For John McCain, the good news is that the Democrats are beating themselves up. The bad news: Certain movement conservatives and business types are dissing him — not embracing his candidacy as they should.
In fundraising from all sources, McCain trails Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton by more than $100 million each. In campaign contributions from members of the business/corporate community, McCain lags behind giving to the Democrats in all but one of seven corporate categories long supportive of Republicans. The comparative figures for those categories through February: $49.6 million to Obama and Clinton (combined), $13.1 million to McCain.
These astounding fundraising discrepancies are partially explained in two ways: (1) The race for the Democratic nomination continues to inspire big-time giving to the two nominees still in it. (2) Despite his 81 percent pro-business voting record, McCain does not generate enthusiasm in the business community the way other Republicans do — especially not to the extent other Republican presidential nominees have.
Similarly with certain movement conservatives. They yearn for romancing by McCain, and though he has gone a-courtin’ it has been — they judge — with insufficient ardor. He hasn’t done it the right way. To top it all off, they don’t like some of his advisers — either their personalities or their views.
These conservative ideologues measure the McCain candidacy in terms of their own power within the conservative movement. They see that power as being eroded in a McCain presidency. They feel that if their opinions are not solicited in the campaign, then their influence certainly would not needed — or felt — in a McCain presidency. So some play coy or are outright hostile in withholding their support now.
And so they say idiot things about McCain — such as: (a) Rather than uniting Republicans, “he seems intent on driving (conservatives) away,” and (b) McCain “hasn’t really made conservatives believe they’re involved in a common enterprise.”
These two groups — hard-line social conservatives and traditionally Republican-supporting members of the business/corporate community — need to get over it. John McCain is going to be their nominee, the Republican nominee. If conviction doesn’t drive them to support him, then necessity should.
The fall campaign will turn on two fundamental issues — the economy and Islamofascist terror. Do these reluctant debutantes really want — let’s see:
— A President Hillary Clinton who said in Pennsylvania the other day that the near-term need for current troop levels in Iraq is a “clear admission that the surge has failed to accomplish its goals”?
— A President Barack Obama, named by the National Journal as the Senate’s most liberal member in 2007, who campaigns as a post-partisan uniter on not only race but ideology — saying dismissively: “A liberal, oh he’s a liberal — a liberal. This is what I would call old politics. This is the stuff we’re trying to get rid of. . . . Those old categories don’t work”?
— A President Clinton or Obama who favors raising income taxes, corporate taxes and Social Security taxes? Who supports socialized medicine and expanded government regulation of the economy? Who — either of them — is one of the most pro-union candidates ever to seek the presidency?
— A President McCain who believes we should “stay strong” and “never surrender” in Iraq, or a President Obama or Clinton seemingly as invested in our defeat there and in the broader Islamofascist terror war as their ideological precursors were invested in our defeat in Vietnam? Indeed, a President Obama or Clinton effectively denying the Koranic sanction and inspiration for jihad?
— A President McCain rated one of the Senate’s most conservative members, or a President Obama who has broken with liberal orthodoxy in no discernible major area?
— A President Clinton or Obama totally enrolled in global-warming extremism, or a President McCain willing to take certain steps in the global-warming area while recognizing some may vastly overstate the human role in warming?
— A President Clinton or Obama who fails to comprehend (a) the meaning of the uprising in Tibet in this Olympic hour, (b) the importance of a Colombia free-trade pact, or (c) the consequences of defeat in Iraq — or a President McCain fully engaged and tuned-in?
We’re talking necessity here, if not conviction. So it is indeed time for hypercritical conservatives and business types to get over it — to bury their egos and their lingering hesitations or reservations — and support a John McCain with the appeal to the moderates and independents that any national Republican has to have to prevail against a lunatic leftism.
Then, with a President-elect McCain on his way to the White House, there will be plenty of time to focus on more crucial issues in the public arena — such as who really was responsible for the deaths of Dodi Fayed and Princess Di.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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