Carol Platt Liebau: The Day After . . .

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Day After . . .

This morning, it's hard to look at yesterday's results and conclude that John McCain will not be the nominee. I wish it were otherwise, but facts are what they are.

If McCain is the nominee, I will support him and vote for him. As much as I respect many of those who now say they will follow another course, I continue to believe that (almost) any Republican is better than (almost) any Democrat.

In particular, take foreign policy. For years on this blog, I have written about the dangers of Islamofascist terrorism and what's clearly either the inability or the unwillingness of Democrats to understand the true nature of our enemies, coupled with their clear reluctance to confront or combat them. I've believed every word I wrote. So it would make no sense for me to sit out the election or support a Democrat -- indeed, if I were willing to do so, what would that say about my sincerity in arguing that there's a real and serious difference between the two parties when it comes to the war on terror, and that the difference matters?

There's also the issue of pork in the budget. John McCain has fought hard against it -- neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama would, because it's consistent with their ideology and in their interest to promote a view of government as a provider of all things to all people. That's a difference, and it matters to me. It doesn't take long for government programs to be put in place . . . programs that quickly gain a constituency and become almost impossible to eliminate. Again, either Obama or Clinton would embrace such programs. There is at least a chance that John McCain would be slower to do so.

Finally, there's the issue of judges. McCain may not be perfect, but Ted Olson and other conservatives have his ear. The same isn't true for Clinton or Obama, who are certain to appoint judges committed to fashioning the laws in conformity with current left-wing thought, rather than in accordance with the Constitution. This matters, of course -- because, as with new government programs, it's a lot easier to get bad precedent onto the books than it is to remove it. And for better or worse (in my view, for worse) many of the issues that matter most in American life -- including abortion, religious controversies and the like -- are settled by judges. Even judges like Anthony Kennedy -- who rule properly at least on occasion -- are a sight better than those like Ginsburg, Breyer or Stevens.

Last, a note about party solidarity. Moderates in the Republican Party have long promoted a model for winning that envisions outreach to independent voters, at the expense of conservative principles. I have long been skeptical of that approach, because in an effort to generate broad appeal, pretty soon one has reworked the party's principles to where they're unrecognizable. That being said, it seems that a moderate Republican is well on the way to winning the nomination. We will finally have a chance to test the moderate vision for electoral dominance. We shall, perhaps, soon see whether the "independent outreach" model is a sustainable one for the Republican Party.

If John McCain wins, we'll also have a chance to test the moderate vision of "governance." In my experience, "compromise" with Democrats doesn't lead to a wonderful world where we can all sit in a circle holding hands and singing kumbayah. Outreach to Democrats of the sort long practiced by McCain rarely results in worthwhile "consensus" legislation -- in my experience, Democrats end up taking most of the pie and then calling it "compromise" (Exhibit A: Arnold Schwarzenegger in California). But we shall see . . .

Time and time again, I have called on moderate Republicans, in the spirit of party loyalty, to vote for Republican nominees from the conservative wing of the party. Now it is their turn, and I will support the nominee.

Conservatives who fear that their principles will be undermined or obliterated have no rightful cause for alarm. If they're worth anything, great ideas and core convictions can survive a season in the shade. It's a time for those who hold them not to be co-opted by the blandishments of a President, a MSM or a Washington establishment -- but rather to hone their beliefs, and find ways to articulate them across-the-board to an American public which, at its core, wants a strong America, loves freedom and believes whole-heartedly in personal responsibility.


Blogger Kbobby said...

I am sure that most if not all Republicans will rally behind McCain if and when he becomes the final nominee of the party. However, he will not generate enthusiasm and he will not win. He has too many things going against him and the age factor cannot be discounted. McCain may be strong on defense and a couple other areas but he is in reality a RHINO. What does it say about him that in his own state he really didn't fair that well. Lets face it this is 1976 all over again and the results will be the same. The Republicans are up against a united democratic party no matter who their nominee is. Being a one note candidate is really not going to put him over the top. He is the establishment candidate and as usual the establishment is out of step.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Ruth Anne Adams said...

Brilliant. Cogent. Sane.

Care to opine: if McCain is the nominee, who would be a brilliant/unifying/satisfying/qualified-to-be-prez veep?

11:09 AM  
Blogger Righty64 said...

Excellent point that Sen. McCain only got 47% of the vote in his home state in a closed primary. It shows he is not all that wonderful as the senior senator from Arizona. And, it is our obligation as conservatives to keep Sen. McCain honest. If we just line up because he MAY be the nominee, we are no different from those moderates we complain about. And, I take issue with moderates always voting for the candidate. The problem with Republican moderates is it becomes a cult of personality. Take Gov. Arnold. When he was a shoo-in for reelection in 2006, he did not spend the last weekend campaigning with fellow Republicans. He was campaigning on bond issues that were going to pass easily. We once again were deprived of State Sen. Tom McClintock to finally gain state office as Lt. Governor and future potential Gov. Arnold successor. Most of the time, the moderates ask for our money, time and support and forget us as they move up the political ladder.

9:53 PM  
Blogger JohnnyT. said...

You know whats ironic? I was a Reagan Democrat, then registered,voted, and remained for years a converted conservative Republican. Then in 2002, when it became apparent Bush and the Republicans were acting more and more like Democrats(except on the war)I switched in protest(Not very wisely,I might add)to Libertarian. Well suffice to say I regained my senses and have registered as an Independent. Now, here I am, come full circle. I will support McCain, and regrettably so. But there really is no other choice. And He is ignoring the conservative Independants as well as the conservative Republicans. But...We have no choice!I have protested every way I can, and I will support the most conservative politician standing in the general election.

9:06 AM  

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