February 2nd, 2008

Conservatives jump the shark: party purity über alles

Take a look at the comments responding to Ed Morrissey’s post asking whether Ann Coulter jumped the shark when she said she’d be campaigning for Hillary if McCain is nominated. They prove—as if we needed any proof—that the conservative base can be just as emotional, doctrinaire, rigid, deluded, selfish, and self-immolating as any liberal ever was.

Not every comment falls into those categories, of course. There’s a heated back-and forth between those who suffer from McCain Derangement Syndrome and those who are cautioning pragmatism. But there are enough examples of that first group to give one pause.

It’s not that I think they must like McCain; I understand it if they don’t. And it’s not even that I think they have to vote for him if nominated by their party. Nor is it just that they are seriously out of touch with political reality in this country, although that’s certainly part of it.

It’s that they have elevated party purity above considerations of the good of the country. In the end, not only is this bad for the country, but I think it’s bad for the Republican Party.

Many of the commenters on that thread have forgotten the Law of Thirds. What’s the Law of Thirds? I made it up, and described it here. The following is a short recap:

[M]y law refers to the fact that the populace of the US seems to be divided roughly into thirds, at least in the political sense: one-third on the entrenched left, one-third on the entrenched right, and one-third in between….Anyone from either radical third who thinks the American people will be happy to give his/her third a permanent ascendance in American political life is quite wrong, IMHO, and that person will be soundly rejected by said American people if he/she arrogantly and openly displays the hubris of thinking so…

The McCain-hating commenters on the Captain’s Quarters thread not only are making this error, but they are willing to throw over the good of the country and all the gains made in Iraq in order to set up some sort of backlash to a Democratic administration, a corrective reaction that they believe will finally lead to the election of a true conservative. The logic—if you can call it that—is to allow the nation to hit rock bottom, somewhat like an alcoholic, in order to finally see that its true salvation lies in electing a conservative purist.

Here’s a sampler of the sort of comments I’m talking about:

McCain is no different than Hillary other than the (R) after his name. I too will likely vote for Hillary because if someone is going to create a Nanny state with government programs and destroy the economy – I WANT it to be a democrat.

I can explain to you why I will sit out or even vote democrat instead of vote for John McCain. Because, at least in the end, when we get everything that a liberal piece of garbage will give to the USA, Americans will know who to blame and finally vote Republican.

This one’s the worst, in a way:

If America is to go to hell in a hand basket , at least let it be under the watch of a Democrat. With Hillary we’d manage to get the House and Senate back.

Remember: It took four years of Carter to give us a Reagan. (It was worth it)

Let that sink in: Carter was worth it, to get to Reagan. This not only supposes that Reagan could not have been elected but for the Carter years (a supposition I’m not at all sure is correct, because Reagan had his own strong appeal that was not primarily about policy but that transcended politics and was personality-driven), it also supposes that whatever Reagan did was important enough that it canceled out the damage done by Carter.

This ignores Carter’s disastrous Iran policy, to take just one example. It can be argued that Carter’s incompetence was instrumental in creating the present-day threat from Iran, which has been a worldwide state sponsor of terrorism for many years.

It’s also a tremendous gamble, with many assumptions that are both untestable and highly suspect. Those who think McCain will be as bad for the war in Iraq as Hillary or Obama, for example, simply haven’t been listening. And those who think the nation will be outraged enough at whatever Hillary or Obama does to inevitably vote a conservative Republican into the Presidency are not paying attention to the makeup of this country.

Extreme candidates on either side do not do well in general elections. But extremists think their side is so clearly right (and this applies to extremists on the Left, as well) that the electorate needs only the proper lesson to get it to see the light and finally vote them into power, where they should have been all along.

Well, tell it to Newt Gingrich. His day in the sun was short-lived, although some commenters at Captain’s Quarters consider it the conservatives’ finest hour next to Reagan’s election. A truly conservative candidate would probably fare much as Goldwater did in 1964. Reagan’s election may have been one of the worst things to ever happen to true conservatives in terms of hubris; it convinced them that the shift to conservatism was going to be a permanent fixture of American life, and when it has not turned out that way they became hopping mad.

Hopping mad, and with a sense of entitlement. Like Horton the Elephant, they want their patience rewarded: it should be, it should be, it should be like that. But the election of a truly conservative President as a reaction to a Hillary or Obama in the White House is almost as unlikely as the birth of Horton’s elephant-bird. Certainly, it cannot be counted on.

Here’s a conservative commenter at Captain’s Quarters who seems to have some sense:

The anti-McCains…remind me of the Air America folks who can’t comprehend their poor listenership… and demand that something be done to balance the airwaves…If you trust free markets, trust the voters…

And there’s this one:

As a tried and true military conservative, this hyper-emotional whine from “conservatives” regarding McCain is manic and highly aggravating. This kind of crap I can understand from liberals but makes me want to slap the s**t out of you people that call yourselves conservative. Get over it. McCain may not be perfect, but neither was Reagan for those of you with short memories. McCain is going to be our nominee and unless we want one-party liberal rule with a super majority, we had better get behind McCain with full force and determination.

Or this:

If you think McCain is unhealthy for the conservative movement, what in Sam Hill do you think Obama/Clinton will do? If they unilaterally pull troops, the effects upon us will be devastating and damn near irrevocable. If they institute socialized health care, we will have all the success turning it back that we’ve had with Social Security and welfare. If they put two or three more judges on the Supreme bench, we continue to abort four million children a year. Do you want the flu or the cancer? For the love of God and country, take the damn medicine and vote for McCain!

Conservatives who are young remember the Reagan years and forget they were unusual. Look at the previous Congresses, and even the Presidents since FDR—from 1932 to Reagan’s election in 1980 (forty-eight years) there were two terms of Nixon/Ford and two of Eisenhower, both hardly true conservatives. That’s it. The rest, all Democrats.

Candidates don’t win by ideological purity. That’s a delusion to which the extreme wings of both parties are subject.

But it turns out that for some, it’s not even about winning. It’s about party purification, about who owns the soul of the Republican Party.

It reminds me of the Biblical wandering in the desert. Forty years of that, and the Jews were ready to enter the Promised Land. In this case, the Promised Land is the land of true conservatism:

My feeling is that if McCain gets his ass kicked by his own party, it will give the remaining republican prospects for the future something to think about as far as sticking with their party on political issues. They have to know that a ‘Maverick’ will NEVER get elected president. It will also give those goofy ass RINO’s a clue to wander back to the democrat party where they belong and still support.

John McCain has given his party the finger to his own party for years, this year he gets it back from me.

Ah, now there’s the grownup serious attitude conservatives pride themselves on! Here’s another example:

I’m a lifelong Republican — voted Republican from Nixon through both Bush 43 terms, and I had decided before Ann even said it that I will vote for EITHER Democrat to keep McCain out of power under a hijacked banner that happens to belong to us conservatives.

I guess we’re finding out who the REAL conservatives are.

Yes, it’s a line in the sand, folks. Who are the real conservatives? The ones who will vote for Hillary or Obama rather than McCain—who gets a much higher rating as a conservative than either of them, by the way? Sounds like a looking-glass world to me.

The purists have forgotten, of course, that hero Reagan was no purist either:

Reagan is dead. He was unique. As far as your eyes can see and cannot see, there is no 2nd Reagan.

By the way, Reagan raised taxes after he cut them, Reagan granted amnesty to illegals, Reagan withdrew from Beirut without a fight after the barracks were bombed.

Well, I’m with this commenter:

Better our nation suffer so the Republican party can rediscover itself? Are you people serious? You put the party before your country. The same country young men and women are fight in Iraq for? This is exactly how bin Laden and his ilk think, their movement over everything else. Well I for one will vote for the person I feel will do the best for our country, the country I love. I refuse to sit back and hope it fails in the hope it will strengthen my party. You people are just as sickening as Democrats that hope we lose in Iraq.

There truly is something sickening about this reification of party purity over all. It’s a sort of fanaticism that doesn’t appeal to me whatever side it may be found on.

[NOTE: The Anchoress agrees.]

121 Responses to “Conservatives jump the shark: party purity über alles”

  1. harry9000 Says:

    Whats the point Neo, on settling on the second best conservative? Why the blog championing neoconservatism that will settle on second best? Am I supposed to forget McCain’s stance on immigration because “the gipper” wasnt as strong on it as I would have liked him to be?

    Why do we need to settle on McCain instead of Romney? Why must that be written in stone? I find that incredible.

    I do not want to hand the White House over to liberals and populist “Maverick” Republicans. Im not going to go as far as Ann Coulter as to hand it to Hillary, (probably not the most welcomed endorsement this week for the Clinton camp), but again if we’re not fighting for conservative politicians to be as pure with us ideologically possible, whats the friggin point? What is this entire exercised about? I thought only liberals slapped their beliefs on bumper-stickers. Where the hell are our convictions? I’d appreciate you coming back on that.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    that the conservative base can be just as emotional, doctrinaire, rigid, deluded, selfish, and self-immolating as any liberal ever was.

    I don’t think any fake liberal would refuse to support their party, in order to allow a Republican in power.

    If the conservative base could be as doctrainaire and rigid as the fake liberal base, the conservatives would “always” vote for the Republican nominee and kill the speech of anyone criticizing the “Candidate”. But they don’t, do they, Neo.

    That is because Republicans value principles over loyalty to party and cant. That is not always a virtue, but it is not as if it is the same vice as Democrats have.

    If they unilaterally pull troops, the effects upon us will be devastating and damn near irrevocable

    People’s priorities are split between war and peace/prosperity at home. This happens all the time with Limited Wars, and it almost never happens with Total Wars. This is what people have to deal with when they want to have their cake and eat it too.

    The argument against mcCain and for a Democrat President is that, domestically, it would be better for US policies to have a resistant Republican Congress than a Republican Congress that goes along with whatever McCain says needs to be done. The Democrats tried that obstruction route with Bush on foreign policy, and we know how that turned. Since in the end, regardless of what Congress tries to do, the President is still king over where troops go and what foreign policy is to be implemented.

    Thus we have the dichotomy between what is best for America domestically and what is best for America foreign policy wise.

    That’s a delusion to which the extreme wings of both parties are subject.

    Regardless of what the Democrats thought about Hillary or Obama, once one of them gets the nomination, the criticizement by Democrats on Democrats stop. It is because the orders have been cut to unify against a common enemy. And those orders are accepted by the Democrats were always more of a cog machine than an organization of individual thinkers. The same cannot be said for the Republican party, however. You simply cannot cut the order to “stop the criticism for the ‘greater good’” and have it be obeyed as instantly as Democrats would.

    It’s about party purification, about who owns the soul of the Republican Party.

    The reason why the Republican party has had a low seat to the Democrats is precisely because the Republican party has principles. It was principles that motivated the radical Republicans to call for the end of slavery. It was principles that made Republicans refuse to criticize Roosevelt or try to challenge Roosevelt’s leadership decisions in wartime. And it is principle that says it is better to lose than win via political compromises.

    Politics is not about principles, which is why Democrats have had a long time advantage. Even when it was Democrats opposed to civil rights and the freedom of slaves. Even that matters little when you have no principles to restrict you, given that you can simply take Lincoln’s mantle and make people believe that he was a Democrat. Politics is about convincing the majority to be with you, and that means compromising on all kinds of things (especially truth), including making promises that you are aware will be hard to implement.

    Who are the real conservatives? The ones who will vote for Hillary or Obama rather than McCain—who gets a much higher rating as a conservative than either of them, by the way?

    The real issue is why they think Hillary and Obama would be more conservative than McCain. Regardless of what people say, they aren’t supporting McCain because they think McCain is better than Hillary and Obama combined. For them to take such an action as voting for a fake liberal, they would have to think that McCain is worse for the country in the long run, than Hillary or Obama. The problem with that is not the focus on the long term, but the fact that long term calculations are never as accurate as short term projections.

    I refuse to sit back and hope it fails in the hope it will strengthen my party.

    Like with war, there are many motivations that inform people’s actions, for good or ill. This is shown in the paradoxical example that utmost loyalty to your party is demonstrated by voting for the other party’s candidates in a Presidential race. Has any Democrat ever done that because they disliked Kerry, Clinton, etc?

