Douglas MacKinnon

As with small children, many of the entrenched, beholden, or power-hungry hierarchy of the Republican party, simply wish conservatives could be seen, but never heard.

In a very telling headline, The Washington Times recently reported, “McCain Refuses to Pander.” In the first paragraph of the article, the paper said, “John McCain's campaign manager yesterday said the candidate will not pander for conservative support…” Yeah, we know. Message received.

For those conservatives or talk radio hosts who still don’t get it, or who are still not prepared to compromise their principles for the party, then some elder statesmen have some names they’d like to call you. Chase Untermeyer, the former high level official for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and the current president, said in a recent column, “At both the national and local levels, there are those who declare that certain Republican elected officials are insufficiently conservative and must be purged. Senator John McCain is getting the worst of these blasts right now, with some self-appointed tribunes of Reagan’s legacy saying they might even prefer Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – scarcely followers of the Gipper – to McCain.”

For those conservatives who admire President Reagan but would dare question the record of McCain, Mr. Untermeyer, labeled each a “SQUIRREL.” As in “Snarky Quibbler who Undermines and Ignores Ronald Reagan’s Enduring Legacy.”

“Snarky.” I guess if you went to Harvard, called yourself “Chase” instead of Charles, and mingled with the elites of the world, then “Snarky” is a name you might assign to conservatives who have an honest disagreement with John McCain. If you’re someone like me, who grew up in poverty, barely got an education, and never met an Ivory Tower elite worth a warm bucket of spit, then you might substitute the word “ethical” for snarky.

When I first came to Washington, I had the honor to work in the White House as a low-level writer for Ronald Reagan. While certainly lacking the pedigree of Mr. Untermeyer, I did share one or two special moments with that President. In a conversation that Peggy Noonan was kind enough to chronicle in her bestselling book entitled “When Character Was King,” President Reagan and I spoke in the Oval Office about the alcoholism of our fathers, poverty, and the cruelty of life. It was actually because of Ronald Reagan’s wisdom, kindness, and suggestion, that I was able to reach out to my estranged father.


Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of The Secessionist States of America. (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014)

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