Ross Mackenzie

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”?

Ross Mackenzie

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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