Friday, January 18, 2008

Can John McCain appeal to conservatives?

John Armstrong has a very interesting post today on why he thinks conservative talk radio seems to have such hatred for John McCain. I don't know what they'll do if he becomes the nominee of the GOP, but I always wonder how much the radio personalities really reflect the views of conservatives around the country. Why is it assumed that he repels true political conservatives? Does John McCain have to rely on moderates and independents, or can he attract conservative voters on his own record? Or if he does become the nominee, will conservative voters simply stay home and not vote at all? (an attitude that I find impossible to understand . . .)


Dan Trabue said...

Have you read about the McCain ad that features the following quote from Huckabee?

Sen. McCain, no matter what anyone may say, is a genuine conservative. … John McCain is a hero in this country. He's a hero to me.

If you look at his record, he's got a solid record on things that really matter. He's pro-life, he's strong for our country's defense and security…. John McCain is a true, honest-to-God American hero.”

I have no real dog in this fight, but I think that's a good ad for McCain to be using - getting an endorsement from your opponent!

Dan Trabue said...

I suspect the more it looks like McCain will win, the more viscious/swiftboatian the attack ads will get.

Even though I think he's the GOP's best shot at retaining the White House (a long shot, by my estimation, unless the Dems nominate Clinton, at which case it may be a possibility, although I think the odds are still against them).

John said...

The Democrats are fools if they don't nominate Obama. He could be devastating in November.

Could McCain get conservatives? Yes. Not the National Review type conservatives, but the blue collar conservatives would be interested in McCain. I think that the conservative intelligensia doesn't understand that the philosophical issues that are important to them aren't that important to typical conservative voters.

larry said...


I just read about the ad you're refering to - genius!

I cannot fathom why conservative voters would reject McCain out of hand. Granted, others try to really portray themselves as the candidate of true conservatives, yet McCain just kind of goes about quietly doing his work, which nobody would ever describe as being liberal in the political sense.

I can understand being cautious in attaching yourself to a candidate for political expediency (learning from the mistake of Pat Robertson's endorsement of Guliani, which was odd enough at the time, and now looks incredibly foolish). At the same time, I don't think its smart for conservative leaders to put all their eggs in the baskets of Romney, Thompson and Huckabee when McCain is not just a viable candidate, but a viable conservative candidate. He may not be the most conservative, but that doesn't take away from his own generally conservative record.

larry said...


Good words - liked your distinction between types of conservatives.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I would love to see McCain get the nomination. I wouldn't vote for him, I am not a conservative and have no illusions that he is anything but conservative... but he strikes me as a rational conservative, someone I could disagree with strenuously yet be "comfortable" with, be able to trust. I don't feel that in any of the other candidates in the Republican race, and certainly not with what we've had these last seven years. It seems to me that, whether that's what they want or not, any other Republican candidate who winds up in office is going to continue the trend of the increasingly bitter partisan divide. Maybe I'm naive, but I feel that with McCain that would tone down, people might be more civil.

Andrew C. Thompson said...

After the primaries over the weekend, I think McCain has to be the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination.

Nevada (like Utah, Wyoming, and a couple of other rural Western states) is not a good representation of the national GOP. The large percentage of Mormons in those states will skew them toward Romney, as we saw this weekend. But the GOP overall doesn't seem to like Romney, and I don't think he'll fare well on Super Tuesday.

South Carolina was a better representation of what should happen with the GOP nomination. It was a state that should have been tailor-made for Huckabee, but his support from evangelicals couldn't put him over the top. Consider his campaign essentially over. If McCain can win there (which he could not do against Bush in 2000), then he should be able to win over all. (And by the way, Thompson and Giuliani have been done since New Hampshire; they just don't realize it yet).

As for the general election in November, expect Republicans to fall in line with their candidate as they usually do. Interestingly, the conservatives who don't like McCain tend to base their dislike in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation as much as anything else. But it won't stop them from voting for him. If the Democrats' nominee is Hillary, he's got a chance. If it's Obama, we'll have a historic, first-time presidency.

Earl said...

By no stretch of the imagination is McCain a conservative. McCain is a moderate. As was demonstrated in the last two presidential election cycles, conservatives will not sit on their hands and fail to vote simply because there is no strong conservative candidate on the ballot. If no other viable choice is available conservatives will vote for McCain. If Mrs. Clinton gains the DMC nomination, conservatives will vote for McCain simply to vote against her. If Obama is nominated conservatives will vote for McCain as the lesser of two evils.

jeff said...

My problem with McCain is not his moderate views, but his lack of convictions. I think he is the ultimate at seeking attention as opposed to standing for principles.