Friday, February 8, 2008

They’d Rather Be Right

The AP lists the top ten reasons conservatives don’t like John McCain.

1. Campaign finance reform. McCain tried to limit the role of money in politics with measures that, critics say, stomp on the constitutional right to free speech.

2. Immigration. McCain has been a vocal supporter of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, although he now says he understands the border between the U.S. and Mexico must be sealed first.

3. Tax cuts. McCain twice voted against President Bush’s tax cuts, saying in 2001 they helped the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and in 2003 that there should be no tax relief until the cost of the Iraq war was known. But he now wants to extend the tax cuts.

4. Gay Marriage. McCain refuses to support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

5. Stem cell research. McCain would relax restrictions on federal dollars for embryonic stem cell research, which critics consider tantamount to abortion.

6. Global warming. Among the loudest voices in Congress for aggressive action against global warming and a frequent critic of the Bush administration on the issue.

7. “Gang of 14” member. One of seven Republicans and seven Democrats who averted a Senate showdown over whether filibusters could be used against Bush judicial nominees.

8. Kerry veep. McCain was approached by the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, about being his running mate. McCain talked with Kerry but rejected the offer.

9. Works with Democrats. See all of the above.

10. Belligerence. McCain can be acerbic toward his critics, such as when he labeled televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson “agents of intolerance.” He reconciled with Falwell in 2006. Conservative James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said in a statement on the morning of the Super Tuesday primaries that he would not vote for McCain, citing among other things his “legendary temper” and that he “often uses foul and obscene language.”

“Foul and obscene language”? Beulah, bring me the fainting couch.

In the normal order of things, a candidate runs to the base of his party to win in the primaries, then runs to the center to appeal to the independents or the wavering in the other party. This time, though, Sen. McCain has to keep running to the right just to keep them from bolting, although it’s too late for him to get the James Dobson, the Grand Poobah of the Religious Reich.

So the GOP has to deal not just with running a national election with a candidate that is barely tolerated by a vocal base, but they also have to overcome a highly-energized opposition, thanks to the record of the current administration. And the right wing is perfectly happy for John McCain to lose the election to a Democrat if it puts them in a position to run a True Believer in 2012.

This is what happens when you let the lunatics take over the asylum.