Ruffini is right on. . .
The part of the conservative base that is still angry at McCain is beyond persuasion in that regard. As far as they're concerned, he walked off the reservation ten years ago and wants to be let back on. To the extent that any of them are going to be convinced, it's going to have to be done by moving forward, not looking to a history that they believe is irrelevant.
Another point where Ruffini hits the target dead-on is McCain's political street fighting skills. The fact is, that's what has the anti-McCainiacs in such an uproar. His ability to reduce his opposition to apoplexy is legendary. When he gets to use those skills against Hillary and/or Obama, there's no doubt in my mind that he will relish it.
If I had McCain's ear, I would spend the rest of the time that the Democrats use up in trying to decide who's going to be thrown under the bus thrashing them in every possible way. On Hillary, he should relentlessly focus on the stink of corruption that her very candidacy emanates. One of the biggest issues that has set McCain at odds with his critics is also a strength that he holds against the Clinton Machine, and that is his crusade against the corrupting influence of money in politics. The loan which she recently made to her campaign, and where that money came from, is a ripe, succulent, juicy piece of fruit just begging to be harvested.
As for Obama, McCain should start ripping him to shreds on his absolute feeble-mindedness on foreign policy. McCain should also find ways to exploit the appeal he has with Hispanics, since Obama engenders virtually no enthusiasm among them. I'm not exactly sure how he should go about doing it, but there are a lot of people around him who ought to have no trouble figuring it out.
I've never quite understood the pessimism that so many conservatives have in going against either of these two candidates. They're both deeply flawed candidates. The fact that they're generating such turnout among their respective constituencies, I think, is more a reflection of the recognition that each side has of its opponent's vulnerabilities than it is a real zeal for the kind of government they envision coming from their own. And, I think it's fair to say that support for both Democratic candidates is very much personality-driven.
Eventually, both candidates are going to be forced to confront genuine issues, and the longer they have to contend with one another in attempting to appeal to a Democratic base that is far removed from the center of American politics, the more they will be forced to do and say that will set them at odds with the electorate. Every day on the campaign trail for Hillary and Obama brings with it the potential of a fat, hanging curveball for McCain to send sailing out of the park.
In the end, all the fretting that many conservatives are engaging in over McCain being a weak candidate to put up against either of these two is more a product of backward-looking bitterness than objective analysis. They're still citing the litany of transgressions that McCain has committed against them as if there might still be a large pocket of conservative voters who might not have heard about them.
Look. We know! We've heard about them. It's beginning to sound a whole lot like Al Gore's challenge to George W. Bush in the famous sighing debate, wherein he fired that brilliant shot at the soon-to-be president, "What about Dingle-Norwood?" It's time to move forward and talk about the transgressions that the other two candidates have committed against America.
We have an opportunity to keep the White House in Republican hands. He may not be your idea of the perfect Republican, but there's scant evidence to support the idea that such a perfect Republican exists. So, rather than sit around grumbling, caught in a vicious cycle of lament, alienation and resignation, how about shaking it off and taking a continuing education course on the threat posed by a left-liberal grip on the executive, legislative, and by extension, judiciary branches of government in these deceptively perilous times?
UPDATE: Altered some text to correct an error where Patrick Ruffini was mistakenly referred to as Hewitt.