John McCain: Conservative enough to protect the naton

Many of Senator McCain's positions have upset conservatives. His views of global warming are clearly on the wrong side for us. His campaign finance legislation infringed on what many of us considered to be First Amendment rights. His lack of a full appreciation of the problems of accepting a path toward legitimacy of illegal immigrants already here before fully securing the borders enraged many on the right.

A lot of this tension is really a hang-over from George W. Bush, whom conservatives supported and often felt betrayed by. It is a fatal mistake to read the disapproval ratings of President Bush as a vindication of the policies of the Left, after all Congress now scores only a 22% approval rate under the new leadership. We on the right have idolized Ronald Reagan, whom many have pointed out had his own set of compromises and accomodations. We should measure our Presidents and leaders be the fights that they choose to wage and they results they achieve, that's how history records things.

So is John McCain conservative enough? His American Conservative Union Rating is 83. Fred Thompson who was accepted by the conservatives in the party only had an 86. Henry Hyde who was a hero of the right for many years only had an 84. [Note: Hillary Clinton has a9 rating by the ACU].

What are we asking this man to do as President? Up and away the most important duty of the President because it is his alone is to protect the nation and deal with foreign countries who often do not have our national interests at heart. The principal risk in a change of leadership is that foreign foes will test the new guy and miscalculate. I do not subscribe to the view that carrying a rifle around in uniform or flying a jet fighter qualifies you to make decisions well out of your pay grade. But the best test of character is often reaction to extreme situations. We know that Senator McCain has stamina and personal courage. We saw it in his early support for the surge and his refusal to waiver on Iraq, despite the poplar pressure at the time that appeared to make this issue one that would cost him the nomination.

There is no question at all that John McCain is the best choice for Commander and Chief. Simply there is no doubt that this role of the President is the principal function of the office. No one else can do it. Not Congress, not the courts.

Will President McCain support immigration reform without securing the borders? He now says no. His answer has to be at least as convincing as Mitt Romney's sudden conversion to social conservatism.

Will President McCain support some lame brain climate change proposal? Will this support mean anything critical? Not likely on both counts. If the GOP has a platform that covers global warming (which is not caused by human activities), then he will run on it. If he runs on it, will this guy flip?
That seems completely improbable. By the way, it is quite possible to support a carbon tax and still be a global warming skeptic (as I am). The United States' long-term security and economic future depends on finding solutions that do not depend on oil. Our competitors are heavily subsidizing renewable energy and alternative power in major ways. It will be a tragedy to our country if we do not emerge as the leader in alternative energy in the 21st century. There is plainly room for debate on the issue, even if you think Kyoto is a scam.

Will President McCain stand up to federal spending and borrowing money to buy votes (which is what the Democratic agenda is all about)? You bet. We could not ask for a stronger leader in this regard.

This isn't the full agenda for conservatives, but it does cover the points that have been contentious as well as the overriding concern of our security in an unsafe world. There are reasons why very conservative Senators and leaders in the GOP support Senator McCain. One of them is that hundreds of other conservatives will be on the ballot in November. Another 2006 result would push conservatives to the fringe of politics for years to come. A McCain win by the same margin or larger than Bush in 2004 will elect a lot of good people. Right now, Senator McCain leads Hillary Clinton by 8 points among likely voters. Among likely voters he beats Obama decisively as well. The electoral college map looks even better for his candidacy. Can conservatives afford not to win or be competitive in 2008?

Politics is the art of what is possible. You take what can be achieved today and plan to achieve more tomorrow. This election cycle has looked bleak and gloomy for Republicans for months. We have an opportunity to win it and elect conservatives throughout the country. To make up for some or all of the losses in 2006. There is no real GOP alternative a this point, as Romney looks at getting a small minority of the delegates up on Super Tuesday. He also gets devastated in a general election head-to-head against the Clintons or Obama. Only a fool would seize defeat out of the jaws of victory.

Conservatives should shift to the platform and to the steps needed to elect Republicans in 2008. This election could well be a watershed in the modern history of conservatism in America. We can go home with George Bush or continue to work to make government better, smaller and more effective. To think that sitting out would be acting on "principles" is a selfish and erroneous premise. We are the base of the party and we can help elect conservatives in 2008. Let's stop the complaining and get to work.


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