    People don’t feel that Bush represents their interests domestically, neither Republicans nor Democrats. McCain is just catching some of what Bush would have caught, if Bush was up for re-election. Except McCain doesn’t have the positive attitude that Bush has. Bush is neither a mean nor impolite person, but McCain suffers from the disadvantage of being perceived as being mean, impolite, and a loose cannon. Bush may be many things, but he is not a loose cannon.

    Better our nation suffer so the Republican party can rediscover itself?

    I suspect that people would have had more positive reactions to Rudy and Mitt Romney, regardless of their liberal backgrounds or policies, than to McCain. What is making the Republican party suffer is a lack of good candidates. That doesn’t matter for Democrats because Democrats win on something other than good candidates, like quality media propaganda for example. But it does matter to Republicans, and the political process has started kicking out anyone with real talents and abilities on the Republican side for awhile now. Many qualified individuals for President no longer want the office because of what the Democrats and the media will do to them and their families if they try.

    So the baseline difference is, “why would Republicans be okay with social liberals and governors of Mass. but are now suddenly purists because they won’t accept McCain over a Democrat?”

    They either weren’t purists in the first place, or they just don’t like McCain’s Senate record while they do like Mitt and Rudy’s records.

    Why do we need to settle on McCain instead of Romney? Why must that be written in stone?

    Neo’s point is not about McCain over R, but Hillary/obama over McCain. That is her point of protest.

    Im not going to go as far as Ann Coulter as to hand it to Hillary

    I think Anne would cut off her own hand before voting for a fake liberal. So she was probably exaggerating for effect there.

    but again if we’re not fighting for conservative politicians to be as pure with us ideologically possible, whats the friggin point?

    Politics is always about local contentions. Political representatives such as McCain must represent the people that vote for them. The country is divided 30/30/30 or just about. Left, middle, right.

    While most conservatives agree that appealing to the middle is necessary, they tend to draw the line at appealing to the Left, which is what McCain does. They, conservatives, don’t see a point or a reason in trying to draw in Leftists and Democrats for some kind of Grand Coalition like Merkle had in Germany.

    half of the middle and all of the right should be enough to govern a country with moderate support.

    So as I see, it should not be about purity, either as pro or con. It should be about politicians representing you, the local citizen. If a politician must represent somebody else, then he had better have a very good reason or justification for that. So far there is no justification for McCain’s anti-corruption bill(s) in the Senate. Nor is there a justification for why McCain gave the Democrats ammunition for troop raises when McCain was pushing his own agenda to Bush.

    McCain knows Bush doesn’t listen to the media, so why was McCain always on talk shows talking about how we needed “more troops” when he had to know what the Democrats would use that for? And how would it help to convince Bush to provide more troops to Iraq, when defeatist Democrats are calling for more troops that Bush knows is just a gesture devoid of real intent to win?

    I never heard McCain say, even once, that the Democrats were lying to people and that winning the war with more troops was never their intention while it was and is the intention of McCain and Bush to win the war, with or without more troops. I am sure that if McCain ever did say that, that the media would cover it, but McCain has been around long enough to know how to circumvent that.

    McCain just doesn’t couch his actions or recommended policies as being for the good of the nation, not like Bush has.

    So conservatives don’t really think McCain will represent them. So they prefer honesty, from the Democrats that is, over what they suspect to be lies and a facade from McCain. People don’t know what to expect out of McCain, while they think they know what to expect out of Obama or Hillary. In a way, it is their choice of siding with the devil they know instead of the devil they don’t know.

  3. nyomythus Says:

    Remember: It took four years of Carter to give us a Reagan. (It was worth it)

    Embarrassed by the 1979 Hostage Crisis, Carter gave acceptance and resources to launch the Middle East into the Iran-Iraq War, two great and important nations had to be pitted against one another – I don’t have to go, to this audience, into the reasons why or what horrors that conflict produced, but if you understand Carter acted out of a fear of political failure to quench a genocidal ego, then watch out for Hillary! Hillary is a rattle snake whose tails been chopped off – she’s capable of anything, and once crowned with the holier than thou tiara of the American Left, no amount of wish thinking will save any upstart who dares stub her. She already wants to rape the American people by handing over the money that people have earned to those who have chosen to sit on their asses. Neo, the conservatives you point out remind me of why I will NEVER belong to any political affiliation or philosophy ever again … to do so is a surrender of reason. Trust and faith are NO VIRTUES.

    Also, for the sake of devil’s advocate in regards to American foreign policy, “Does the anti-American Left have a point, America consistently over reacts to quail international embarrassment – it’s our post-modern Kissingerian heritage?”

  4. harry9000 Says:

    To me, its only about Party because the Republicans have been for some decades been the party of conservatism in varying degrees. I’d vote for a democrat whose convictions more closely matched mine. There are none such running on that ticket. For the Republicans we have a choice of 4. We dont have to have the “maverick” Republican. We can actually vote for the real item.

    Now, if we end up having to be stuck with Juan, Im going to have to go with him, especially if Obama ids the Democrat candidate. But McCain & HRC? Juans choices of Supreme Court picks put him abovr Hillary’s but how can I be sure? And as for Iraq. Hillary says she would pull troops but leaves me suspecting she may not, while McCain says he’d keep them there while leaving me suspecting he may not.

    This choice is the best we conservatives can do huh? Can you not see why we would be less than enthused?

  5. nyomythus Says:

    This is not a conservative blog — why do you keep saying we conservatives?

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    harry9000:

    As Ymarsakar pointed out, I’m not against conservatives supporting Romney over McCain. I’m against them supporting Hillary/Obama over McCain even though they think the country would be worse off for a while, in order to force some sort of backlash.

    Also, I have no idea why you distrust McCain on the troops in Iraq. Of all issues, that is the one he has been clearest and most consistent about. In fact, if you’ve read the details of how Bush came to decide on a surge, McCain was highly influential in convincing him.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    I am sure that if McCain ever did say that, that the media would cover it

    Would not cover it.

    I too will likely vote for Hillary because if someone is going to create a Nanny state with government programs and destroy the economy – I WANT it to be a democrat.

    As a general issue covering Republicans voting for Democrat Presidents, I tend to think the issue is null. While it is easy and convenient to refuse to vote for someone you disagree with, it is another thing entirely to give support to your political enemies.

    What most people are doing here, I suspect, is simply venting and exaggerating. It is one thing to say that they will vote for Hillary in order to make their point have impact, but it is quite another thing to burden your conscience with the fact that you voted in the leader of the free world and everything he or she will do to you, personally, in the next 4 years.

    That’s a burden of responsibility that most people won’t willingly take. Regardless of what theoretical claims they may make.

    What is most likely to happen is that people just won’t go to the polls if McCain is the nominee. Or at least, people like the author of the comments Neo quoted. Mirroring 2006, which helped cause Bush to admit that Iraq was being lost, and not just on America’s information highway.


    Also, Ann makes a good point. Republicans won’t fight a president McCain and WE won’t be able to blame a Democrat for all the Democrat deeds he does.

    I’m a lifelong Republican — voted Republican from Nixon through both Bush 43 terms, and I had decided before Ann even said it that I will vote for EITHER Democrat to keep McCain out of power under a hijacked banner that happens to belong to us conservatives.

    There are some who would rather accept the responsibility of what Hillary would do to the country than accept what McCain would do to the country, if McCain was elected and there was this implicit assumption that it was the “Republicans” that elected him. It is a thing of personal responsibility, which is a choice people have to make for themselves. Obviously some people may in fact choose the extreme version of things, due to their extreme negative feelings and thoughts about McCain.

    What I find interesting is what the author said above the portion Neo quoted. That Republicans won’t “fight a President McCain’… why not? Why wouldn’t a Republican be against a President McCain? If you ask me, it is because the Republicans actually do tend to believe that one should put the country first, over party politics or personal gain. The trend and tendency applies to the majority of Republicans, but not everything applies to everyone.

    The thing about “we won’t be able to blame a Democrat” for the things McCain does is also an interesting look into the psychology of the author. Why wouldn’t Republicans blame McCain for the things he does? Probably because the author recognizes that either the author or most Republicans won’t intentionally sabotage the US President by undermining the President’s decisions. Which implies that it would be another thing if a Democrat was President, of course. But given Kosovo, that’s not really true. While individuals may complain or attempt to criticize, there will be no organized efforts to undermine. certainly nothing like what happened to Bush.

    The thing that Tony Blair proved is that it is better to be inside the power track than outside trying to get in. The power is inside the track, not outside it. Which is why revolutions tend to always fail. When you try to break into a structured society, you tend to break too many things to be able to live there afterwards.

    Chirac tried to oppose Bush and lambast Bush, but Tony Blair was able to get Bush to do what he wanted by joining Bush. This is a good object lesson in politics. The question conservatives should be asking themselves is whether they can manipulate McCain or not, if he ever gets into power.

    As conservatives have demonstrated for Bush, they will not attack the US President if he makes mistakes, even if he deserves to be attacked by his own party for those mistakes. You can solve this problem by getting a Democrat in office, which you could attack all day, but that would be the same as Chirac attacking Bush’s policies for Iraq. You are outside the power track trying to get in. That’s not a favorable position to be in.

    The real problem with McCain is that he somehow thinks his constituents are like 40% on the Left. Which means that McCain will not really listen to his conservative constituents. Bush didn’t listen to anyone, fake liberal or conservative, except his advisers and those with access to the President. McCain won’t listen because he thinks his constituency is not just the conservative party.

    That’s not actually a problem… unless you have the Left competing with conservatives for McCain’s attention. Then you got a problem. For Bush, he just tuned every populist and pundit out. Didn’t pay attention to anyone, conservative or fake liberal. Made choices his way based upon recommendations by military generals and what not.

    McCain, given his record in the senate, is going to try something a tad different. That is going to nullify the “inside track is better than being outside” rule of thumb for politics a bit.


    As to your main point I live in Connecticut and I left the Democrats on August 9, 2006 because a party with no room for Senator Lieberman had no room for me. I didn’t join the Republican Party to vote for a Democrat which McCain is. If McCain wins I doubt I’ll bother even voting. Which is kind of funny because in every Presidential election but 1992 , when I voted for Perot, I have voted for a Republican.
    reply
    -Another commenter at Captain’s

    People don’t like McCain based upon more than just Republican party dynamics. I don’t think Neo is correct to focus her view on purist tendencies, since that isn’t what is driving the negativity about McCain.

    Let’s make sure that Mitt emerges as the victor from a brokered convention and then we don’t have to find out if McCain is just a more virulent form of the Kerry “electability” delusion.-Another commenter

    Regardless of what people feel or think about McCain, the practical alternative is this suggestion. Talk about voting for Hillary is obviously far fetched and jumping the gun. And people will not say that when it actually is Hillary vs McCain. Then people will have to consider their actions more carefully, in addition to their words.

    Better our nation suffer to the Republican party can rediscover itself?

    In the end, this commenter’s summation of the logic at Captain’s is incorrect. What most people seek to accept or recognize is that it would be better for the nation to experience Democrat policies first hand, rather than continue to have the process of the Democrats being the same as the Republicans. People believe, for wrong or right, that Hillary can do her damage in 4 years and be out, allowing the country to recover. Analogous to Soviet Communism. It is not a suggested or optimum course, but then again that is the situation forced on some conservatives with McCain as the Prez nomination.

    You can disagree that 4 years of Hillary will turn into 8 years soon, or that the media will cover up any Democrat shenanigans, which the media will, but that is a different issue than saying that people want Hillary to win solely to benefit the Republican purist party. That’s not why they want Hillary to win over McCain.

    For those interested in foreign policies, McCain isn’t that much of a problem to them. Since Bush was already working to ensure that future Democrat Presidents couldn’t just bail on Iraq. The military was also working under the clock with the implicit assumption that future Presidents or Congress would ditch Iraq.

    Iraq is not going to be the issue coming up on the next President’s term.

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    In fact, if you’ve read the details of how Bush came to decide on a surge, McCain was highly influential in convincing him.

    That’s not certain. The axis of counter-insurgency specialists such as Petraeus and those who supported him, such as Cheney, are the proven factors that convinced Bush. But McCain was talking about more troops, more troops, before Petraeus. It was only when Petraeus entered the picture that Bush became convinced. And I suspect I know the reason why.

