I wanted to share a message I received from a Republican staffer on the Hill–where they know John McCain best. Many GOP staffers will not support John McCain, but they share the principles I expressed yesterday in my Quo Vadis column:
John McCain is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. That is unfortunate, and I am sad to say that I cannot support him – as is the case with many people I know – for many of the reasons explored repeatedly on NRO and other places. As a Hill staffer, those of you who share my view and I know what is at stake – at least as much as anyone… from the confirmation of judges to the War on Terror and beyond. But, as a Hill staffer, many of us find him to be a petty, often vindictive man who treats people – from Senators to junior female staffers – disrespectfully and, frankly, without the manners appropriate for a Senator, much less a President.
His votes and stances are a matter of record and have been fully explored in many places. But we, as Hill staffers, have seen his personal vitriol up close and personally. Whether it has been personal confrontations with Senators or his cussing out of and demeaning comments toward staffers – whether it was his arrogance and dismissal of concerned conservatives displayed during the “Gang of 14” or his or his staff’s constant, repeated – often vindictive and very personal – undermining of conservative principles in the immigration debate – John McCain has proven time and time again that his worthiness to lead our Party, much less our nation, is more than questionable.
I believe it matters who you choose to follow. The “lesser-of-two-evils” argument is always compelling, but I simply have come to the conclusion that John McCain, for all his patriotism, is not the kind of man I want to follow and that I want to represent me, my country and my Party.
That said, the next 9 months will be an important time for conservatism. Whether you are a conservative, like me, who chooses not to vote for Senator McCain, whether you are a conservative who chooses to hold your nose and vote for him, or whether you are fully behind him, it is important to remember two things… 1) it is absolutely reasonable to support him in the face of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton – potentially the most liberal individuals ever to run for the American Presidency – individuals who will undermine our military, choose activist judges, expand the size of government, raise taxes, show contempt for the unborn and the institution of marriage and otherwise disregard fundamental American values; and 2) you must show up to vote for conservative Senators and Congressmen regardless of your disaffection for Senator McCain or your frustration (shared by many of us) with the current Senate and House Republican leadership.
Regardless of who wins the Presidency this November, the best hope conservatives have to affect public policy in a positive direction is to get highly motivated to gain conservative seats in the Senate and the House, not to sit around moping about the likely nomination of John McCain. We must stay positive and focused…