Should John McCain win the Republican presidential nomination, I will vote for him this fall. While we conservatives may grumble that he has betrayed us on any number of issues, Dick Morris put it best when he wrote, “if a failure to win means the election of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the stakes are too high to ignore the issue of political practicality in making a choice.”
Last week, when I was working my endorsement of then-presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, I went back over my posts on the 2008 presidential election and noted how the further back I went, the more my animosity against John McCain grew. In the most recent posts, I found myself warming to the man whose candidacy I had written off in this post. He stood up to the media (particularly CNN) and refused to apologize for a supporter using the b-word to define Ms. Hillary. And I noted how he looked good in Republican candidates’ debate at the Reagan library in May.
He has been solid in the War on Terror, great on earmarks and outspoken in taking on our party for betraying fiscal conservatism, faulting the Republican Congress in 2003 for “spending money like a drunken sailor.”
And yet, like Mona Charen, “every time I take a step in his direction, I’m reminded of some other apostasy (taxes!) and I recoil.”
Sometimes, as I wrote in my post-mortem on the Florida primary, McCain seems to buck his party, “merely . . . . to prove that he[‘s] a maverick.” Or, as ThatGayConservative asked in the comments section, “was it to pander to the MSM?”
What I find about John McCain (to borrow a metaphor from baseball) is that when he connects with the ball, he hits it of the ballpark (as he did in his comments on the war in the Reagan Library debate), but when he misses, he seems to swing wildly, looking like a rank amateur.
I do have my problems with John McCain (this post provides a good summary), but now that my man Rudy is bowing out, I find myself in the odd position of considering voting for him next week in the California primary.
Eight years ago, I had been torn between him and the then-Texas Governor, making up my mind for George W. Bush only when McCain refused to answer Michael Reagan’s concern that he might appoint Supreme Court justices like David Souter given that former New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman who was then McCain’s campaign chair had encouraged the first President Bush to make that unfortunate choice.
For me, a man with strong opinions, it’s strange to follow a campaign, not as a partisan observer, cheering my candidate on, but as an undecided voter, trying to figure out which of the two leading Republican candidates is better for our party — and our nation.
Given his comments eight years ago which caused me to decide for then-opponent, John McCain could allay some of my concerns about his candidacy if, as he accepts Rudy Giuliani’s endorsement, he asks the former New York City Mayor’s judicial advisory committee to join his campaign.
– B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)
UPDATE: McCain’s persistence in claiming Romney favored a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq makes him look like a rank amateur as do his broadsides against Wall Street.