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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Good First Step

A Good First Step

John McCain’s speech to CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) was a good first step in his effort to win back conservative support. Even though he "stacked" the CPAC audience with supporters, conservatives are now clearly willing to listen to what he has to say.

There’s no mistake about it, John McCain is no conservative. Just calling yourself a conservative or saying over and over that you were a "foot soldier for Ronald Reagan" doesn’t make you a conservative.

John’s leadership of the effort to expand the bureaucracy through McCain-Feingold clearly shows that he is not a legitimate heir of either Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan. The man does not understand how a free society works. 

His other liberal efforts including the McCain-Kennedy bill to grant amnesty to illegals, his brief flirtation with the idea of running with John Kerry, his repeated votes against tax cuts, and his "Gang of 14" blockage of getting good, constitutional judges approved does not indicate any form of a grounding in conservative principles.

Nevertheless, conservatives can see the wisdom of sticking with moderates under certain circumstances. They took a step backward and supported Nixon in 1968, they supported Ford in 1976, and they supported Bush (41) in 1988. Being patriots first, conservatives saw these candidates as being better than their opponentsand they were.

John McCain can have conservative support for his campaign, but he does not have it yet. There is time. He needs to reiterate his commitment to making the Bush tax cuts permanent, securing the border, appointing judges who will uphold the Constitution and other conservative initiatives.

But even more than this, John McCain must select a young, forthrightly conservative running mate if he wants conservative support. No off-again, on-again conservative will suffice. His running mate must be an articulate, firmly grounded, young conservative. Short of such a selection, the John McCain campaign is doomed to failure as have many other moderate Republican candidates.

John McCain’s selection of a running mate will be the moment of truth. Who he chooses will determine whether his campaign fails or succeeds. He holds his destiny in his hands.

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