Mike Huckabee's campaign manager Ed Rollins has been ceaselessly pilloried on the Right for saying, "It's gone. The breakup of what was the Reagan coalition -- social conservatives, defense conservatives, anti-tax conservatives -- it doesn't mean a whole lot to people anymore."
While my gut impulse is to disagree with Rollins, the rapid rise of John McCain, the man who has done more to thwart Reagan conservatives than any other Republican over the last few years, is evidence that Rollins is right -- or at a minimum, evidence that movement conservatives have been marginalized in the Republican Party.
Amongst grassroots conservatives, John McCain's name is an expletive -- and for good reason -- because he has made a name for himself by knifing conservatives time and time again for the amusement of his liberal pals in the mainstream media.
McCain supports amnesty for illegal aliens, was behind the Gang of 14, is a gun grabber, opposed the Bush tax cuts, ran roughshod over the Constitution with McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform, opposes a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, was rumored to be considering switching parties multiple times, talked with John Kerry about being his Vice-President, lines up with the global warming alarmists, wants to close Gitmo, wants to coddle captured terrorists -- you can go on and on with this. In essence, John McCain is hawkish, he's fiscally conservative, he has a solid pro-life voting record that is at odds with his previously stated opposition to overturning Roe v. Wade ("I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade." --John McCain, 1999) -- and on everything else, he's a Democrat.
In other words, we're talking about a man who could fairly be called a Rockefeller Republican, a Country Club Republican, a RINO, or just a toweringly arrogant, out of touch D.C. insider who seems to assume that any position he takes is right solely because he happens to hold it. However, what John McCain cannot fairly be called is a conservative.
Granted, some of his leading competitors for the Republican nomination depart from the conservative orthodoxy in a number of ways as well, but in their defense, none of them has built a career out of smashing a boot into the faces of the very people they're going to need to vote for them in November.