Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blue Monday (on Wednesday)

I find this:
McCain - 36%
Romney - 31%

to be very depressing. The more I see John McCain, the more I look at his record, the more I do not want him to be President. And while he'll certainly be* preferable, or, more accurately, less objectionable, than whichever Democrat is the candidate in the general election, I ponder the prospect of a McCain presidency with something considerably less than enthusiasm.

As Michael Graham put it in The Corner last night:
In November, we'll be sending out our most liberal, least trustworthy candidate vs.[sic] to take on Hillary Clinton—perhaps not more liberal than Barack Obama, but certainly far less trustworthy. And the worst part for the Right is that McCain will have won the nomination while ignoring, insulting and, as of this weekend, shamelessly lying about conservatives and conservatism.

There's one more thing to consider. During the primary season, McCain has been the candidate of the big media and independents. He loses amongst Republicans. Even in Florida, which is supposed to be a closed primary state, exit polls indicate that Republicans voted for Romney. Well, he won't be the candidate of big media in the fall. All of the beltway insider types that man the national newsdesks, who are so quick to praise his "straight talk" when he's taking aim at Republicans, will be equally quick to decry his temperament, his positions, his "negative" campaigning when the target is Hillary or Obama. McCain could win, I suppose, if he can take a decent share of the independent vote while holding the conservatives, but I'm skeptical that either part of that is realistic. I can see a lot of people holding their noses and voting for him in the fall. I can also see a lot of people sitting out.

And I'll be honest - at this point, I don't know into which category I'll fall**.

[12:05PM UPDATE] - I was obviously venting, earlier, when I wrote this, so I want to acknowledge the other side of the argument, as made in these worthwhile comments from Jim Geraghty:
I'll also note that when McCain takes a position to the left of his party or to the conservative base, it's not on quiet, little-noticed issues. Campaign finance reform. The Gang of 14. The immigration deal. The Bush tax cuts. He's not perfect on guns, and he believes in cap and trade to mitigate global warming.

But year after year, there's been a lot of pro-life votes, a lot of defense spending bills, welfare reform efforts, the Republican Revolution of the mid-1990s, voting to impeach Clinton on both counts, Supreme Court justices, etc.

As discussion of Republican primary choices has gotten more heated, I think the terms "liberal", "not conservative" and "not as conservative as I would like" have become synonyms, and that shouldn't be the case.

* - It isn't mathematically over yet, but I don't see a realistic scenario in which McCain does not, at this point, take the necessary delegates to win the nomination.

** - (It won't matter, of course - here in Massachusetts, there won't really be a presidential election this year, just the charade which precedes the awarding of the presidential electors to the Democratic candidate...)

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