    McCain didn’t really know what to do with more troops. He was not studying or practicing Counter-insurgency in Vietnam. He was a pilot. And a pilot when faced with a problem, simply calls for more firepower and support.

    Bush didn’t seem convinced by this bigger hammer approach, probably due to Rumsfeld’s recommendations, which were based upon Casey and Abizaid’s recommendations of a “small footprint”. Bush kept saying, in the defense of his decision to not raise troop levels, that he was listening to the advice of his military commanders. And that was absolutely true.

    Thus, McCain obviously was not offering Bush a reason to overrule his military commanders. So Bush became “convinced” by McCain, because Bush now had a real reason why more troops could work, in the form of counter-insurgency advocated by people like Petraeus.

    McCain had the energy and connections, but he made no effective use of those connections. All he did was give the Democrats more ammo for calling for troop raises. And when Bush had troop raises and the Democrats called for troop withdrawals, what did McCain say then? Did he just go off the radar or something?

    Personally, I have never heard McCain make the argument for why more troops would solve the problems Abizaid brought up. Petraeus did. Was McCain advocating for Petraeus originally? Not that I know of. I was reading blackfive for most info on Petraeus, and they endorsed him ever since he wrote that manual. I didn’t hear anything about McCain in relation to Petraeus. That may just be me, or that may just be McCain.

  9. Oldflyer Says:

    As sick as I get thinking of McCain as President, it is nothing compared to how I feel about either of the Democrats.

    Either of those, allied with a Democrat Congress, spurred on by the kooky Dem base could do irreparable damage to this country. The notion that the Republicans will win the Congress BECAUSE you reject McCain as President is total nonsene.

    Anyone who self-identifies as a Conservative, and supports the Democrat choice in this election has to be deranged.

  10. Mark Says:

    You’ve got it right Neo. I have personal experience with McCain and his central motivation is “power.” But we must vote for the best we can get, regardless of how bad that might be. If Jack Wheeler is correct in tothepointnews this week, John might have already destroyed himself, but our job is to simply vote for the best that we can get, and that’s not “O” or “H.” Mark

  11. Perfected democrat Says:

    Excellent and important commentary from Neo…. The point: “Do you want the flu or the cancer?…”, well put, and I can’t add much more except to read my own rants….

  12. DC Says:

    McCain cannot be trusted on anything, he is an enigma and most bizarre. His straight talk is really not so straight. I expect politicians to be like politicians, he pretends not to be, it’s phony.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Ymarsakar, look at this about McCain and the surge—he not only wanted more troops but a different strategy.

    Also, I focus on the “party purist” arguments because they are put forward by numerous commenters, and because they are the arguments I find most offensive.

    Also, I personally know plenty of Democrats who have refused to vote for their party’s candidates because they are not liberal enough. Some of them voted for Nader in 2000, for example. They would not go so far, probably, as to vote for a conservative in order to start a backlash, but they certainly are not above sitting out an election or voting for a fringe candidate who has no chance of winning.

    What Hillary would actually do if faced with trying to pull the troops out of Iraq remains to be seen, of course. But she has said enough times that she would do so, and soon, that I tend to believe her. Plus, she is definitely to the left of McCain fiscally.

    Those who deny this, or who are so certain the country would only tolerate four years of her, and who therefore will actually vote for her even though they detest her, are fooling themselves. It is a form of hubris on their part, I believe, to be so convinced that they are able to predict the future, and the risks and costs of error are very high.

    In addition, they are sabotaging their own agenda for the Supreme Court in order to maintain ideological purity. Short-sighted, infantile, and stupid. Call it principle if you like, but it’s a devotion to principle that ignores the practical consequences of its own narrow extremism, which is that the opposite principles could easily end up prevailing.

  14. Perfected democrat Says:

    DC, your observations are well taken, the question, again, is at what point does the boundary between (McCain’s) pragmatism and (his “political”) dishonesty call for a truly “radical” response… I kind of like Ann Coulter (after all, she inspired my blog particiapation “name”), but I don’t necessarily take her that seriously, but then, she may well be the canary in the mine on this issue…. Cancer or flu, cancer or flu, or is McCain now the ultimate manchurian candidate? I hate feeling paranoid….

  15. alle Says:

    I don’t understand this intense loyalty to Romney. He’s a flipflopper on most issues, and I do not trust him not to cave into the Dems when it comes to judges or Iraq.

    Neo is quite right. The far right is sounding like the far left. They’re voting with their emotions, just like the left.

    McCain’s not my first choice but we have troops overseas and I don’t trust them with Romney.

  16. Perfected democrat Says:

    I think I need a therapist, I’ll go with Neo….

  17. DC Says:

    Much of this supposed hatred for McCain may be disappointment and outrage with those who are supporting him. I haven’t read much of this post, I’m assuming it’s a waste of time.

    McCain got to fly under the radar for awhile and it seems people have forgotten why.

    Tuesday may not be decisive and one poll has him tied with Romney.

    http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

  18. harry9000 Says:

    Neo:
    “Call it principle if you like, but it’s a devotion to principle that ignores the practical consequences of its own narrow extremism, which is that the opposite principles could easily end up prevailing.”

    Which is why I’ve said a few times here that I’d hold my nose and vote for the “Maverick”. I’m just saying; We dont have to!

    My ideological purity does not consist of abandoning Iraqi’s to prove my ideological view point because it doesnt do so. Now you ask me why I dont trust McCain on Iraq? Its because I dont trust him on any of the other conservative issues. Forgive me for being a purist.

    Look; Ive heard Rush Limbaugh make the case that there really isnt any substantive difference between the “Maverick” and HRC in the subject of Iraq because Hillary wouldnt actually abandon what would certainly end up a US security disaster no matter what she says to her constituents. Rush doesnt think Obama would either. I think thats a very dangerous assumption on his part. However, while I think Obama definitely would, HRC is well known for triangulation and her position may once again “evolve” once she’s iced the nomination. On top of that–no, I dont trust McCain to follow principal, and its principal that matters. That doesn’t mean I’d vote for HRC to make a point. It means that if I dont make it out the door on election day it might be because they might be showing a Sponge-Bob Square-Pants cartoon marathon on TNT and can hardly be faulted for not wanting to tear myself away.

    Anyway, In the meantime this ideological purist will be goose-stepping around his apartment, wishing we had a better choice.

    nyom:
    “This is not a conservative blog — why do you keep saying we conservatives?”

    “We conservatives” as in “we conservatives”. I said nothing akin to “we conservatives” as in “we the responder guys on the neoneocon weblog”. Which, by the way, strikes me as a conservative blogsite, if I am not grossly mistaken.

  19. expat Says:

    To get anything done in the country, you have to get support from the middle third that Neo defined. I don’t think Republicans who act like Code Pink are gonna do it. With regard to McCain, they should focus on issues and arguments, not hissy fits. If the arguments carry the middle third, McCain will follow. Conservatism is supposed to be about positions derived from observing the world as is and the institutions that have best governed it. It is about understanding human beings. It is not about receiving the “truth” from a higher being such as Reagan. I doubt that Reagan would approve of his canonization.

  20. nyomythus Says:

    Romney has said that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, and will be again one day. I don’t want anymore of this Religious Right crap in the White House.

  21. “Faith-based” and hand-wringing | The Anchoress Says:

    [...] has a very good piece up – it’s sure to upset those on the far-right whose eyes are currently bugging out as they grab [...]

  22. harry9000 Says:

    nyom:
    “Romney has said that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, and will be again one day…”

    I think its actually located in Branson Mo., and for $15 a day you have access rides and attractions which includes the thrillingly twisty Satan’s Wild Serpent ride. Other than that, even HRC has had to mention the “G” word during her campaign. I cant believe Romney was serious with this.

    “I don’t want anymore of this Religious Right crap in the White House”

    Any more Religious right crap? I was not aware there was any to speak of in the first place. Next thing we know, you’ll be chaining yourself to a Marine Corps recruiting office and demanding their withdrawal.

  23. strcpy Says:

    Most aren’t looking for idealogical purity – Romney or Huckabee are just as far off as McCain is. Effectively we currently have “three legs” of conservative thought – Social, Fiscal, military. Our current leaders each represent *one* (and only one) of them and do the other two terrible.

    The only ones most general conservatives would have been happy to vote for are now gone leaving us with whomever most of the “converts” are wanting (generally speaking they tend toward being liberal on two of the legs and highly conservative on the other) – most of those are military conservatives and few question McCain on that, even those of us who do not like him. His ideology is closest to a neo-con in the truer sense of the word (a weak fiscal/social liberal strong hawk).

    The thing that is occurring with McCain is that many many times in the past he has talked like this, we (in general) stood behind him, only to have him turn everything over to the Democrats – and not simply to some like our new senators Chuck Webb but in more than one case Ted Kennedy.

    While the arguments against McCain are coming out as political, the vast majority of them are more from a personal slant. The closest I can think of for a democrat was Zell Miller and I could very well understand why someone who was actually liberal would feel personally betrayed at the end of his career.

    Though, if he gets the nomination we will see in the end. There *is* a huge difference between him and Clinton and especially Obama and I think most of them will realize it as time comes closer. Like me, they may not really like voting McCain, but I would choose to have one arm cut off instead both arms and my legs. This isn’t *that* unusual for this to happen in a primary (I’ve seen MUCH more viscous ones).

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    strcpy: More vicious ones, perhaps—but more viscous :-)?

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    Oh, and strcpy: I agree that some of the vehemence of the anti-McCain crowd may abate come election time.

  26. Gray Says:

    I hate to see ‘my guys’ go off the deep end like the leftists. I don’t really identify myself as ‘Republican’. I never have.

    I’m Gen-x and to me it looks like two parties of geezers dividing up the fruits of my labor to buy the votes of the oldsters, liberals and minorities who outnumber me and mine.

    I’m 40, neither side has my interests in mind:

    How am I going to save for my retirement without Sosch Securitah while I pay for Global Warming; Pills for Geezers; Housing Bailouts; The Unworthy Poor; Universal Healthcare and all the retiring boomers!?

    Hmmmm?

    I don’t like McCainiac at all. I never have.

    Yes, I’m in the military. Yes, I’ve been a conservative since my middle-school ‘gifted teacher’ made me read dirty Bertrand Russell….

    I lived in Arizona McCainiac was pulling his ‘Keating 5′ shenanigans

    Then he turned around and limited my freedom of speech ‘cuz he’s a crook and ‘knows what money does to politics’: yeah, makes you a crook, John!

    Oh, that’s dirty!

    The ‘amnesty for illegals’ issue is a wash: the boomers didn’t have enough kids to keep labor cheap, so we have to import cheap labor….

    McCain is preferable to Obama al Hussein or Billary on Iraq and foreign policy.

    He probably won’t try to take my guns away.

    I really dislike him, but I hate the dirty, dirty leftists.

    I’ll vote for the lesser of two weevils!

  27. Tim P Says:

    A very interesting post Neo.
    While I certainly do not like McCain, he has many ‘issues’ as far as I’m concerned.
    I prefer him to any democrat running.

    What I find surprising is that many so called conservatives actually prefer Romney. Romney is no more conservative than McCain. I suggest that those who like Romney read the book Cape Wind, by Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb.

    Briefly summarizing, in 2001, Jim Gordon set out to build an offshore wind farm at Cape Cod. Many of your readers are probably familiar with the uproar this caused among the rich who owned beach-front property there, most notable among them, Teddy Kennedy.

    Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts at the time. There is a whole chapter devoted to Romney “The Pleasure of the Governor”. Those who support Romney would do well to read this book, especially that chapter. They would be quickly disabused of any such foolish notions as Romney being the true conservative.

    Romney, at the behest of Kennedy did everything within his power to kill the project which was needed.

