Despite my general agreement with Richard Spencer’s invariably provocative political commentaries, I definitely do not share his view that McCain is “set to go down hard” in November, no matter which Democratic contender runs against him. Now that we’ve seen how easily that group Fred Barnes calls the “talk show mafia” is climbing back on board the GOP train, it should be obvious how closely joined at the hip these “conservative” critics are to the Republican Party and its bosses. As for CPAC, why should one expect any greater show of independence from this collection of neocon employees and Republican drum-thumpers? It has been years since such self-identified conservatives showed any kind of mettle, and that occurred when a numerically insignificant minority walked out of the movement at the time the neocons and Republican hacks took it over. Let’s face it. These clowns have nowhere to go but to stay with the GOP, even if McCain chooses to have Joe Lieberman, who is the clear neocon favorite, as his running mate.
As my friend Wes McDonald and I figured out, it would be wise for McCain to go with a vice-presidential candidate recruited from the left, since “movement conservatives” would likely vote for him, no matter whom he chooses for a Veep. Lieberman, moreover, could bring McCain the support of Jewish liberals in the media as well as in finance, and particularly if the McCain-Lieberman ticket is opposed on the Democratic side by Obama, who is considered sweet on the Palestinians. Although I would prefer voting for the ghost of Leon Trotsky before I would cast my ballot for this dream team, what I am analyzing is how McCain could win most easily. It is certainly not by putting Ron Paul or some other principled strict constitutionalist on to his ticket. To quote Wes, it is not “change that Obama’s fans really want but more social programs. The only one offering change is Ron Paul, and since most people don’t care about constitutional liberty, they’re not likely to take what he’s offering.” While McCain or McCain-Lieberman would not explicitly be offering socialism, they would nonetheless be moving the political conversation in the US toward the left. And they would also be attracting to their camp leftists and self-declared independents who are alienated from either Obama or Hillary. And the “movement” would do exactly what John Zmirak has noticed it’s being doing since the 1990s, focusing attention on the horrors of Hillary and Bill, even if Obama becomes the candidate. Instead of dwelling on the failings of its own candidates, “conservatives” would dutifully bring up the two Godzilla monsters, Bill and Hillary, and then beat up on the Democrats for not being sufficiently serious about combating “Islamofascism.”
I’ve no idea why the proposed dream team shouldn’t be able to win since McCain would have at least a slight advantage over his Democratic opponent, and what is likely to be a split Democratic Party, going into the general race. And even if current polls indicate that the Democrats are less unpopular than the Republicans, there are two additional factors that must be considered. By late summer this apparent advantage might have dwindled to nothing, and in the polls determining presidential preferences, McCain presently enjoys a three to four point lead over Hillary and stands neck to neck with Obama. One can imagine how well Mac would do if he could reach farther to the left, something the Republican candidate should be able to do without sweat, considering the toothless opposition to him in the “conservative movement.”
This Republican-controlled, neocon-dependent movement would not likely stand behind Ron Paul, even if Paul stopped opposing the War in Iraq. His domestic politics may sit even worse than his anti-war stand with the powers that be, inasmuch as the Republicans like the Democrats are the party of big government and patronage. Contrary to what McCain has been feeding us, the problem is not simply the earmarks attached to congressional bills. It is an extra-constitutional public administration, with largely undefined power and only technically tied to the US Congress, which needs to be reined in and de-funded. When and if McCain laid out a plan to dump the evil, parasitic Department of Education, I might start looking at him more seriously as a presidential candidate. Of course not even the real Ronald Reagan, as opposed to the man of myth, got rid of federal boondoggles or did any better than McCain or W in addressing the problem of illegal immigration. (It was Reagan who signed the Immigration and Control Act of 1986, a piece of legislation that had the same effects on illegal immigration as the bill associated with W, McCain, and Teddy Kennedy would likely have had.)
The American people, however, want more of the same, that is, a government that becomes more of what it has been in recent decades, a nanny state that provides social services, controls their education, and helps them to spend their income. McCain, and even better McCain-Lieberman, would not be seen as an obstacle toward pursuing this course. They would be headed in the same direction but a bit more slowly than the Democrats and with greater allocations of resources to a neoconservative foreign policy. Although not my cup of tea (or that of most frequenters of this website), I do not think that McCain would be an unsuitable entry in a contest for such an electorate. The only thing that might stop this dream team is an effective challenge from the right. And that could only happen if Ron Paul picks up enough support to play the spoiler in November. I for one would be delighted to see Congressman Paul take up such a challenge. And as a man of the Right I would prefer having the most disruptive Democrat win in November to the prospect of a McCain victory and of a more gradual descent into perdition. Let’s bring on the crisis of the regime as soon as we can! But in responding to the question of whether McCain is a competitive opponent running in his party of hacks and hangers-on and in a consumerist, disintegrating society, my answer would be “yes.” Let’s not confuse our druthers for a dispassionate look at the current political situation.