Everyone is offering John McCain advice on what he needs to say today, and I am no exception.
My general feeling is that this can't be merely a stump speech where he talks about how conservative he is. He also won't get by simply by reminding us he was a "foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution" -- and that Ronald Reagan brought him to the first CPAC back in '74. That's all important to know, mind you, but it's not enough to persuade conservatives that he's to be trusted ...
Instead, at some point, he needs to quit giving a "speech
" -- put down his notes -- and look us in the eye -- for a real heart-to-heart.
At that point, he should admit there are areas where we he disagrees with us (no point in trying to hide that). He should then promise
his door will always be open for us (if he doesn't agree with us, he will at least hear us out). He needs to promise to incorporate conservative leaders into his campaign and presidency (access is important). And he needs to promise that he harbors no animosity toward our leaders, and that as far as he is concerned, there is a clean slate (a lot of conservatives don't just dislike him -- they fear
... And if he wants to get some good buzz coming off his speech, he might also want to set up a quick meeting with conservative bloggers at CPAC.
Of course, there are some people who will never support McCain -- even if he's running against Hillary. But I believe my advice would help get him started toward patching up the wounds.
Let's see if he follows it ...