    A brief excerpt..
    Simultaneously, Romney’s efforts to stop Cape Wind escalated. His earlier somewhat low-key opposition burgeoned into a veritable crusade. Many people wondered at the governor’s vehemence. Why didn’t Romney get it? He was missing an important political opportunity. Leading the charge in support of Cape Wind would position him as a leader with both the right and the left. He could have shown himself both a realistic environmentalist and a promoter of of visionary entrepreneurial-ism, appealing particularly to Republicans. Instead, Romney made himself into an example of John Bullard’s theory of NIMTOF: not in my term of office.
    By 2004, many voters realized that Romney was using the state’s gubernatorial office as a stepping stone to his real goal, the American presidency. The more Romney focused on the Oval Office, the greater grew his Cape Wind opposition. Perhaps still thinking of Gordon’s proposal as a little local power-plant battle, he failed to grasp the project’s emerging status as a national symbol of energy activism. Americans wanted action. Instead, Romney continued to shoot himself in the foot by chanting alliance mantras, by buying into the saccharine sentiment that Nantucket Sound was a “national treasure” somehow comparable to Yosemite or Yellowstone. Away from Cape Cod, those Alliance originated sound bites rang hollow.
    Fearful for their candidate’s future, Romney’s staff begged him to stop. If he didn’t change his stand on Cape Wind, they said, just keep quiet on the subject. The inability to revisit a decision worried them. It could be seen as a fatal flaw in a man who wanted to lead the Free World.
    But the future presidential candidate refused to listen to his advisers. The standoff had the distinct air of machismo. Romney increasingly flexed his political muscle. He felt he hat to deliver [to Kennedy et al, my note]. Why would his financial backers believe he could help them from the Oval Office if he couldn’t help them as governor?

    Yeah, a real conservative. A real man of principle. He’s no different from Hillary, Obama or even McCain for that matter. So like him or don’t. Vote for him or don’t. But don’t sit there and play the ‘ideological purity’ card. That’s for mindless partisans like the Kos kiddies. Republicans, independents & conservatives are better than that, or should be. If they’re not, then the left really has won the battle of ideas.

  28. nyomythus Says:

    Next thing we know, you’ll be chaining yourself to a Marine Corps recruiting office and demanding their withdrawal. Stop it — I feel or express no ill-content towards the military.

  29. Gray Says:

    Nice find, Tim P!

    Romney is no conservative, never has been….

    The thing that really flips my lid is that the insane lefty loons like Billery and Obama al Hussein are presented as ‘middle of the road moderates’ while milque-toast, lukewarm populists like Romney and McCain are presented as just right of Pinochet, Hoover and Nixon!

    Huckabee scares me like Hillery does: I’m terrified they want to make me a better person in spite of my right to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.

  30. Gray Says:

    Grateful Dead Reunite for Obama:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSN0147632420080202?rpc=64

    Dear God, please make it stop. I can’t take it….

    Wasn’t he in an Indonesian “International School of All Faiths, but Mostly Islam” when they were big?

  31. harry9000 Says:

    What the hell is an “ideological purity card”? And who said Romney’s picture was on it? I’ve never heard of the guy prior this election cycle. I’m obviously unaware of Romney’s involvement in Kennedy’s opposition of Cape Wind. I dont remember anyone here making Romney out to be the model of ideological perfection an this example certainly doesnt help him in that area. Still, I see nothing here yet that changes my mind on which one is the least desirable conservative.

    No, the mothership did not produce for me the ideal candidate, but since I have a choice, I’ll go with the guy who isnt planning on closing Gitmo, granting amnesty to aliens or threatening to tax us for our energy use. If that is your idea of an “Ideological purity card” so be it. Im going to throw it out often. This is a primary season and I have a right to express my opinion. I dont know that McCain is deserved of yet another close similarity between himself and HRC; a preordained party coronation. Until the nomination has been awarded, prepare for me to be tossing cards. Its my damned prerogative.

  32. strcpy Says:

    “More vicious ones, perhaps—but more viscous :-)?”

    I’m dyslexic and depend on the spell checker – that was the closest option for the word when I picked one from the list. I couldn’t get it close enough to pick the correct one.

    “What I find surprising is that many so called conservatives actually prefer Romney.”

    I prefer Romney because he is generally the least liberal of the bunch. I generally rank them 1:Romney 2:McCain 3:Huckabee (Huckabee would be higher but he comes off as Bill Clinton with an (R) after his name – at least I know what I am getting with the other two). Of the three the difference is about as thin as a razor blade, I also tend to be more a fiscal conservative than anything so Romney seems a bit better.

    While I agree that he is not really a conservative there are other reason to oppose the Cape Wind thing besides Ted Kennedy (had I lived there can’t say I would want it either and I am no where near a Kennedy supporter) and, other than a few people simply stating it as Truth and moving on from there I see nothing to show that.

    I guess, of the ones left who should the “True” conservatives endorse? Ron Paul (the “Conservative Case” for him is always a entertaining read)?

  33. expat Says:

    There is an interesting piece by Nicole Gellinas at City Journal on Romney’s tax plan. I think it gives insight into the way he thinks.

  34. nyomythus Says:

    Oh, what the hell, Obama is such a clean slate — he might turn out not being half bad, and despite what he says, I mean if he gets elected it won’t be because I wish it, I’ll have to wish for the best of it.

    Here’s who I don’t want to see as president; paleoconservative and isolationist and 9/11 truther Ron Paul, Hillary ‘The Rattle Snake’ Clinton, Huckabee (uggh), Romney (ugh) … and probably in that order. Who I could probably tolerate would be, and at this point what else is there, McCain (Giuliani running mate yea!!!), Obama for reasons I’ve already given … I could tolerate … until he started fucking everything up.

    Wouldn’t a Giuliani/Obama combination be interesting? Hmmm

  35. gcotharn Says:

    I will vote for McCain if he wins the nomination. Until that time, I will work from my little corner to defeat him.

    When I look at Sen. McCain, I see someone who believes in strong national defense, and beyond that is a politically unprincipled opportunist. Like Bill Clinton before him, Senator McCain seeks office for not much greater purpose than the advancement of John McCain’s name, career, and legacy.

    It bothers me that some of my friends look at Sen. McCain and see a “Maverick”. I believe they are victims of media hype and spin. The media want McCain. Hyping him is their way of slashing a scimitar through those hated conservative principles. If Sen. McCain wins the nomination, the media will turn on him quickly enough.

    Senator McCain is no maverick. He is a triangulator without belief in any particular political or governing principles. I don’t mean Sen. McCain has failed to “join a side”. I mean Sen. McCain is too cynical (or intellectually unprepared – pick one) to have reasoned out any philosophic solution for any issues or problems. Like Bill Clinton before him: Sen. McCain triangulates – based on what is most politically advantageous for his career. On issues which cannot be triangulated, Sen. McCain apportions some of his favors to the Dems, and some of his favors to the Repubs, in whatever he believes to be the shrewdest fashion. McCain is Clintonian. He has no belief in a best solution. He believes in an opportune solution for his career.

    It has especially rankled when I’ve heard Sen. McCain extemporaneously condemn excessive profit. I don’t believe profit can be excessive. If people didn’t want your goods, they would not purchase them in the first place. If I figure out how to earn larges profit, Senator McCain feels I am hurting my country. Senator McCain believes I am being a robber baron.

    It further rankles to have heard/read uncountable instances of Senator McCain using exact Democrat spin to condemn conservative principles. That burns me up, on many levels. Senator McCain employs lies against principles I believe in. He employs his credibility in service of a Dem agenda which I believe is harmful to our nation. When Dems need cover from a name Repub – from closing Guantanomo to Anwar to McCain-Feingold to McCain-Kennedy to global warming to opposing tax cuts to Gang of 14 – Sen. McCain is there for them, parroting their spin.

    If Sen. McCain had philosophical reasons for voting with liberals on some issues, I would respect that. I don’t believe – even for one second – that he does. With him, you get national defense, and all else is positioning. His agenda is John McCain. The Repub Party is merely his vehicle to promote the John McCain agenda.

    I don’t like the Repub Party so well myself. My agenda is conservative principles which will best benefit our nation. Sen. McCain has naught but a dismissive slap for me. And myriad lectures about my being a greedy selfish bigot.

    Should McCain be nominated (please please rally for Romney!) the best hope is McCain can be pressured as Bill Clinton was pressured. Bill Clinton acceded to the Repub Congress in many ways. In the course of campaigning, McCain might learn, for the first time ever, what conservatives like me believe in, and why we believe in it. His ambition might lead him to make promises to us. He’s already done this via his promises to make Bush’ tax cuts permanent, and via his promises to work to cut pork spending. I expect his next big and repeated promise will be to appoint judges who believe in judicial restraint. I can only hope someone educates Sen. McCain on what “judicial restraint” actually means, as Sen. McCain so far gives no indication he understands the concept. I can only hope Sen. McCain will follow through his promise in this area. I’m not holding my breath. I believe Sen. McCain is unprincipled, and will break his promise in this area. He will compromise and triangulate. It is his way. The Dems will maneuver him into another Souter – to the detriment of us all.

  36. William Earl Dungey Says:

    It is becoming pretty pointless to join the fray of politics, if the candidates don’t match my point of view and aren’t concerned about my priorities I don’t need, nor will I, vote for them. I go about my life being personally responsible for the failure of America to live up to its image and original concept – something many had and continue to die for. Party line was what the NAZI and Communists had and needed – not something freedom loving Democrats and Republicans ever should have adopted. 300,000,000 independent thinking Americans.

  37. strcpy Says:

    “I expect his next big and repeated promise will be to appoint judges who believe in judicial restraint.”

    Too late, just today I got an automated call from the McCain staff on my answering machine – the largest part of it was on supreme court nominations. He promised strict originalist’s along the lines of Scalia.

    The rest of the recording was repeating “I’m the most conservative” over and over (though, they all seem to suffer from this issue – it’s obvious none of them have a record that can speak for itself).

  38. harry9000 Says:

    gcotharn expresses my thoughts on this issue. They way some of you have expressed it, our brand of ideology, or “purity” is some how to be looked upon as rigid and extremist. How did that happen?

  39. Jimmy J. Says:

    A couple of points:
    1. The President’s primary job is as C-in-C.
    2. When it comes to domestic issues the President can propose things but Congress enacts the laws

    With that in mind for those who think Obama might not be so bad, consider this:
    1. He has repeatedly said he would withdraw from Iraqwithin months of assuming office.
    2. He said he would go after the “real” terrorists in Afghanistan and invade Pakistan to get Bin Laden.
    3. He has stated that he would go to Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba to conduct direct negotiations with the dictators of those countries with no pre-conditions.
    4. Most of his other positions come off as slogans, high minded cliches, and feel good messages about change.
    5. He is a gifted orator who can uplift people without defining his programs or plans.
    I’m sure he seems impressive to those easily swayed by soaring oratory. To me he seems to be naive and in need of much more experience in the real world.

    For those who would vote for HRC:
    1. You need a dose of the new miracle drug “TRYPHORGETIN.” It will allow you to forget all the scandals and lies that occurred during the Clinton years. Hillary will look like a dynamic, upstanding, principled stateswoman after just one dose. Really, can any Republican who lived through the Clinton years actually consider voting for Hil?

    Those who don’t like Romney consider this:
    1. He does know how to be an executive.
    2. He would be good on taxes, fiscal policy, spending, and management of the executive branch.
    3. He would appoint strict constructionist judges.
    4. He may have the steel in his spine to be a war time President. (This is my biggest question about him)
    5. He is on board with stopping illegal immigration.
    6. He has a good grasp of the international situation and our Islamic enemies. (I watched a speech he gave in Florida and was very impressed with his command of the issues.)

    For those who don’t like McCain, consider this:
    1. He would probably be a good enough C-in-C.
    2. He’s a hawk on wasteful government spending.
    3. He has recognized, belatedly, that lower taxes do spur economic activity.
    4. He states that he now realizes that the majority of the American people want the border closed and don’t want amnesty for illegals.
    5. He would appoint strict constructionist judges.
    6. The polls say he could beat both HRC and Obama.

    If you look at the differences I’ve pointed out, I think it is plain that either Romney or McCain, even though they are not ideal, are much better choices than either of the two Dems.

  40. chuck Says:

    I don’t have a strong preference either way at the moment, but I did go over and drop some money in McCain’s coffers. I want to give the guy the chance to flip off certain conservatives. On such petty things may the election turn.

  41. gcotharn Says:

    first: dang you Chuck!

    second: strcpy

    I knew it! I knew this would be the next big thing McCain runs to and starts promising! I know more than those silly political commentators!

    If only he would keep this promise once in office. I don’t believe he will. It’s too easy to say “What could I do? The Dems are too powerful!” It’s especially easy to say this when you’ve no true belief in the importance of judicial restraint. A shame for all of us.

