It was with a heavy heart that I watched Fred Thompson bow out of the race. A heavy heart as I finally made the decision on Super Tuesday to vote for the nearest candidate left to a true conservative: Mitt Romney.
It was with a heavy heart that I watched Romney get his ass handed to him on Tuesday, and then read his concession speech today.
It was with a heavy heart that I read John McCain’s speech to Conservatives, and began to understand that this arrogant SOB is the only chance we have left against a Dem-led White House. The speech in which he acknowledged his differences with Conservatives on particular issues, but then dismissed those issues as unimportant. Issues like the First Amendment and border security. Issues like the Bush tax cuts.
To his credit (I guess), McCain did not apologize for his decisions in these matters — merely acknowledged that they failed to line up with the views of the Conservative base. He still believes the Conservative base is wrong on these issues. He fails to see how McCain-Feingold attacks the fundamentals of Free Speech. He promises constructionist judges — but won’t say how he will find judges who are both “strict constructionists” and will uphold McCain-Feingold (because such individuals don’t exist — the two are mutually exclusive. This leads one to wonder, then, which ideal will be the guiding principle). He promises to secure the borders first, if elected, but will not backtrack on McCain-Kennedy amnesty for those already living illegally within our borders. He has not acknowledged any wrongdoing regarding his blatant and false smear against Romney on the Iraq issue.
Today, he said the right things. I am not convinced — and don’t expect I will be — that he is the right man.
But, we conservatives are told, now is not the time to “abandon” the Republican party. Now is not the time to let our principles stand in the way of a Republican victory. There’s a war on, after all, we’re told. An economy that threatens to collapse. Could we be so callous, so … so selfish, that we would sacrifice the US to the will of the Democrat party, simply to “make a point?”
So, with a pat on the head (or a smack on the face), we’re told to hang on to those principles until 2012, perhaps. Or maybe 2018. The Republicans haven’t abandoned Conservatism, we’re told. But we really need a win right now. And if we Conservatives weren’t so damned picky, we could have this thing in the bag.
Fine… so we hang our ideals and vote for McCain. We beat the Democrats. And then what? When do the Conservatives get their party back? When do get to fight for our own values without being labeled as “traitors” to the party that is even now betraying us? When do we get to fight the leftward motion of the Republican party, or failing that, leave? 2012? Assuming there isn’t a similar crisis that demands our loyalty?
McCain spent the last few years of his career betraying Conservatives. Now he’s asking for our loyalty? How many times does this dog have to bite before we’re allowed to put it down?
I haven’t yet made up my mind about whether McCain gets my vote in November. I know he’s not getting my money. He hasn’t earned my support. He hasn’t yet earned my vote. A few paragraphs of pretty words and a call for Conservatives to make nice doesn’t undo McCain-Feingold, or the Gang of 14, or his opposition to the Bush tax cuts, or McCain-Kennedy. The looming spectre of a Democrat president may well be enough to scare me into pulling the McCain lever. But neither McCain nor his supporters should make the mistake of taking the vote as anything other than that.
It’s not a mandate to continue pulling the crap he’s been pulling. It’s not an invitation to urinate all over Conservative principles in the interest of “bipartisanship.” Conservatives aren’t voting for the Maverick. They’re voting against the Democrats, plain and simple. It’ll be a hollow victory for all involved, if victory it is. A marriage of convenience with divorce looming ever-so-near on the horizen.
So congratulations to John McCain. He may or may not get my vote, but he has effectively won the nomination. He hasn’t won my mind. He hasn’t won the heart and soul of the Republican party. In spite of the fact that most Conservatives can’t stomach the man, he has a victory. Maybe it’ll be enough. Maybe fear of Hillary and Obama will be enough to unite and mobilize the Republican voters. It’ll have to be. Because McCain isn’t.