In Colorado, McCain and his meddlers infuriated the state party by anointing former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton to challenge endangered Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. She’s a milquetoast public official who has served on a lot of task forces and GOP clubs -- and who happens to be the sister-in-law of big Beltway insider Charlie Black. An estimated 40 percent of her coffers are filled with out-of-state money (and much of that is flowing from the Beltway).
The mini-McCain of Colorado claims to oppose “special interests,” but has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from D.C. lobbyists at McCain’s behest -- stifling the candidacies of strong conservative rivals led by grassroots-supported Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, an amnesty opponent whose aggressive illegal-immigration prosecutions have earned him the rage of the far left and big-business right. A recent Rasmussen poll showed Buck and GOP candidate Tom Wiens beating Bennet -- despite the huge cash and crony advantage of frontrunner and blank-slate Norton.
In California, McCain’s PAC supports former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina -- a celebrity name with deep pockets of her own, massive media exposure and a checkered business record. Fiorina served as the economic adviser to McCain, who supported the $700 billion TARP bailout, the $25 billion auto bailout, a $300 billion mortgage bailout and the first $85 billion AIG bailout. As GOP rival and grassroots-supported Chuck DeVore’s camp notes, Fiorina has also vacillated publicly over the Obama stimulus. With taxpayer “friends” like this, who needs Democrats?
With all due respect to McCain’s noble war service, it’s time to head to the pasture. As the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, he was wrong on the constitutionality of the free-speech-stifling McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulations. He was wrong to side with the junk-science global warming activists in pushing onerous carbon caps on America. He was on the wrong side of every Chicken Little-driven bailout. He was wrong in opposing enhanced CIA interrogation methods that have saved countless American lives and averted jihadi plots. And he was spectacularly wrong in teaming with the open-borders lobby to push a dangerous illegal alien amnesty.
Tea Party activists are rightly outraged by Palin’s decision to campaign for McCain, whose entrenched incumbency and progressive views are anathema to the movement. At least she has an excuse: She’s caught between a loyalty rock and a partisan hard place. The conservative base has no such obligations -- and it is imperative that they get in the game (as they did in Massachusetts) before it’s too late. The movement to restore limited government in Washington has come too far, against all odds, to succumb to McCain Regression Syndrome now.