  42. agip Says:

    In the end, the key thing is for a (R) to have the White House if for no other reason than to watch the collective heads of the progressive movement explode. Re-electing Bush sent them into a tail-spin; a Republican president now would smash them, or maybe actually get them to move to Canada and change their citizenships.

    I find the idea that a Repub. congress would roll over for whatever McCain wants to be silly. Bush fully supported McCain-Kennedy amnesty, but Congress said no anyway. I see no reason they would roll over for anyone else.

    Also, the idea that after four years of Obillary Americans would see the light and vote in a REAL Conservative (TM) is equally silly. As soon as Obillary ascends the divinely appointed throne, why, the economy will outperform all the golden metaphors of the collective editorialist-economists, victory will be declared in the Great War on Terror, Johnny will come marching home again (hurrah!), we’ll all be on our way down the yellow brick road of universal FREE healthcare, the cute girls at the UN will all love us again, and statistically the number of rainbows will double and every home in America will smell of fresh-baked brownies.

    And then the world will have changed and there’s no way to predict what will come next.

    P.S. DC, your statement “I haven’t read much of this post, I’m assuming it’s a waste of time.” puts you at the top of my posters-to-skip list. Reading you would obviously be a waste of time.

  43. chuck Says:

    first: dang you Chuck!

    I’m one of those belligerent old farts Patrick Ruffini talks about. The urge to see some of those self anointed “opinion leaders” get kneed in the nuts is becoming dang near irresistible. If they would just shut the fuck up I would be more inclined to look at Romney.

    However, Patrick in his analysis left out the young; Romney seems to be invisible to them. You might think about what nominating the invisible man could mean to the future of the party.

  44. douglas Says:

    The real problem with McCain isn’t that he isn’t conservative enough. It’s that he’s only about John McCain, and how am I supposed to know where that personal drive take him in the future? This is a man who considered switching parties basically because he was pissed at George W. Bush because he believed (with no proof) that his campaign was responsible for the smears in S.C. in 2000. He’s also got a fighter pilot’s hubris. I’m not at all certain he’d be so thoughtful and considered as W. was about the surge strategy. I suspect he’ll be more interested in telling the pentagon what he wants done rather than asking what we might do. That’s why this line troubled me, Neo:

    “I have no idea why you distrust McCain on the troops in Iraq. Of all issues, that is the one he has been clearest and most consistent about. In fact, if you’ve read the details of how Bush came to decide on a surge, McCain was highly influential in convincing him.”

    Really? “Ymarsakar, look at this about McCain and the surge—he not only wanted more troops but a different strategy.” Well, yes, but was it anything like the clear and hold, COIN strategy that is now working so well? I’ve never seen any proof of such. He never really was very specific, other than to be contra whatever Bush was doing, until Bush changed course and took that option away from him.

    Reagan may have made mistakes, but you knew his inner compass, and where it pointed, but McCain? I have no idea. Do you? 86% lifetime rating from the ACU, but it’s something like 74% in the last ten years. What’s next?

    That said, I’ll vote for him over Hillary or Obama.

  45. DC Says:

    The Irony of John McCain–

    People went to a lot of effort to defeat McCain’s Shamnesty bill and his candidacy was dead dead dead. It seemed as though the whole country, and certainly any rational Republican was seeing the light on this.

    The irony here is that immigration is a national security issue. So the irony of McCain being the national security candidate is rather intense. It must rate as one of the strangest ironies in politics ever!!

    It is so strange it must be affecting even my dreams in sleep (it is now 4:37 am) because I HAD A DREAM! at first it seemed to have nothing to do with McCain, but let’s see (keep in mind this is a real dream, nothing‘s been changed):

    First a man is seen hitting with a putter from the fairway. At first the shot looks good, but then it takes a bad bounce and goes out of sight. My temporarily invisible character then places a green golf ball on the green. I then move the ball a bit because it’s too close to another ball, and that just doesn’t seem right.

    A man shows up and declares matter of factly that the green ball was an official ball of some famous tournament. (he’s probably the guy who used the putter and is going to use the green ball as though it was his) Then he makes a statement that sounds as though he had used one of Tiger Wood’s golf clubs.

    Tiger just happens to be nearby, so I take one of his clubs and start to swing it. He gives me a look and I say: “Um er, he was making representations as though he had actually swung one of your golf clubs, um sir?”

    Now where is John McCain in this? Is he the man using a putter in the fairway? Is he the man who believes that it makes any sense that a green golf ball could be used in a tournament? Is he the man who talks like he has used Tiger Wood’s golf clubs? Is he me, a man who would presume to swing Tiger Wood’s golf clubs (and based on a false assumption)? Is he Tiger Woods? Is he a green golf ball?

  46. harry9000 Says:

    chuck:
    “Patrick in his analysis left out the young; Romney seems to be invisible to them. You might think about what nominating the invisible man could mean to the future of the party.”

    Do you think the kids look at McCain and say; “Hey, I bet that guy more closely identifies with me!” Or do you think they’re all wearing Obama t-shirts right about now? (Especially since Kucinich and Edwards left out).
    I think the later myself.

  47. DC Says:

    The mental fog of the intense experience of a truly profound dream is now lifting!

    McCain is the man who uses the putter. His first shot which goes astray is the shamnesty bill. The green golf ball represents the new found global warming religion McCain has been talking up. My role is as the confused voter who wants to test McCain’s claims. Tiger Woods is God and I am humbled for displaying the hubris of doubting a man of McCain’s stature.

  48. links for 2008-02-03 | MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Says:

    [...] Conservatives jump the shark: party purity über alles Some “have elevated party purity above considerations of the good of the country. In the end, not only is this bad for the country, but I think it’s bad for the Republican Party.” (tags: 2008 election politics conservatives McCain crazies moonbats GOP) [...]

  49. RedPencil Says:

    You know what is really funny about conservatives who say we need 4 years of Clinton or Obama in order to Go Back To True Conservatism?

    The Marxist/Hegelian dialectic they use.

    “Nach Hillary Uns.”

    Crazy imbeciles.

    There must be something in the human genome that makes the concept of thesis/antithesis/synthesis make sense to so many people across the political spectrum. Considering there is really rather little in human history to validate it.

    On the bright side, I can’t imagine either Democratic candidate being as consistently disastrous as Jimmy Carter.

    (Then again, maybe I suffer from a poor imagination.)

  50. Terrye Says:

    I agree with neocon. I will vote for the nominee of the party because I think we owe a debt to the young men and women who have sacrificed so much.

    I could be wrong of course, but I do not think Romney can beat the Democratic nominee, whoever that nominee is.

    I think some conservatives are just plain stupid when it comes to McCain. He is a war hero, with a respectable rating as a conservative. He is strong on national security and he is pro life.

    The stuff out there about him betraying his country or crashing planes or whatever is tacky to the point of embarrassing. It is as if the right has turned into a bunch of Kossacks, making any kind of attack they can devoid of right and wrong and sanity.

    I wonder how many of these people are even Republicans? If they think sucking up to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter is more important than keeping faith with our brave soldiers, then I am proud to say I am not one of them.

    They need to grow up and stop acting like a bunch of sore losers.

  51. Terrye Says:

    And btw to all those people who say Republicans are different because they have principles, it should be noted that most of the people who are about to vote for Obama believe they have principles. The people who support McCain believe they have principles. The idea that your political opponent has no principles, but you do by virtue of your political philosophy is a fanatical and self obsessed way of looking at the world.

  52. Terrye Says:

    DC:

    I am so sick of hearing about shamnesty. Obama wants drivers licenses for illegals. Think about that.

  53. Sergey Says:

    I am not in position to comment on US policy issues, but there is one consideration, completely out of politics, on which I can’t keep silence. Seeing Hillary on YouTube, I recognized the type of personality which is the most dangerous at any position of power: self-absorbed narcissist, absolutely immoral and without any principles to talk about. And the very idea that such a person will be able to shape the fates of millions is absolutely repelling. To give her control on strategical nuclear arsenal is a pure, inadultered insanity.

  54. nyomythus Says:

    What are we doing? Playing “The Price Is Right”?

  55. Sergey Says:

    What a pity that candidates to presidency are not obliged to pass a full psychiatric evaluation, which is mandatory even to pilots of airliners and operators of nuclear plants. POTUS responsibility is much more heavy.

  56. Terrye Says:

    Well some of these fanatics completely ignore the fact that the Republican party is not their play thing, they do not own it and they are not even a majority in it.

    People like Lugar were winning elections as Republicans before Reagan even came along. In my district here in Indiana the far right Hostettler got beat by the blue dog Democrat Ellsworth. I voted for Hostettler, even though I did not agree with him on everything because I did not want to see the Republicans lose the House.

    Now we have all these purists out there who seem bound and determined to lose elections. A lot of them wanted to lose in 06 so that we could win in 08. Now they want to lose in 08 so that we can win 12. It is ridiculous.

    Maybe they would jump off a building if Rush Limbaugh told them to, not me. I want to see the Democrats go down in flames in 08, and I do not see how anyone calling themselves a Republican could say otherwise.

  57. nyomythus Says:

    I’m just going to go for McCain, if Obama gets it … c’est la vie.

  58. Trimegistus Says:

    McCain is no Reagan, but I’d vote for him against any candidate the Democrats put up. Let’s keep some perspective here: no candidate is perfect, since my perfect candidate is someone else’s nightmare, and vice versa. We want the best candidate — someone who mostly agrees with our views and can get elected. A perfect ideology match who gets beaten at the polls is no good at all, and discredits the ideology, to boot. It took 20 years to get from Goldwater to Reagan.

  59. Ymarsakar Says:

    it should be noted that most of the people who are about to vote for Obama believe they have principles.

    Correct, and that is the principle that it is better to lose than to compromise. Which is why the Republicans have taken a backseat to Democrat ruthlessness in politics.

    Given that Obama hasn’t won the nomination, it would be kind of hard for Republicans to vote for him. The simplest explanation is not fanaticism, it is that if they complain enough that they will vote for Democrats then McCain won’t be nominated. This is the primary season, not the the Presidential one. Inter-party squabbles notably come up in primary season.

    Do you think it is wrong for Republicans to give you reasons not to nominate McCain?

  60. Ymarsakar Says:

    The obvious difference is that people who care only about Iraq and foreign policy will vote for McCain, because they don’t really think domestic stuff is a priority.

    Those against McCain are against him on the grounds that his domestic policy is more important than whatever a Democrat may do in foreign policy wise.

    Disagree with that if you wish, but it is not any more fanatic than war suppoter’s belief in the US military.

  61. Ymarsakar Says:

    Ymarsakar, look at this about McCain and the surge—he not only wanted more troops but a different strategy.

    I read that the first time you put it up, Neo, which is why I was stressing that McCain focused on “more troops” instead of “different strategy” when McCain made media comments.

    After the bombing, NSC officials were increasingly dubious. They weren’t alone. General Keane kept in contact with retired and active Army officers, including Petraeus, who believed the war could be won with more troops and a population protection, or counterinsurgency, strategy–but not with a small footprint. At the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, a former West Point professor (and a current WEEKLY STANDARD contributing editor), Frederick Kagan, was putting together a detailed plan to secure Baghdad. But the loudest voice for a change in Iraq was Senator John McCain of Arizona. He and his sidekick, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, traveled repeatedly to Iraq. McCain badgered Bush and Hadley with phone calls urging more troops and a different strategy. Together, McCain, Keane, Petraeus, the network of Army officers, and Kagan provided a supportive backdrop for adopting a new strategy.

    I and we don’t know what strategy McCain wanted, because McCain didn’t want a different strategy, he wanted more troops. McCain, because of his insider status, knew what strategy was being employed. It was the Casey/Abizaid brainchild of lower footprint, clear, train Iraqis, let Iraqis hold. The “let Iraqis hold” fell apart, of course, which is why Casey’s strategy failed. That strategy needed to change if McCain wanted more troops, and he did want more troops, for whatever reasons he didn’t deem us fit to receive.

    Did McCain explain to the American public, when he had the media’s attention and help, that Casey’s strategy was wrong and flawed, thus we should adopt a better strategy that coincidentally used more troops?

    No, he did not

    For people like me outside the circle, we had to get our information from military sources like blackfive or the rumour mill. We didn’t know exactly what Casey’s strategy was, so I personally didn’t feel confident enough to say that it had failed. McCain obviously knew the inner workings, but he didn’t choose to explain. He chose, instead, to tell us what we should do.

