Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Maverick McCain

Why isn’t John McCain doing better in the Republican primary race? I predicted earlier this year that McCain would be the GOP nominee in 2008. He has the most experience; solid name recognition; he’s the closest thing to a Reaganite conservative in the race; he is firmly in the “pro-life” camp on abortion; he is an ardent defender and apologist for the War in Iraq; etc, etc.
So how is it that he now finds himself lagging behind the liberal former Mayor of New York and the used-to-be-liberal former Governor of Massachussetts?
Is it because of his reality-based position on the immigration issue? I thought it was quite admirable that he stood up to the bullying of the other GOP candidates to defend the compromise legislation now in Congress. None of the other candidates have a realistic approach to the issue. All they can do is mouth idealistic pieties and pretend like this would somehow make the whole problem go away.
I suppose the immigration issue is the best indication as to why McCain is not doing well. His willingness to break away from the lock-step formation of the party faithful on issues such as immigration, gun control, campaign finance reform and the environment has given him the “Maverick” label which is would be an advantage in a national campaign, but is actually a disadvantage in a primary race.
But is this really enough to overshadow McCain’s solid conservative positions on other issues? According to his Wikipedia entry, McCain has “a strong pro-life voting record, a strong free trade voting record (including a 100% rating from the Cato Institute), wanting private social security accounts, being against socialized health care, supporting school vouchers, supporting the death penalty, supporting mandatory sentencing, and supporting welfare reform.”
All in all, a miserable record by my standpoint, but apparently not pure enough to suit the party faithful. So how is it that they would instead turn to a guy who is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control, etc. etc. as the alternative?
I’m flummoxed. I just don’t understand these people.

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