The Corner

Re: Cheap Dates

Andy, I’m not sure “apologist” is quite the right term here. In the article to which you allude, I acknowledged McCain’s flaws, at length, weighed them against his virtues and those of his rivals, judged him the best choice, and encouraged conservatives to pull him closer to their camp on some issues. For a contrasting approach to a candidate, see this article, with which you may be familiar. The author gets quite purple about his favored candidate’s “unique combination of vision, guts, and perseverance,” devotes exactly one sentence to his flaws–and that sentence put at one remove, as though the author himself can’t acknowledge that flaws might exist–and does not suggest that conservatives should try to move said candidate rightward.

You “wondered” why I didn’t mention Wisconsin v. Right to Life. Simple: I hadn’t been following it. (I wonder whether you’re trying to insinuate something with your “wondered.”) The points you raise about it seem like real strikes against McCain (although they have to be balanced against the support for McCain-Feingold of Romney, Giuliani, and Fred Thompson). I’ve never been averse to raising concerns about McCain before my article, during it, or since. I do wish some other conservative writers would try the same approach about their favored candidates.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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