    I had enough of the US President telling me to stay the course just because we should trust his judgement. I want the inside scoop, and McCain doesn’t seem like he would give us the real deal as President considering McCain’s behavior prior to 2007.

    Also, because McCain knew the real strategy, he also knew that it had to change for the President to authorize more troops. The article recognized how loud and connected McCain was. Then why did the President only become convinced that a new strategy could “win” when Keane and Petraeus entered the picture? Because Keane and Petraeus told the President how to fix the problem, while McCain just badgered the President that there was a problem. Bush could see that there was a problem, and nothing McCain said invalidated Casey’s recommended strategy to Bush. That’s my interpretation of Bush’s choices over the surge.

    If McCain did the same thing to us that he did to Bush over the phone, I guarantee you that Bush wouldn’t have been convinced to change strategies and authorize McCain’s more troops deal.

    Also, I personally know plenty of Democrats who have refused to vote for their party’s candidates because they are not liberal enough.

    Republicans do that too. But we’re discussing Republicans voting for Democrats because they don’t like the conservative nomination. Has any Democrats done that?

    Some of them voted for Nader in 2000, for example.

    An easy to justify decision. But the same as what people claimed, that they would vote for Hillary over McCain? I think there is a difference, and the difference is not that Republicans will actually vote for Hillary but that they think they are accomplishing something by claiming that they will.

    It is a form of hubris on their part, I believe, to be so convinced that they are able to predict the future, and the risks and costs of error are very high.

    I don’t necessarily believe their analysis to be correct, either. Since regardless of what Congress is made of, the President still has enormous powers in war. Bush just hasn’t used it. But I tend to think Democrats will, given the example of what Clinton used Presidential powers for. And not just for pardoning political allies.

    Call it principle if you like, but it’s a devotion to principle that ignores the practical consequences of its own narrow extremism, which is that the opposite principles could easily end up prevailing.

    Such things are like that in war, such as AQ’s brutality vs America’s mercy and compassion. It is not guaranteed that one will backlash the other, of course, given the example of Vietnam. But just like in war, both sides have a chance of winning, depending on what their enemies do.

    Until the situation goes from hypothetical to actual, I won’t waste too much time analyzing or arguing why people should keep Democrats out of office.

    Which, by the way, strikes me as a conservative blogsite, if I am not grossly mistaken.
    Neo-conservative more than conservative I believe.

    Romney is no more conservative than McCain. I suggest that those who like Romney read the book Cape Wind, by Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb.

    The Romney appeal, I believe, has to do with how Romney can run a fake liberal state of useful idiots, for the most part, without getting crucified and actually getting some reforms done.

    We know that Romney can deal with fake liberals well. McCain has proven that he should avoid useful fake liberal idiots that exist solely to benefit our enemies. Bush wasn’t all that good at dealing with Democrats either, but that was due to the hatred of Democrats, not to Bush being a loose cannon. Bush did well with Democrats in Texas, but we all know that Democrats from the South ain’t the same as Democrats from Mass.

    But the future presidential candidate refused to listen to his advisers.

    That is actually a good thing, if his advisers are wrong or even if they are correct theoretically. If Romney is elected, he is going to have to stick to his guns. And one of Bush’s problem making disasters is listening to his advisers often. Tenet for one thing. His generals, on another note.

    When Romney makes a decision, he sticks with it. If he ever does get into office, he won’t be beholden to the financial backers from Mass. I don’t expect much warfare genius from him, since he should leave that stuff to Petraeus and Fallon, but I really do want him to politically strip the Democrats of power. And to do that, Romney has to know how to acquire and use political power.

    I don’t like Ted “splash” Kennedy anymore than his other political enemies. I don’t like Robert “KKK manboy” Byrd either. But they are not the real problem, the real problem and threat is the organization of the Democrat party. Destroy that, and you destroy their base of power. The Governor of Mass has little choice but to work with the Left, that is why they voted him in. Arnold tried to bypass the legislature in California, to get directly to the people, but the people didn’t want that. People don’t like politics 24/7, that is why they elected representatives to do the dirty work for them.

    As a security issue, breaking the power of the Democrat party is far more important than adopting useful foreign policy initiatives. With Democrat obstruction, you pretty much can’t do anything unified or effective. Cause they will go negotiate with Syria, behind backdoors, for example.

  62. Ymarsakar Says:

    Those against McCain are against him on the grounds that his domestic policy is more important than whatever a Democrat may do in foreign policy wise.

    I am of course refering only to the fanatics Terry brought up.

  63. Snowflakes in Hell » Blog Archive » Purity Uber Alles Says:

    [...] count on a perfect storm for Republicans sweeping them into power.  Via Dr. Helen, I also found this excellent post: It’s not that I think they must like McCain; I understand it if they don’t. And it’s not [...]

  64. Doom Says:

    Well, perhaps you have a point. Still, I will NOT vote for McCain, no matter. Yeah, ok, I will also not vote for Hillary (probably), most likely I would write in Hunter. My deal is simple, I will not one more time vote for someone I know I should not vote for. I will not wash my hands, I will not add my support for this type of leftist “Republican”. I do not care what you pundits believe, I do not care about your cajoling, guilt trips, or anything. Not one more stinking leftist will get my vote.

    I will only even suck it in and vote for Romney… if he really kisses my tush. He has to have a cabinet and advisers in line, and they had better be conservative, fiscal and social. If the party cannot win with it’s base in mind, so be it. Better to lose than to soften. And, I believe a solid conservative can win, if they are honest about it and really work for our goals. Bush only got in trouble when he tried to sell out, on the Supreme Court, Illegal alien amnesty, and things like that. So, quit kidding. Conservativism wins, easily. It’s the “Republican” progressive leadership which just refuses to listen to it’s base, and middle America.

  65. Promethea Says:

    Continuing from the previous thread….I still don’t understand why everyone is assuming McCain will win the nomination. Most of us haven’t voted yet. Why shouldn’t I vote for Romney? No one answered my question on the previous thread. What are the arguments for or against Romney?

    As far as I can tell, he would make a good candidate. He seems to be far more qualified than McCain, Obama, or Clinton.

    I’m a bit discouraged at how the MSM has once again “framed the narrative” that McCain will be the winner. Let’s get behind someone who seems normal and competent.

  66. Jane Simmons Says:

    It’s not just McCain for four years. If he wins, it will likely be eight years. The republicans would not run a more conservative presidential candidate in the next election. At least with Clinton or Obama, we can hope to run a more palatable candidate in four years. I voted for Bush because he was marginally better than the democrat running, but I have been so discouraged by his governance and policies. I don’t like being told I am just ‘background noise’ for opposing Meirs, or ‘racist’ for wanting immigration laws enforced, or told I am not compassionate when I complain about expanding gov’t programs that we cannot afford. I am tired of being lectured to by a man who holds my view of government in contempt. I see McCain as more of the same, and I just cannot stomach this again. At least with a democrat president, maybe our conservative congressmen and senators will fight their policies and we can run a true conservative in the next go-around.

  67. Terrye Says:

    Ymars:

    Do you really believe anyone is going to read all that?

  68. Terrye Says:

    Jane:

    Well yes, it might be 8 years if those pesky old bothersome American voters say so. How dare they?

    So I guess all that stuff about standing behind the troops was just so much propaganda? Because I am fed up with the my way or the highway people who seem to think the rest of us are just window dressing.

    Those young people deserve better than a temper tantrum from people who keep claiming they are patriotic Americans. I have my doubts about that.

  69. Terrye Says:

    Prom:

    It is not a narrative. It is the polls, we will know soon enough. I guess you guys can always go to Canada along with all those people who said they would leave if Bush was elected.

  70. Terrye Says:

    Oh yeah ymars, if McCain gets elected we are all DOOMED!!!

  71. Ymarsakar Says:

    Do you really believe anyone is going to read all that?

    Only those that are interested in the real issues, rather than inciting emotion through demagoguery, terry.

    As your example have deftly shown, it doesn’t take much length to boost up the strife and conflict.

  72. Jane Simmons Says:

    Excuse me Terrye: I come from a military family whose blood has been spilled in defense of this country. I love our country and I love our military. But I hate what is happening to us. We are losing our hearts – we are losing what is great about this country. Pardon me for trying to hang onto the freedom and liberty my family has fought and died for.

  73. harry9000 Says:

    Juan “The Maverick” McCain is not going to get a pass from me because some of you think he’s the only hope we have. That guy has got to fight for the nomination just like Hillary.

    BTW: if Hillary wins the nomination on her side it just could be that many liberals will stay home out of disgust. It certainly sounds that way on Hufpo. So the two great parties each has been saddled with its own albatross.

    This maybe one of the most momentous election of our times in which the few elect the most mediocre middle of the road triangulating populist seeking megalomaniacs at what may be the most crucial time in history.

    Heady times, now that I think of it.

  74. Tatyana Says:

    Here I’ll have to disagree with you.

    If I’m voting Republican because it reflects my conservative values better than Democrats. Not because I’m bound by party discipline and will vote in the office anyone the party comes up with.

    If Republican party no longer reflects conservative values, the party has to be corrected, not the conservatives.

    After reading this long and passionate discussion at Rachel Lucas I have to say – I agree with commenter Brian (somewhere to the end of about 400 comments thread): when you consistently, over the years, vote in the lesser-of-two-evils, you end up with merging of those same evils into one figure. And that figure is John McCain.

    About pragmatism: I too, agree with Brian there – principles are more important than pragmatism.

    Having been made to study Russian/Soviet history, I can see this happening again and again: when opponents to a particularly repellent hcoice are told to hold their nose and vote in the name of party discipline, “because the alternative is worse” and “we have to appear as united in front of our political enemies” – eventually everything that is decent and rational and civil is wiped out of the political party and it becomes a playground for authoritarian types.

    I survived Brezhnev and Andropov. I’ll survive 4 years of Obama.

  75. TmjUtah Says:

    But we must vote for the best we can get, regardless of how bad that might be.

    Bullshit.

    “How bad that might be”?

    What part of vote “FOR” escapes people?

    The act of voting is the single most important duty a citizen must fulfill. A vote is a pledge of support, an assent, a physical act of alliance.

    It does not “MUST” any thing.

    McCain whiffs on his constitutional oath on three clean pitches: freedom of speech, national defense, and sovereignty. He’s a Republican because that’s what his senate I.D. card.

    I’ll not support the idea that this country goes to Hell under a Republican administration if I’m not voting for a Republican, thanks.

  76. TalkinKamel Says:

    The problem with waiting for somebody more palatable to come along after four years of Clinton or Obama, Jane, is that you really don’t know if such a person is going to materialize, or, if he does, that he’ll be any more acceptable to Conservatives than McCain/Romney is. You also don’t know that Republican congressmen are going to oppose the Dems’ programs, or, if they do, that they’re going to be very effective at this.

    You also don’t know how badly the Dems are going to be able to mess things up while they’re in office. You don’t know that it won’t be 8 years of Hillary—or Obama, or what shape the country will be in at the end of that time. You don’t know the future. None of us do. All we really know is what we have to work on, in the present moment.

  77. Tap Says:

    Heh. I know they’ll be a helluva lot more effective opposing Dem programs than they will be opposing equally repugnant Republican programs.

  78. futuremarinesmom Says:

    I was discussing the whole “if McCain gets the nomination will we vote for him” subject with my family tonight. I’m embarrassed to say I was leaning towards voting for whoever gets the Dem nomination, because I find McCain to be repugnant in more ways than one. After reading most of this rather long thread, I see the error of my ways. I’m still hoping for a Romney win, but if not, I’ll refrain from shooting myself in the foot. Thanks to all who weighed in on the matter.

  79. sergey Says:

    “I survived Brezhnev and Andropov. I’ll survive 4 years of Obama.”
    Tatayana, your Soviet experience hardly applicable in context of American politics. You are electing President of US, not General Secretary of Republican party. And this party is not CPSU, it has no ideological discipline and any other discipline to talk about. I can’t see how nominating of this or of any other candidate to presidency can damage internal discussions in the party and formulation better policies for future.
    Emigration reform can wait. Fiscal reform can wait. The only looming catastrophes of historical importance are defeat in Iraq and Iranian bomb, and McCain fully understands this. Both democrat’s nominee don’t. For me this seals the deal.

