Admittedly the title is a wee bit of an exaggeration. Did I say "wee bit?" I really meant a huge exaggeration. Okay, okay, the title is so over-the-top that I would only write it in a column, not say it in front of an audience of conservatives because people might start throwing garbage.
And let me tell you, I understand where people are coming from with McCain; I really do. That's why I created such seminal works of art as The Conservative Case Against John McCain In 2008, A Conservative Nightmare: Republican Nominee, John McCain, and John McCain: This guy? Really?, among many, many other brutal attacks on "Amnesty" John. On the bright side, I suppose that if he becomes President, no one can ever accuse me of refusing to criticize people on my own side, but on the other hand, that would mean John McCain would be the President of the United States. Shudder!
Wait, what was this column about again? Oh yes, why conservatives should vote for John McCain in 2008. Well, somebody had to write this column since it's looking more and more likely that McCain is going to be the nominee and it's better that it isn't one of the people who actually like him because a lot of the things that need to be said about Mr. "Straight Talk" aren't that pleasant.
The truth is that John McCain could have been fairly called a conservative at one time, but that is no longer an accurate designation for him. McCain is not just a squish or a RINO, he is a man who seems to take pleasure in publicly fighting against conservatives on issues of great import. That's why John McCain may become the de facto leader of the Republican Party if he's the nominee and the leader of the country if he's the President, but no matter how many times he calls himself a "conservative leader," the Right will accept him as the leader of the conservative movement about 5 minutes after hell freezes over and reopens as a ski lodge.
That being said, there's another side to the story that has to be told. For all of his flaws, and there are many of them, John McCain is far to the right of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Those of us on the Right tend to downplay that, because a betrayal by someone on our own side stings much more sharply than one from a Democrat, but it is something conservatives should be willing to admit.
It's also worth noting that these claims that McCain will destroy the conservative movement are unlikely to be true or alternately, if they are, then the conservative movement is probably too fragile to last any way. After all, if the liberal movement could survive Bill Clinton, a lying adulterer whose three greatest "accomplishments," welfare reform, NAFTA, and balancing the budget, were all near and dear to the hearts of conservatives, then we should be able to withstand McCain.
More to the point, although we cannot know exactly how things will play out, it's very easy to imagine a scenario where a McCain presidency would be very good for the country and for conservatism.
Don't think it sounds possible? Well, imagine this: John McCain selects Fred Thompson as his Vice-President and defeats Hillary Clinton in November. Although he has many negatives, McCain is a fiscal conservative and it's easy to see him balancing the budget, which would burnish the fiscal credentials of the Republican Party.
McCain would also hang in there in Iraq and insure that country is stable before we leave, which would help the American public regain confidence in the GOP on foreign policy again.
Next up is judges. John Paul Stevens is 87 years old. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 74 and has had cancer. Does either of those two liberals make it through the next four years without retiring? That's no small issue, because the court is currently split with 4 conservatives, 4 liberals and a moderate. That means a number of important cases, including Roe v. Wade, will probably be decided once and for all by the Supreme Court appointments of the next President of the United States. May God forgive us if we condemn a million plus children a year to death by abortion because we're angry at John McCain.
Then there's immigration, where we know McCain is just dying to put the illegal immigrants in this country on a path to citizenship. However, he has pledged to secure the border before he does that. In all honesty, with the glacier-like speed that the federal government moves, there is zero chance that is going to be completed in the next four years. Yet, as security improves, more and more illegal aliens will leave the country on their own. So even though McCain's motives wouldn't be pure, enforcement by attrition would still occur during his first term and if conservatives hold McCain to his promise, it's very possible that he wouldn't be able to implement amnesty by 2012.
Of course, there are a lot of other non-conservative things that McCain would like to do but happily, as we all know, the Founding Fathers created a political system that moves slowly and is very prone to gridlock. That means it's possible that much of the rest of McCain's agenda would remain undone in his first term and it's entirely possible that McCain won't run again. He is, after all, almost 72 years old and as Chuck Norris so bluntly reminded us, the presidency does have a tendency to age a man well beyond his years.
So, think about where we could be: a balanced budget, the war in Iraq won, a conservative Supreme Court, border security increased, the Republican Party's reputation much improved, and McCain leaving office in 2012. Can you really tell me that sounds so bad?
Granted, that is a very rosy scenario, but it's also relatively plausible -- and what's our alternative? President Hillary Rodham Clinton or President Barack Obama, socialized medicine, losing the war in Iraq, allowing Al-Qaeda to run wild for 4 years, exploding deficits, huge tax increases, and a liberal leaning Supreme Court for the next decade.
Of course, some people think there might be a conservative resurgence in opposition to a Democratic President, but don't kid yourself; it's just as likely that a GOP defeat could turn us into a squabbling minority party that is out of power for years while the Left remakes this country in the image of Belgium.
Does that mean you should, "vote for John McCain in November and like it?" No, but it does mean, that if John McCain is the nominee, you should think very hard about holding your nose and voting for the viable candidate who would do the most good for our country.