Round Peg, Square Hole

I could never have been called an enthusiastic supporter of John McCain, but the more I read about him the less I would like to see him as president. Everything about his life and his time in office shows him to be the embodiment of a Washington insider who feels that he is above being questioned by the unwashed masses. The funny thing about this is that I was planning to write about what I had come to believe today. Before I got to it however, I got an email with a link to an article by Mark Levin which expressed my thoughts on McCain much better.

Let’s get the largely unspoken part of this out the way first. McCain is an intemperate, stubborn individual, much like Hillary Clinton. These are not good qualities to have in a president. . . To the best of my knowledge, Romney’s ads have not been personal. He has not even mentioned the Keating-Five to counter McCain’s cheap shots. But the same cannot be said of McCain’s comments about Romney. Last night McCain, who is the putative frontrunner, resorted to a barrage of personal assaults on Romney that reflect more on the man making them than the target of the attacks.

Not only that, but Levin also reminded me of what is so dangerous about voting for the “most electable” candidate this early in the race. It goes much deeper than the fact that polls this far in advance are virtually worthless.

Of course, it’s one thing to overlook one or two issues where a candidate seeking the Republican nomination as a conservative might depart from conservative orthodoxy. But in McCain’s case, adherence is the exception to the rule . . . Are we to overlook this record when selecting a Republican nominee to carry our message in the general election?

Political parties are (or should be) about a platform even more than about winning. Winning is a way to enact the platform, but to abandon the platform for the sake of winning is a sure sign of a party without character. The candidate must be more than a vocal advocate of the platform – they must also represent the platform. This is where McCain is a total loss for the conservative platform of the Republican party. Aside from the undeniable military background – this man does not match the message he would be expected to promote. Even where he agrees with the Republican party it is from the perspective of him being right, not from the perspective that the principles are correct.

2 comments for “Round Peg, Square Hole

  1. February 5, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I think that part of the problem is that the Republican Party is no longer certain of its own identity. What does it mean to be a Republican? That was once pretty clear. It isn’t so clear anymore. The GOP has become the party of Democrat-lite. “Sure we’re going socialist, but at least we’re not going there as fast as the Dems want to.” The 2006 election proved that this was not a winning strategy. Why vote for a pseudo-socialists when you can vote for the real thing?

    With the passing of the Cold War and various other elements that held the Reagan coalition together, the GOP seems to have lost its moorings. It isn’t sure of what actually holds it together — of its reason for being. If the party doesn’t know this, and it doesn’t demonstrate any real differences from the Democratic Party, how can it convince voters to vote Republican?

  2. February 5, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    I wish I could disagree with you on this, but the fact is that I have no foundation to do so. I wish that the Republican party represented my views (because if I thought my views were wrong I’d change them and the party might as well represent my views as represent Democrat-lite) and I believe that in the past they did so better than they do now.

    I’ll admit that I have had discussions with others who leaned generally more Republican than Democrat and found that the issues where I disagree with the Democratic party are often very different than the issues where others disagree with the Democrats. Being the party of not-Clinton is no more effective now than being the party of not-Bush was in 2004. The question is whether there is sufficient time to fine a positive identity for the party before the elections.

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