Friday, January 18, 2008

A Word In McCain's Defense

Adrian Wooldridge's recent attempt in the New York Times to convince conservatives that John McCain is their man in 2008 ("Mr. Right - Don't Be Fooled: McCain is No Moderate," Jan. 17, 2008) caught my eye because of his fine 2004 book, The Right Nation, Conservative Power in America which he co-authored with John Micklethwait.

The concerns that Mark Levin lists in "The Real McCain Record" are real and weighty. But just as I would expect Evangelicals to focus on the practical essentials in the event of a Giuliani nomination (which at this point seems highly unlikely--but then this is politics), Wooldridge points "movement conservatives" to McCain's conservative core.

Mr. Huckabee would tilt the party away from people who look like Mr. Romney and toward people who look like himself — blue-collar social conservatives. Pragmatists like Mr. Romney argue that they could stitch the coalition back together and then manage it better. Mr. McCain offers a third way for conservatives: stick to the core principles while feuding with movement barons like James Dobson and Grover Norquist....Mr. McCain is more likely than any of his rivals to offer conservatives what they want: a vigorous pursuit of the fight against terrorism, the appointment of conservative judges, retrenchment and reform of government.

When the party finds it this difficult to settle on an acceptable candidate, and when the candidate on whom the party settles is considered by many as simply "acceptable," you can expect a Democratic victory.

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