A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

An insidious despair. . .

. . .has fallen over some conservatives since John McCain's Florida victory. Some, like Michael Graham, are utterly disconsolate, apparently buying into the notion that McCain is out to dee-stroy the Republican Party. They're just going to have to butch it up, frankly.

Flinging around silly epithets like "McLame" and "McVain" has not worked and only succeeds in making those who do it look smaller. Lashing out at him as a mean, egotistical, eye-gouger hasn't done anything to put any distance between him and his supporters. Threatening to withhold votes and support has done nothing to dissuade those of us who believe that John McCain is the right man for our times. If anything, it only serves to bolster the resolve among those of us who are prepared to do it without them if we must.

The anger and pettiness displayed by McCain's opponents has been a seething influence on the right for about three years, now. It's what drove the anti-illegal immigration movement, the Harriet Miers fight, and the Dubai Ports World outrage. The viciousness with which activists in each of these matters attacked anyone who dared to support the Bush administration was very telling to those who were on the receiving end of it. In each case, a clear message was sent: You are either with us, or you are no longer a conservative.

Message received. The response? John McCain.

While I have no data to point to as evidence, I have a feeling that much of McCain's support comes from people who are simply sick of being shouted at, derided, and essentially chased out of the conservative movement by ideological purists. Having been called a "Bushbot" and a RINO on more than one occasion over the past three years, I can attest that it does tend to cause one to wonder what might happen if he decided to simply go his own way.

I've been a loyal conservative and Republican my entire adult life. But, for the past three years, that loyalty has meant absolutely nothing. In fact, it has cost me dearly. It has made a patsy of me. After all these years of standing side-by-side with my fellow conservatives and pulling the correct lever on Election Day, I have demonstrated what George F. Will would call "supine acquiescence".

And what has my obedience bought me? Nothing but scorn. And, while I agree that McCain is going to have to do something to patch things up with a lot of conservatives -- particularly the establishment conservative media -- I hope he will do it in a way that doesn't make him (and by extension, me) look like a chump. My biggest hope for a John McCain presidency is that it will cause many movement conservatives to think twice before they unload on their fellow believers.

As John McCain supporters, we may very well be all the awful things that conservative activists and talk radio say we are. And they've said we are a lot of things, none of them desirable. But, there are a lot of us. And, if nothing else comes of McCain's campaign, we will have at least established that we're a force to be reckoned with. The redheaded stepchild has grown up.

free website counters