From another reader:
I’ve sent you many emails over the years all (I think) positive…what can I say, I’m a G-phile.
However your USA Today article linked by Ross D is…misguided.
Not once do you even elude to the fact that the animus between conservatives/evangelicals and McCain began *at least* 8 years ago when he was slagging conservatives and evangelicals for the benefit of the MSM in his first Straight Talk Express in 2000? Just like now he’s the MSMs GOP candidate and he got there by sticking his finger in the eye of conservatives.
If we are more vocal about it in the past month, it’s because he wasn’t on the road to being our nominee until then! Even though Susan Collins is worse, we don’t bitch much about her, because she doesn’t affect much.
Your misplaced anger column is clever, but it’s too clever by half. The answer is much simpler. Bush takes us for granted. He wants us in the party, but he wants to add moderates and independents as well. McCain doesn’t like us and wants to *replace* us with moderates and independents…but he’s still counting on our votes to give him the Presidency…how funny is that?
And before you quote the 82 ACU rating is nice, note that it’s only about 74 in the last 10 years, Chuck Hagel territory. If Chuck Hagel were our candidate, don’t you think that conservatives would be similarly up in arms?
Me: Who am I to argue with a long time fan? I know: I’m me.
First, I agree with the reader that there are good reasons to disagree with McCain from right. Heck, I even said as much:
There are lots of reasons, some good, some bad, for conservatives’ angry dyspepsia toward McCain. I have bouts of it myself. From campaign-finance reform, to his proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants to his general tendency to burnish his own maverick street rep by triangulating off conservatives, McCain just seems to relish breaking ranks too much.
Second, I think the implied formulation that all real conservatives don’t like McCain is becoming increasingly unsustainable (which may be why some folks are yelling this claim louder and louder). There are plenty of real conservatives who like the guy just fine. There are others who are willing to settle for him (Recall that the Huckabee vote would have broke in McCain’s — not Romney’s — favor had Huckabee exited the race before Super Tuesday). And there are others who cannot bring themselves to vote for the guy. I think all three positions can be defended rationally and reasonably.
Last, it doesn’t seem that there’s anything actually in this email that refutes my argument. Personally, my biggest gripes with McCain stem from his continuities with Bush, not his differences (save for wanting to see Iraq through – where I think both are right) and I know I’m hardly alone.