Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dark Moment of American Conservatism?

I took a lot of heat this winter and spring in my unfllinching support for John McCain, as many readers may recall.

It's hard to forget how bitter were the attacks against those supporting McCain, or against those backing Mike Huckabee - with some of the most intense attacks levied by the right-wing partisans at the National Review (
which had endorsed Mitt Romney).

I'm thus once again feeling on the "right" side of things - being faithful to my convictions, in my earlier blogging - after reading
this piece by Adam Graham on his second thoughts about joining the "relentless assaults" against Mike Huckabee's primary bid:

National Review is set this Friday to release the names of four people it views as unacceptable Vice-Presidential Candidates: Tom Ridge, Charlie Crist, Joe Lieberman, and Mike Huckabee, and frankly I could care less.

In December, I listened to and joined in the DC echo-chamber that slammed Mike Huckabee mercilessly. I fed on the constant negative drumbeat of National Review and their relentless assaults on Arkansas’ former Governor. I bought into it, I regurgitated it.

I never bothered to look into the facts, particularly in regards to the charges against Mike Huckabee’s fiscal record. If I had, I would have found out that he had two court rulings come out against his state that forced increases in Medicaid and Education, and that on top of that he faced a legislature that was at least 70% Democrat every year he was in office and could override his veto by a simple majority. I wonder which Huckabee critic could have done more for conservative values than Huckabee under those circumstances.

If this past election cycle taught us nothing, it taught us that bias exists in the conservative media. The one-sided attacks on Mike Huckabee last December were not only unfair, they allowed the rise of John McCain to the Republican nomination, as the National Review-anointed leader of the Conservative movement surrendered on February 7th after having won only one competitive primary.

Conservative defeat is the legacy of National Review in the 2008 campaign. Why bother listening to them? Last week, I did a podcast in which I began to talk about some of the activities of John McCain, the nominee that obsessive huckacritics pushed over the top by becoming the echo chamber of groups like National Review and the Club for Growth and I wept for what I helped to bring about.

I feel as Heritage Foundation Founder Paul Weyrich did when he rose to speak to the National Policy Council to confess, “Friends, before all of you and before Almighty God, I want to say I was wrong”....

Beyond this dark moment in the history of American Conservatism, I see glimmers of hope ... There is hope for our country. It just won’t be found in places you’d expect like the offices of National Review.
I just don't pay that much attention to National Review, although actually some of the recent writing over there's gotten better, with Andrew McCarthy and Peter Weiner, for example.

But this is the first I've heard about National Review's warning on the un-Fantastic Four noted above. I don't know enough about Crist to say either way, but I think Ridge is a no-name, and Lieberman is simply a pro-war Democrat who would not be accepted by rank-and-file Republicans as McCain's running-mate.

With Huckabee, however, I personally thought he might consolidate a lot of evangelicals around McCain in the general, if he were to wind-up on the ticket (I also noted,
at the time, however, that Huckabee needed to drop out of the race, rather than delay McCain's victory lap).

I generally don't prognosticate on the veepstakes - as long as McCain selects someone young and experienced, I'll be happy.