  80. sergey Says:

    And in the other four important, but not so pressing issues of fiscal discipline, government spending, Supreme Court judges nomination and emigration, Obama and Hillary, may be, are not much worse than McCain, but no better, that is for sure.

  81. Doom Says:

    harry9000,

    Or, it will be the first time a president is elected… by write-in.

  82. armchair pessimist Says:

    But the “purists” are behaving very rationally: “You think you have us in your pocket, McCain because we have nowhere else to go. Don’t count on it, Johnny. ” And then the bargaining begins. But it only works if the Maverick is good and scared first. So rage, scream, curse, away, loud as you can.

    Thank you.

    On another point, I have the greatest and most wary respect for Mr Putin, and think that of all the unfit mediocrities we must choose from, McCain stands the best chance of not being eaten alive.

  83. sergey Says:

    Of course, it helps to have a strong personal knowlege of Communist barbarism. Most of US politics lack this vital experience and can be dangerously naive dealing with these types.

  84. harry9000 Says:

    armchair:
    “But the “purists” are behaving very rationally: “You think you have us in your pocket, McCain because we have nowhere else to go. Don’t count on it, Johnny. ” And then the bargaining begins. But it only works if the Maverick is good and scared first. So rage, scream, curse, away, loud as you can.”

    We’re not out here throwing a tantrum for tantrum sake, and characterizing it as such does yourself a disservice. We are conservatives looking for a conservative candidate.

    Now what I’m hearing here is that McCain, the guy I loath to award with the highest office, may be the only hope we have to stave off disaster. All this because he’s seen as more elect able than Romney.

    Sergey is very helpful in placing it all in perspective for me and convinces me that the Sponge Bob marathon might wait for a few hours on election day no matter who the candidates are.

    I’m sorry. I just can’t do it. I’m not coronating “the Maverick”. I just cant.

  85. TalkinKamel Says:

    Problem is, none of the candidates so far have appealed to Conservatives at large: they’re all too Mormon, not pro Second Amendment enough, not anti-abortion enough, not Christian enough (or too Christian); not this, not that, not the other thing—-just not good enough.

    Fred Thompson, was considered the Golden Boy, but just didn’t really want to run, and now he’s out. Maybe he would have been the best, maybe not; but if he’s not running, it doesn’t matter. We have to work with the people we have—-not with those who’ve dropped out, or who don’t really want to run in the first place. A lot of people don’t want McCain (or Romney) but they never bothered to get behind any other candidate, either. I kinda suspect their reaction would be the same right now if it were between, oh, Huckabee and Giuliani; or Fred Thompson and Huckabee (or Giuliani), or anybody else. Nobody’s gonna be good enough. Nobody’s gonna get that perfect score for being absolutely perfect on all the issues.

    We can’t sit around waiting for some idealized, perfect conservative candidate, who doesn’t exist in the real world. As Neo points out, we’re still struggling with Carter’s mistakes in Middle-East (and may be struggling even more if Iran gets nukes). Depending on backlashes, a Republican congress actually standing up to a Democratic president (maybe it’ll happen—or may not), or hoping for Reagan II to finally appear (after how many years of disastrous foreign and domestic policy programs?) is, in my opinion, foolish.

  86. armchair pessimist Says:

    We are conservatives looking for a conservative candidate.

    Me too, Harry, me too. Maybe there’s a trueblue Colonel Keep-the-Faith in Iraq who will go into politics someday, the kind of guy we all wish McCain was, but meanwhile we got to play the cards we got, crappy as they may be.

    I’m not coronating “the Maverick”.

    That’s my point! “Tantrums”, the louder the better, may be the only way to get it through King John’s thick head that he needs to strike a deal with us, if he wants his coronation. If we go away and sulk, he owes us nothing. Of course, in that case say Howdy to President Hillary, President Obama.

    Maverick is one loopy dog but we can be his leash. Don’t dismiss this out of hand; the country needs us.

  87. harry9000 Says:

    Sorry armchair, I thought you were taking us to task for wanting better and throwing a fit if we dont get our way.

    Will McCain scare into adopting a more conservative stance? Or would he pull a Clinton, fake right, move left? Hard to say. But it does convince me that if McCain is the nominee, we need to back him.

    There, Im not so doctrinare after all am I?

  88. Ymarsakar Says:

    the louder the better, may be the only way to get it through King John’s thick head that he needs to strike a deal with us

    It doesn’t really matter to McCain whether he wins or loses the conservative vote. Since he can always get support from the Left. What McCain needs conservatives for is in the primaries.

  89. q2600 Says:

    I apologize ahead of time if my points have already been covered in the previous 88 posts; I didn’t take the time to read them all before posting.

    First, conservative bile pales in comparison to liberal bile:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120053277483496183.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

    Second, I believe that the real frustration with McCain is that the Democratic party has two candidates who both strongly embrace the party platform, and routinely has such. The Republicans have not been so lucky for a long time.

  90. George Says:

    In a few words, I don’t think many people understand Coulter’s extra dry wit. She was simply expressing how bad a choice McCain is. I happen to agree with her; so does my brother. BTW, we are both retired military officers from the same era as McCain. My brother, especially, is familiar with McCain’s conduct after repatriation. McCain is just one more narcissist bordering on megalomania.

  91. David M Says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 02/04/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  92. Tap Says:

    I once thought only the Dems would select a nominee who actively despises and belittles his own base.

    I find McCain to be lacking in each and every particular, and calls for party disipline do little to sway me. I don’t know where I’ll be on this next November, but as of right now I just can’t see pulling that lever..

    I’ll tell you why the argument I hear the most often doesn’t sway me. “He’s the best we can get” has been going on for a while now, and yet I don’t see it improving anything. From my pov, it is only making matters worse. Both parties have been moving steadily to the left for a long time now. Voting for those who would move it further left only…moves it further left. Why would I do that if I think it is wrong??

    At this point, if McCain is the nominee, I really don’t feel that the Rep. party is representing me or the best interests of the country (as I see it) any longer.

    Now that may well mean I am so far to the right that I am no longer in the mainstream. That’s entirely possible, I suppose. But if that is so, why all the distress and outrage from the neocons out there?

    If those threatening to withhold their vote from the Rep. party are only outlyers (sp?), then please, brush us off and go on with your plans. We shouldn’t affect them, right? Why all the outrage?

  93. Tatyana Says:

    Sergey, I’m perfectly capable to evaluate my past and current experience and to come to conclusions myself, thank you very much.
    And my name is Tatyana, not Tatayana.

  94. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    I like Huckabee, and sent in my absentee ballot for Proud to be a Christian Gov’ Mike.

    I think he’d be OK on national defense (maybe not as good in words as McCain), OK on fiscal issues (maybe not as good in words as Romney), but is best on culture.

    The Culture of Life. Not just pro-life, but his slogan:
    Faith, Family, Freedom.

    The only Rep I wouldn’t vote for was pro-abortion Rudy.

    I’d even vote for Ron Paul — I did in 1988 (when I ran as Lib candidate for Congress in Silicon Valley).

    Obama is generating excitement because of his “unity” message. But, on abortion, the country does NOT have unity … unless I’ve missed the big pro-life conversion of the Dem Party. (NOT). The gay marriage junk is mostly a surrogate battle over abortion.

    But almost mentioned, without being spelled out above, is the sad sad truth about US presidents. They most often get legislative success by doing what the OTHER party wants. The Carter disaster was 50 year aberation — thanks to Nixon, Watergate, and the ability to shift Vietnam’s blame from Dem LBJ to Rep Nixon, and thus it became a Rep loss, Carter was allowed to do junk w/o strong Rep opposition. (I’m so ashamed of my vote for him).

    See Clinton’s big successes: NAFTA & Welfare Reform, both Rep issues.

    Yes, the world suffers from Carter’s Iran wimpiness still, but until a nuke / WMD is actually used against Israel, it’s not completely too late.

    Looking back at Bush vs Kerry, the three big issues (as expressed to PEW “most important”):
    1) Iraq/ WOT, 2) Economy / tax cuts, 3) Abortion/ culture/ “values”. Bush and Kerry were about even on (1), Kerry actually was a bit better on (2) (most folk aren’t happy with ‘tax cuts for the rich’), but Bush was far better on (3).

    While “winning in Nov” is important, using the primaries to fight for the soul of the Rep Party is just what Reps should be doing. But we shouldn’t be fighting at any cost in negative ads against those we disagree with.

    McCain would be fine (my #3 after Thompson), and even Romney (#5 after Ron Paul).

    I’m fully on board being anti-Establishment Republicanism — where were the pro-Romney guys in getting anti-Pork Reps to run against incumbent corrupt Reps? Nowhere.

    The final sad truth is that Congress, not the President, is the key to fiscal policy. Both Dems & Reps are working far too hard for their side at the top, only, without looking at level 2. The President, like the Queen in chess, is the strongest piece. But the other Congress folk matter, overall, more than the Pres.

    What corrupt elected Reps has Ann Coulter, or Rush, or any famous Reps been good at booting thru a non-incumbent primary victory?

    I wanted anti-pork Tom Coburn in 2008 — he is supporting McCain. That’s the best fiscal recommendation for me.

    McCain – Huckabee 2008.

  95. SteveH Says:

    I never knew the path to pathological extremism was so easy.

    Just work hard at your job, pay all your taxes and finally figure out the lesser of two evils gets more evil every time you vote for it.

    Don’t taze me bro!

  96. Tatyana Says:

    To Sergey:

    You, on the other hand, do not have full understanding of the situation, otherwise you’ll recognize same similarities I noticed. You think you do, but you don’t. Understandably, since you don’t live here; you’re not a citizen of this country. Internet sources alone aren’t extensive enough to form an informed opinion.

    Which brings me to another point: please, try not to tell us – US citizens – what our priorities are. Then, maybe, phrases like “this for me (T) seals the deal” will not look so…mmm…out of place.

    I’ll provide a link for you, for further clarification. I completely agree with the author.

  97. gcotharn Says:

    George said:

    “McCain is just one more narcissist bordering on megalomania.”

    This is how I see McCain (maybe I’m projecting!)

    Post ballot surveys, of Repub primary voters, show they believe Romney is right on the issues, yet they are voting McCain because of character.

    I look at McCain, and I see an American hero who is politically unprincipled. I am frustrated that Repub voters cannot see him as clearly as I believe I see him.

    I believe Repub voters shy from Romney b/c of the flip-flopper meme which is in the air. I see Romney as a flipper. He hasn’t flopped.

    A bunch of people at this blog are, in neo’s characterization: “changers.” I am now politically unrecognizable from the me who supported Bill Clinton in 1992. Ronald Reagan flipped from Dem to Repub. Like Reagan, Romney is unlikely to flop.

    Romney apparently gives some people the creepies. Not me. I see a guy who is trying to live his life and contribute to the world in the best way he can. Romney’s vanilla does not turn me off. I think Romney would make a much better friend than John McCain. Romney would wear better over time, as I appreciate Romney’s virtues more than I appreciate McCain’s virtues.

    There! That’s what I’ve been trying to get at for days: virtue. Classical virtue. McCain doesn’t have it. If McCain had a better understanding of what conservatives believe vs. what the left believes, then McCain might make some virtuous choices. Might. But, McCain doesn’t have that understanding, so the question is moot.

  98. gcotharn Says:

    BTW- if McCain understood what the right and left believed, and he chose the left side of some issues, those WOULD BE virtuous choices. McCain would be choosing a course which he logically believed to be best for the nation. I respect that.

    My contention is McCain hasn’t done the intellectual homework to really understand the right or the left. My contention is McCain only sees the right and left as parameters for the triangulating measurement he is preparing to conduct. He doesn’t really, actually understand why either right or left believe as they do.

  99. grackle Says:

    There’s a need to be clear about something: Someone who urges me to NOT vote for a Republican candidate is not themselves a Republican. A Republican is someone who abides, however regretfully, their party membership’s choices.

    Malkin, Coulter, Limbaugh and their ilk are ideologues, NOT Republicans. If they are so unhappy about Republican voter choices they should get out and start their own political party instead of urging Republicans to vote for Democrats.

