Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Elliot Ganchrow writes:

Tonight's victories by Senator John McCain erases any possible doubts that he will be the Republican presidential nominee in the fall. The question that conservative Republicans like myself have to answer is whether McCain is a candidate that they can support. Afterall, as has been pointed out by the media over the last few months, there are very few issues on which conservatives and McCain agree. Whether its tax cuts, campaign finance, education, immigration, drilling in Alaska or his membership in the Gang of 14 or his brief contemplation of joining John Kerry as his VP choice, a less ideal candidate would be impossible to find. The question therefore is whether it is better to support McCain or hope that one of the Democrats is victorious, with an expectation that its easier to fight a liberal Democrat than a liberal Democrat who will claim he is bipartisan. There have been two main arguments that I have seen presented as to why conservatives should support McCain despite his many flaws:

1. The first argument is that the next President will have the opportunity to choose at least two (and maybe more) nominees to the Supreme Court. The argument goes that it would be better to have McCain choose the next Supreme Court justices rather than a President Obama or Clinton. This is hardly an overwhelming argument. I wouldn't trust McCain to pick a conservative. Further, it is hardly true that any pick by McCain would necessarily be better than a pick by the Democratic alternatives. The three worst justices on current Supreme Court (Stevens, Souter and Kennedy) were all picked by Republican Presidents. There is no telling who McCain might pick and his status as a Republican would make it harder for conservatives to stop his nominee. I wouldn't vote for McCain on the basis of this issue.

2. The second argument is more compelling and was put forward by Mitt Romney as he dropped out of the race. He said, in essence, that a victory by Clinton or Obama would be tantamount to a surrender with respect to the War in Iraq and the War on Terror. Those who believe that these are important fights cannot allow defeatists like Obama or Clinton come to power. There are few politicians who can talk as persuasively and effectively on these issues (especially on Iraq) than McCain. Ultimately, it will be this issue that brings the party together in support of McCain in the general election.