I just had a chance to chat with Craig Shirley, a prominent conservative, author, and PR guru, about the McCain fiasco.
Shirley has an interesting theory:
“The collapse of the McCain campaign,” he tells me, “is simply a metaphor for the disintegration of the entire Republican Party establishment.”
McCain, he says, is the candidate running in 2008 who most defends the establishment -- and that McCain -- like the party establishment -- has ignored the cry of the conservative base and now he and the entire party are suffering the consequences.
... Shirley argues that the conservative base is taking out their frustrations on John McCain ... that McCain became the embodyment of the what conservatives don't like about Bush and the GOP, including the party establishments support of amnesty.
According to Shirley, this is a cautionary tale for other Republican candidates to avoid becoming the establishment candidate, this time around. Traditionally, the GOP has nominated the presumed frontrunner, but times have changed. He also warns candidates of the dangers of becoming too dependent on consultants and of trying to run a campaign devoid of any new ideas.
Shirley says conservatives aren’t just revolting with votes and with their dollars, but they’re also doing it in various ways, and as an example, he cites a local initiative in Prince William County, VA, which cracks down on illegal immigration.
So what are the prospects for 2008 and beyond? Shirley believes a Giuliani nomination may spawn a third party nominee. Otherwise, he says that after 2008, you will see true conservatism – not big-government conservatism – make a comeback and reclaim the GOP.
He declares, “Conservatism is reestablishing itself as a unique and distinct entity from Republicanism.”
That, my friends, is a very good thing, indeed