    Republic “principles” are whatever Republican Party members decide they are, not what these nincompoops flame about. Their hysteria over issues, is at once both repugnant and revealing. They merit nothing but contempt for their disgraceful whining and ranting. Here’s hoping they fall into the obscurity they deserve.

  100. Occam's Beard Says:

    I’m 100% with sergey, and neo. Minor doctrinal issues will keep. The critical issues are Iraq and Iran. Everything else can be fixed later.

  101. Tap Says:

    Apparently, SteveH has trouble following my logic. Let me try again. Some of us are slower than others, so I’ll try to keep this simple for his sake.

    My principles haven’t changed. The party that most closely represented my priciples was the Republican party. The Rep. party nominated a candidate that was to the left of my ideal. I voted for him anyway. He was better than the alternative. The Rep. party then said this is great! We getting more votes from the left side of the spectrum. So they ran candidates that were even further to the left. I voted for them anyway. They were better than the alternative. The Republican party said, ‘This is great!’ We have even MORE people voting for us. So the Republican party runs candidates even further to the left…..

    At this point, the Rep. party is running candidates to the left of JFK.

  102. Tap Says:

    Exactly right, Grackle!

  103. Tap Says:

    They are ideologues (consevatives). They put their ideology before party loyalty. I don’t see why so many have a problem with that.

  104. Tap Says:

    Now explain to me why “hysteria” over issues is both “repugnant and revealing.” What does it reveal to you and why does that repulse you?
    Why do you find the dissent to be “disgracefule” and nothing but “whining”. More importantly, Grackle, what is it about ‘party loyalty’ that you find to be more admirable than principle and why do you have such hostility to such people?

  105. Bugs Says:

    “McCain is just one more narcissist bordering on megalomania.”

    Show us a politician who isnt…

  106. Bugs Says:

    As for party loyalty – Jesus, this isn’t the playground and we’re not choosing sides for dodgeball. Vote for the candidate whom you think will most likely benefit the country (or do the least damage), who seems likely to survive or even flourish in the dog-pit that is DC, and whose enablers don’t frighten you too much. As the McCain fracas shows, you shouldn’t assume those letters next to peoples’ names mean they believe what you believe.

  107. capital L Says:

    “I think Romney would make a much better friend than John McCain.” Well, shoot, that’s great. Maybe he’s a better candidate too! (I tend to disagree…)

    Here’s the rub: if he’s the nominee: I’ll vote for him. He is have a damnable time defeating John McCain–allegedly a terrible, hoary, treasonous, liberal–in Republican primaries, so I’m not so hot on his chances in the general election, but whatever.

    I will vote for the candidate I think will be best for America in the here and now. Period. End of question. This is no game.

  108. TallDave Says:

    What really bothers me about the anti-McCain people is that they totally ignore the fact that Romney has been just left-liberal as McCain if not more so, just because Romney now says what they want to hear.

    So much for principle.

  109. grackle Says:

    Now explain to me why “hysteria” over issues is both “repugnant and revealing.” What does it reveal to you and why does that repulse you?

    It reveals to me that they are frauds to the extent that they try to pass themselves off as Republicans while urging Republicans to vote for Democrats. Conservatives they may be but Republicans they are NOT.

    As for the whining, whining is always distasteful no matter which direction it comes from.

    Why do you find the dissent to be “disgracefule” and nothing but “whining”.

    Dissent is not disgraceful – honest disagreement and spirited debate is inevitable, even desirable. But to ask Republicans to vote for Democrats is crossing the line from dissent into infantile chaos.

    More importantly, Grackle, what is it about ‘party loyalty’ that you find to be more admirable than principle and why do you have such hostility to such people?

    Principles are fine. But if party members chose certain principles(or candidates) over others and that enrages you, then start your own party instead of urging folks to vote for the opposite party. If your principles can stand the test of voter scrutiny then no doubt your new party will fare well.

  110. VekTor Says:

    “But the “purists” are behaving very rationally: “You think you have us in your pocket, McCain because we have nowhere else to go. Don’t count on it, Johnny. ” And then the bargaining begins. But it only works if the Maverick is good and scared first. So rage, scream, curse, away, loud as you can.”

    I have another take on this, and as mentioned before, it may also speak to the “dry wit” aspect of Coulter’s assertion. To me, the point of the rhetoric RIGHT NOW is to try to convince those fence-sitters who are leaning and polling towards McCain that he’s such a bad choice… so bad, that Hillary and a defeat may be preferable to McCain and his long list of betrayals.

    It may largely be an attempt to pull the support of the squishies towards Romney (who is at least MORE conservative). Just saying “support Romney” isn’t getting through, so it’s an attempt at shock therapy.

    In the end, I’m sure a great many of the people out there taking the “Hillary over McCain” position won’t actually carry it out in the privacy of the voting booth if that was the choice they faced (and I count myself in that number)… but if they SAY that, the squishies don’t get the point.

    Romney is no paragon of party purity, but he’s much closer to a conservative Republican than McCain is… so it’s not “purity above all”. If it were, we’d see a massive public movement underway saying that anything other than a brokered Thompson nomination will mean Republican civil war. We don’t see that. It’s not about purity over all, it’s about trying to get the attention of the drifting-left squishies while we still have a chance.

  111. Still-A-Neocon Says:

    Romney is now saying all the right things. Just a few years ago he was saying and doing a lot of the wrong things. I don’t trust him. He seems to be another politician who will say and do and spend anything to get elected. His change of heart is not convincing to me.

    People’s anger at McCain is leading people to false impression of Romney (a Rorschach test of sorts)… what you see is what you want to see… not necessarily what is.

    “We won’t be fooled again.”

  112. Steve Says:

    Wow… what a miss.

    “Party purity”… what bull crap. What you are seeing is people rejecting a party that insists on pushing somebody down there throat. I vote for the man, not the party.

    You see, the Republican Party wants their “blacks”. You know, the demographic who votes Democrat even though the Democrats do nothing for them. They don’t have to do anything for them, they own them.

    Republicans Party Leadership thinks conservatives are “theirs”. “We don’t have to serve them, we own them… who else they gonna vote for, Hillary?”

    Sorry we disappoint you by applying independent thought.

  113. Inspector Callahan Says:

    It reveals to me that they are frauds to the extent that they try to pass themselves off as Republicans while urging Republicans to vote for Democrats. Conservatives they may be but Republicans they are NOT.

    And Limbaugh has been completely up-front about this – he is a conservative first, republican last. How is this fraudulent? Or are you just being disingenuous?

    But if party members chose certain principles(or candidates) over others and that enrages you, then start your own party instead of urging folks to vote for the opposite party. If your principles can stand the test of voter scrutiny then no doubt your new party will fare well.

    See point 1. The whole “party members” thing is a straw-man. Both Coulter and Limbaugh are unabashed conservatives – that doesn’t make them automatic republicans. Gee, you’d think that we were expected to do what the moderates want, and just be thankful we have the repub party. Now I know how African-Americans feel in the Democratic party – used , abused, and taken for granted.

    I probably will vote for McCain if he’s the nominee, but I won’t like it. And I will probably regret it later. I certainly wouldn’t vote for him if we weren’t at war. But if those who can’t stomach voting McCain stay home, it won’t be because Limbaugh and Coulter told them so – it’ll be because they’ve taken a principled stand. And good for them.

    TV (Harry)

  114. Irving Greenberg Says:

    The last candidate I voted for that was not a Republican was Lyndon Johnson and I have voted in every election since then. I am a contemporary of McCain and a retired military pilot who served in Vietnam. I will not under ANY circumstances vote for McCain because I believe he is too unstable to be president and would, in the long run, be more dangerous for the country than either of the Democrats, for whom I also will not vote because they would be almost as bad. For me, in this election, it’s Romney or nobody. I have never ever stayed home on election day and even voted absentee from Vietnam, but my conscience might require it on this one.

  115. Doom Says:

    Is this just a pundit post? I have noted some oddities here.

  116. grackle Says:

    And Limbaugh has been completely up-front about this – he is a conservative first, republican last. How is this fraudulent? Or are you just being disingenuous?

    Limbaugh identifies himself as a Republican yet urges Republicans to either not vote at all or vote for the Democratic nominee. That is fraudulent no matter how “up-front” he is about his calumny.

    The whole “party members” thing is a straw-man. Both Coulter and Limbaugh are unabashed conservatives – that doesn’t make them automatic republicans.

    Really? Well now, just what political party do you think Coulter and Limbaugh belong to? Provide a link to any statement either has ever made where they describe themselves as a member of any other political party other than the Republican Party.

    Gee, you’d think that we were expected to do what the moderates want …

    Whether you be moderate or conservative, if you are a member of the Republican Party I expect you to abide by the decisions of the membership or get out, instead of urging folks to not vote or to vote for the Democratic Party candidate. My friend when ANYONE urges you to not vote they are defiling the sacrifice of millions who died to ensure you that right.

    But if those who can’t stomach voting McCain stay home, it won’t be because Limbaugh and Coulter told them so …

    You are entitled to your opinion but I happen to believe that both are very influential and that many well-meaning but gullible fans of theirs may stay home on voting day or even vote for the opposition candidate because of what these infantile nincompoops are spewing. As we have seen in past elections victory can be decided by razor-thin margins.

    On the subject of moderates, how do you think moderate Republicans have felt when ultra-conservatives have ascended to party leadership roles? Have they whined like a bunch of babies? Have they urged fellow party members to not vote?

  117. Ken Says:

    I see a lot of this as a result of “Messiah Politics”, i.e. Ron Paul/Mike Huckabee/Duncan Hunter/Ross Perot as Your Personal LORD And Savior.

    And a reaction, when their Christ figure of a candidate doesn’t make it, of a toddler taking his toy and going home to pout pout pout pout pout pout and pout. (After smashing everybody else’s stuff — SO THERE!)

    Why did I ever bother to “grow up” and be responsible?

  118. DonS Says:

    What Reagan did includes the defeat of the USSR. That’s good that far outweighs the bad Jimmy Carter did.

    And, with respect to Iran, Reagan also dropped the ball, by running after the Iranian sponsered bombing of the Marines in Beruit. This, of course, isn’t as bad as Jimmy standing by while Iran became fundamentalist, and it also has to be viewed from the perspective that Islamic terrorists were small fish in the Reagan years: Reagan’s focus was on the evil of the USSR.

    As far as McCain goes, his support for the surge, etc., is a big plus. His support for McCain Feingold and for closing the “gun show loophole”, etc., are negatives. At this point, however, the war is the big issue.

  119. Serket Says:

    I enjoyed the post. I agree that Ann is an idiot for her comment. I also agree about the 1/3rd rule. I was thinking the same thing: grow up guys, the party is more diverse than you want it to be. Also I know the McCain-haters don’t care about this, but his lifetime acu score is 83%. I was glad you posted some comments showing that Reagan was not perfect.

    Here is what I am going to post at Dr. Helen’s blog:

    I will probably vote for Huckabee, because I would like to see him come in 2nd on delegates. McCain is probably the only Republican who can win and I will vote for him in a general election. I realize both of them have strayed away from conservative principles on a few issues. However, I get really upset at the talking heads who spend all day blasting McCain and praising Romney and nobody wants to talk about Romney’s record.

    If he says he is a conservative, by golly you better just shut up and vote for him. He is perceived as being great for the economy, but job growth was near the bottom for his state and he raised taxes and pushed universal healthcare. When he ran for the senate in 1994, he claimed he was more liberal than Kennedy. He was definitely not a conservative while he was governor. In my opinion he governed as a socialist and a liberal. It also seems he is not very honest about his life and record, but perhaps they are all like that.

  120. Lem Says:

    I’m one of those considering becoming a ‘suicide voter’ by voting for Hillary.

    But your arguments against it are very good.

    After 911 we could have started pointing fingers at each other present/past administrations but instead we properly laid blame at the doorstep of the men that attacked us.

    “Our aim has not been to assign individual blame. Our aim has been to provide the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11 and to identify lessons learned.” – 9/11 Report.

    The idea of teaching the country how to vote by voting for a known undesirable is no more sensible than a shotgun wedding.

  121. Über überall « USA Erklärt Says:

    [...] aus einer vergangenen Version der Nationalhymne ist auch Amerikanern geläufig. In dem Blog Neo-Neocon gab es vor einer Woche den Eintrag Conservatives jump the shark: party purity über alles (die [...]

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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