Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pret-a-Porter, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Support McCain

The standard objections still apply. The presumptive GOP nominee is full of balloon juice on a number of issues and ran a campaign that used a fair measure of mendacity to achieve its aims. I would strongly prefer a standard-bearer who has a better grasp of economic issues, who has a thicker skin, who is less likely to reach for the cudgel of government sanction at the slightest provocation. I would definitely prefer someone who valued the First Amendment more. Most of all, I would have preferred a system that would not let the citizens of states that will not support the Republicans in the fall select the Republican candidate. It's telling that a large number of Senator McCain's victories have been in "blue" states.

Still, you play by the rules as they are established. And it's always important to remember that, in this country, we buy candidates off the rack. It's well-nigh impossible to find a candidate who is precisely tailored to your views on all issues. Not one of the candidates on offer this year fit my views as well as I might have liked. But in the words of the retail industry, it's all ready-to-wear.

Since I can't buy a Romney suit this year, or a Fred Thompson polo shirt, I have to choose from what's available. And the choices that are left are either McCain, Clinton or Obama. Do I want to take a chance on Barack Obama, a guy whose campaign is filled with vague nostrums, a content-free mantra of change (to what, precisely?) and an increasingly bizarre cult of personality? Do I want to return of the Clintons, with their venality and their bad faith? Or do I support McCain, with his prickly personality but also a genuine commitment to many things I hold dear? And who is more likely to listen to my concerns?

No matter who wins in the fall, the country will survive. I know many people of intelligence and good faith who will support choices that I cannot support. I understand and share the anger and frustration that many of my friends and colleagues feel over the way the campaign has developed. Still, even when the choices aren't what you might want, the choice still remains to be made. If McCain is the best available choice, and there is no question that he is, that's who I choose.


Right Hook said...

A vote counts the same whether or not it is made with enthusiasm. For the reasons you cite I will be voting for McCain but with a decided lack of enthusiasm.

With McCain our liberties and pocketbooks take a slap in the face, while with Obama or Clinton the assault is more akin to a club to the head or a knife in the back.

The slap to the face is demeaning and may sting for a while but is much less likely to cause serious or long term injury as the others.

Yes, the country is strong enough to withstand any of these assualts on our ideals and liberties but it is still in our best interests to vote to minimize the pain and recuperation time.

Like Rodney Dangerfield used to say, if you want to look thin hang around with fat people. McCain looks reasonably svelte relative to the gross political obesity of Clinton and Obama.

Strolling Amok said...

I expect most of the McCain's Republican detractors will fall in line now - although not without a considerable gnashing of teeth. I know I'll do the same if Hillary gets the nomination instead of my man Barack. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome of course - like a lot of Dems I found McCain to be the least objectionable of the Republican candidates. Good luck and congrats on beating us on picking the first nominee.

Gino said...

mac cain got the nomination largely due to non-republicans voting for him.
even FL, the first closed primary, he won on the strenth of independents. in FL, an independent is allowed to register for either party at the polls in order to vote a partisan ballot. this detail was lost in the media.

Anonymous said...

Gino appears to be drinking the Kool-Aid again. If so many non-Goopers and Independents are jumping in to the GOP race to vote for McCain, how do you explain the incredibly abysmal Republican voter turnout across the country? Especially in a year when there is so much interest in the Democratic race?
McCain won because 1) the sitting GOP President is an embarrassing dolt who destroyed the Republican coalition, 2) the other GOP candidates were insipid, uninspiring, counterfeit or all of the above, and 3) The party Mandarins waited too long to settle on Romney (you can thank Guiliani and Thompson for that), and by then, their Frankenhuckabee monster had escaped to the countryside rounded up the dobsonite mob, and was leading them back to the catle. Bottom line: If there was no Huckabee, Willard would be King for a day.

Anonymous said...

All along, I've thought that the master strategy including having the media embrace Mc Cain during the primaries, only to skewer him after the democratic nominee is decided.

The entire primary system is flawed. This protracted process where Iowa gets too much importance and everyone else (states who have yet to vote are somewhat irrelevant on the republican side; do you think any republicans in these states may vote for whomever they feel is the most unelectable democrat?)

The Clinton Obama cage match will continue. Look for Hillary to rely on her thugs to do the dirty work, and Obama will have to take the gloves off as well. There quite frankly aren't enough ga ga eyed idealistic college students and others underneath his umbrella to get him the nomination with his message of undefined change.

In the end, I still feel Michael Bloomberg is the greatest variable of all. If he runs, it's anybody's bet who wins...

Gino said...

Rich: i drink no kool-aid. i'm not even GOP.
i was stating facts born out by the exit polling. those who self-decribed as conservatives, did not pull the mc cain lever. moderates and independents did.

and your right: W did kill the GOP.
and party brahmins were the ones who set up romney with all the money and the early leads. he was the establishment choice, like W was in 2000.
self-described conservatives, the real right-wing, didnt have a true candidate to coalesce around, and branched off into tribalism.
the J-wingers went to huck.
libertarians to paul.
free-traders to romney.
jack booters to rudy.

no one candidate had a full conservative record in the reagan tradition, cept for duncan hunter, who went largely ignored. he didnt have the charisma to pull it off.