The EFM Feature

Nancy, I’ll take up the challenge of defending the Governor’s McCain endorsement, and I don’t even think it’s that hard. To be clear, I say this as someone whose “cringe list” puts McCain at a clear number two (again, behind the unquestioned champ: Mike Huckabee). As a First Amendment lawyer, I found McCain’s campaign finance reform plan abhorrent. As a religious conservative, I’m disappointed that he seems to hate people like me. As a guy who thinks that any sane country controls its borders, I find his reluctance to implement rational border security measures to be puzzling. But, and here’s the big “but:” He’s no RINO.
The definition of “RINO” is not “any politician who deviates in any material respect from conservative principles.” A RINO is someone who deviates in virtually every material respect. In fact, when it comes to national security, most social issues, most economic issues, judges, and many other areas, McCain is one of us. I’m not sure that our goal as a conservative community is to simply support the most conservative candidate in any given primary. There’s a lot more to effective leadership than ideology, and such a mindset encourages the rather unpleasant ideological puritans in our midst.
In 2008, I had trouble voting for John McCain because I thought he treated Mitt Romney abysmally, because I disagreed with him on multiple points, and because — frankly — I didn’t realize that Barack Obama’s domestic policies would be so very far left (silly me). But he picked Sarah Palin, and he’s pro-life, and he takes seriously the jihadist threat, so I voted for him. As for J.D. Hayworth, I’ve heard good things about him, and I think he’d make a good senator — perhaps better than John McCain — but good, cohesive political movements depend not only on ideology but also on a bit of loyalty and honor as well. On balance, John McCain has been a good Republican, good enough to earn the party’s nomination for president.
John McCain is no Dede Scozzafava, and he’s arguably more conservative than Scott Brown (who everyone loves), so let’s swallow a bit of our ideological pride, forget the wrongs of the past, show as much class as Governor Romney, and not be foolish enough to let the (allegedly) perfect be the enemy of the good.


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