Wednesday, January 30, 2008

McCain's Got Baggage, But He Lugs It Himself

Don Surber's got a can't-beat analysis of John McCain, with suggestions for conservatives who oppose him:

Conservatives need to use this as a learning opportunity.

With his decisive win in Florida, following his decisive win in South Carolina, following his decisive win in New Hampshire, perhaps the candidate many of us did not want is about to become the Republican nominee.

Congratulations, John McCain.

The baggage we know well. From the Keating Five scandal to campaign finance deform to immigration amnesty, McCain has a lot of baggage. But he also carries his own luggage, does he not?

There is a lot to be said for humility and he’s been knocked down a few times. I see he has regained his legs each time.

Many conservatives no doubt will freak.

I decided last summer to leave the decision up to the Republican Party, and then back the candidate.

My wise counsel in this is the philosopher who pens under the pseudonym Basil.

Bush was not his first choice in 2000. Dole was not his choice in 1996. Reagan was not his first choice in 1980.

I can do him one better: I voted for Carter. Maybe I should wear a T-shirt: “What do I know? I voted for Carter.”

Basil advises people keep their options open: “So, now that Fred’s out, it looks like I’m going to end up voting for someone who wasn’t my first choice.”

Makes sense.

That’s how the game is played. You try your best, you lose, you shake the winner’s hand, and you play again.

You do not take your ball and go home.

That’s for sure.

You do so for your own sanity.

Look at Al Gore. Rather than gracefully accept a close defeat in 2000 and come back later, he got all angry and sued. Look at him now. He has all these awards but he knows he’s a fraud. He knows global warming is a myth. If he really believed that crap, he would not burn up 20 times the electricity of mortal men.

But hey, what do I know? I voted for Carter.

America does not govern from its extremes. Compromise. At 54, I realize it is not how good you are, it is how well you work with others, as my kindergarten report card read. “Needs work” was the grade, if I recall correctly.

Conservatives need to ask ourselves: Why have we not produced a viable candidate? Are we too picky? Has time passed this version of conservatism?

History may provide some guidance. In 1932, FDR was all the rage. But 28 years later, JFK did not run as an FDR Democrat. He said it was time for a new generation.

It has been 28 years since Reagan was nominated.

What he stood for as president included being pro-life, pro-gun, limit the government, cut taxes, cut spending, help the truly needed, and stand up to communism. At various times in his life, Ronald Reagan stood at the opposite ends of some of those positions. As governor of California, he signed into law the legalization of abortion.

But he learned. And by age 70, Ronald Reagan was finally a Reagan Republican.

Now about Mitt Romney, he made a good CEO but in politics the rules are different. What I like about political fund-raising is that it forces politicians to interact among successful people. Hopefully, some of their success rubs off. Self-financing does not do that.

Of more importance is that McCain has been vetted by the electorates of 3 states and he has proved his mettle.

He has baggage, true, but he has proved himself able to carry his own baggage.

You win some, you lose some. You keep playing the game.

Now is a time of wound licking and soul searching for most Republicans. McCain did not win a majority of the vote. He is not the first choice for most among Republicans. But neither was Lincoln.
Jules Crittenden's got a roundup of additional conservative commentary on McCain's win:

Jawa: McRudy

Not if you want the social cons.

McCain, clear choice of conservatives?

Ace, channeling Hewitt:
Frontrunner <>.

Who the heck was voting, anyway?

Immigration is the fool’s gold of American politics. We’ll know who the best GOP standard bearer is in a week.
My morning analysis is here.