangerous. Reagan conservatives have to continue to make their voices heard.
Many conservatives aren't impressed that McCain allegedly has an 80 percent lifetime conservative voting record. They view the numerous and substantial policy differences he has today with Reagan conservatives as disqualifying.
He says he'll extend the Bush tax cuts, but he vigorously opposed them initially. So what about other supply side measures, like lowering or eliminating capital gains and estate taxes? He says he'll protect the border, but does he still favor amnesty for some 20 million illegals without regard to what that could mean for security, the deficit, the culture, the rule of law and political demographics? Will he still call his opponents on this issue "nativists"?
He says he's a fiscal hawk, but since he's bought into liberal global-warming propaganda, will he push cap-and-trade, Kyoto, and other initiatives that could bankrupt our government and economy? Will he close Gitmo, bring terrorist prisoners within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States and treat them like criminal suspects instead of war enemies? Will he continue to subordinate life issues to his beloved campaign finance reform crusade?
I would never consider voting for a Democratic presidential candidate just because the Republican was not optimal. But I understand why some have drawn the line at McCain's candidacy.
Regardless, whatever the McCainiacs do, they should not underestimate the intensity of conservative angst against him, his recent record and many of his current positions. His conservative opponents are legion and they will not be appeased with glib promises.
It wouldn't matter if Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and every other conservative talk-show host and commentator came together and implored them to vote for McCain. A great many of them will not do so unless they are personally satisfied they are not selling their country down the river by electing John McCain.
So instead of focusing on Rush, Sean, Mark and Laura, the McCainiacs better address sincerely the concerns of the grassroots -- soon. Without the base, all the moderates in the world won't save him.
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