Curing McCain Derangement Syndrome
While there are plenty of cases of McCain Derangement Syndrome, the irrational belief by conservatives that John McCain is to the left of Teddy Kennedy, evidence is mounting that the malady can be treated by a steady dose of reflection about the prospect of President Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Romney supporter Dr. Rusty Shackleford describes the symptoms:
What drives MDS? Some people are just so partisan and ideologically driven, that you think of John McCain as a traitor. You’re blinded by your outrage that he’s betrayed conservatism, or that he has the audacity to say nice things about Democrats. You just can’t see the truth because you can’t see past McCain’s “betrayal”.
John Cole, who has himself fallen out with the Bush-Cheney Republican Party, is befuddled by the phenomenon — especially when Mitt Romney is the “conservative” around whom the infected are rallying:
For as long as I can remember, McCain has been anti-abortion, for fiscal conservatism and balanced budgets and against wasteful spending, and an avowed and committed hawk and ardent military supporter. By my count, that is, or at least used to be, the trinity for the modern GOP. Those were the issues that, at a glance, defined conservatism, and McCain was on the “right” side of every one of them. Mitt Romney, not so much.
Jim Henley, who has not claimed to be a Republican, responds that modern conservatism seems to have replaced the Reagan-era trinity with “support for torture; opposition to non-Anglo immigration; [and] hatred of campaign finance reform.”
While there’s no doubt that these issues serve as a litmus test for some, so that nonsense like we “ought to double Guantanamo” or implausible scenarios for rounding up millions of illegal aliens get rousing applause, I continue to believe the reaction to McCain is more visceral than substantive. McCain’s cozy relations with the hated Librul Media and his obvious enjoyment at being the “maverick” who poked Republicans in the eyes with sharp sticks didn’t win him many friends in the base.
I think he’s horribly wrong on campaign finance, find his seeming antipathy to big business troubling, and think he’s too found of Big Government solutions to problems. On the other hand, he’s stood for principle against ambition on the war, on torture, on Rumsfeld, and on immigration.
He didn’t start out the race as my preferred candidate and he’s never going to be my ideal president. He is, however, an honorable patriot who I trust to put the best interests of the country first. And he is, without any question, the most conservative person who can realistically take the oath of office next January 20.
Abe Greenwald contends that,
The rabid strain of anti-McCain sentiment among media conservatives is, in fact, a betrayal of one of the most important principles of conservatism itself: the willingness to work with the concrete facts of a situation. The great strength of a politically conservative mindset is that it’s predicated on seeing the world as it is.
I know some say that they’d rather “have the country ruined” by a real liberal than by a RINO. You know what that sounds like? Something you’d read on DailyKos.
Quite right. Indeed, quite a few commenters on even the more intellectual Democrat-leaning blogs are saying they will sit out the election if Hillary Clinton, rather than Saint Obama, gets the nomination.
My guess is that, once people get used to the idea that McCain and Clinton are the only real choices this cycle, people will settle down and make a sober choice. For conservative and liberal ideologues, certainly, it should be an easy one.
Neither Clinton nor McCain are likely to spark the intense enthusiasm that an Obama or a Reagan would engender. Some young people brought into the fold by excitement over Obama or Ron Paul will undoubtedly be demoralized and stay home; then again, that’s what they’d have been expected to do.
The rest of us will muddle on to the polling place and realize that we’re choosing a president, not a messiah. Which, really, isn’t such a bad thing.