Monday, February 4, 2008

Neoconservatives for McCain

I've been leading the neoconservative charge for John McCain over here for the last few weeks. With the exception of Victor David Hanson, and some over at the Weekly Standard, few genuine neocons have jumped into the arena to defend the Arizona Senator from the far-right wing's intemperate attacks.

But over at
this morning's New York Times, Willam Kristol - arch-neoconservative and scourge of the antiwar left - has laid down a warning to the Malkin-tents and Rush-bots on the ideological margins: get on board the Straight Talk Express or risk irrelevancy:

This is an important moment for the conservative movement. Not because conservatives have some sort of obligation to fall in behind John McCain. They don’t. Those conservatives who can’t abide McCain are free to rally around Mitt Romney. And if McCain does prevail for the nomination, conservatives are free to sit out the election.

But I’d say this to them: When the primaries are over, if McCain has won the day, don’t sulk and don’t sit it out. Don’t pretend there’s no difference between a candidate who’s committed to winning in Iraq and a Democratic nominee who embraces defeat. Don’t tell us that it doesn’t matter if the next president voted to confirm John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court, or opposed them. Don’t close your eyes to the difference between pro-life and pro-choice, or between resistance to big government and the embrace of it.

And don’t treat 2008 as a throwaway election. If a Democrat wins the presidency, he or she will almost certainly have a Democratic Congress to work with. That Congress will not impede a course of dishonorable retreat abroad. It won’t balk at liberal Supreme Court nominees at home. It won’t save the economy from tax hikes.

If, by contrast, McCain wins the presidency — and all the polls suggest he’d be the best G.O.P. bet to do so — he’ll be able to shape a strong American foreign policy, nominate sound justices and fight for parts of the conservative domestic agenda.

One might add a special reason that conservatives — and the nation — owe John McCain at least a respectful hearing. Only a year ago, we were headed toward defeat in Iraq. Without McCain’s public advocacy and private lobbying, President Bush might not have reversed strategy and announced the surge of troops in January 2007. Without McCain’s vigorous leadership, support for the surge in Congress would not have been sustained in the first few months of 2007. So: No McCain, no surge. No surge, failure in Iraq, a terrible setback for America — and, as it happens, no chance for a G.O.P. victory in 2008.

Some conservatives can close their eyes to all this. They can choose to stand aside from history while having a temper tantrum. But they should consider that the American people might then choose not to invite them back into a position of responsibility for quite a while to come.
Others speaking up this morning include Dr. Sanity and Neo-neocon.

But see also
Wordsmith's awesome post on McCain and defense of free speech

Here's a few other entries in the rising pro-McCain chorus (neocon and near-neocon, the lot of 'em):
The Anchoress, Sister Toldjah, and My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

I'll have updates, as more conservatives of all stripes get on board the Straight Talk.

But, check my earlier entry, "
What Conservative Crackup?"

Don't forget the required reading on McCain Derangement Syndrome,
here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Hat tip: Memeorandum.