The fact that he almost has the nomination in hand would seem to indicate that the CPAC crowd is not only irrelevant in the nation as a whole but even within the Republican Party. If McCain panders too much it will damage his chances in November. You can bet that anything he says at CPAC will be part of a Democratic commercial in the general election. So what should McCain say? My recommendation would be: "What you see it what you get and if you would rather have a Democrat in the White House then continue to attack me."Well he didn't listen - text at RedState. The CPAC wingnuts have been ranting about how John McCain is just not crazy enough to be a real conservative. Well Sir John not only pandered to the crazies at CPAC he did everything he could to convince them he was just as bat shit crazy as they are. All this after Romney quit the race. Here are some snips that will come back to haunt him in the general election:
They will offer a big government solution to health care insurance coverage.And some words that can go along with that "bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" video.
I intend to address the problem with free market solutions and with respect for the freedom of individuals to make important choices for themselves.
They will appoint to the federal bench judges who are intent on achieving political changes that the American people cannot be convinced to accept through the election of their representatives.
I intend to nominate judges who have proven themselves worthy of our trust that they take as their sole responsibility the enforcement of laws made by the people's elected representatives, judges of the character and quality of Justices Roberts and Alito, judges who can be relied upon to respect the values of the people whose rights, laws and property they are sworn to defend.
Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will withdraw our forces from Iraq based on an arbitrary timetable designed for the sake of political expediency, and which recklessly ignores the profound human calamity and dire threats to our security that would ensue.
I intend to win the war, and trust in the proven judgment of our commanders there and the courage and selflessness of the Americans they have the honor to command. I share the grief over the terrible losses we have suffered in its prosecution. There is no other candidate for this office who appreciates more than I do just how awful war is. But I know that the costs in lives and treasure we would incur should we fail in Iraq will be far greater than the heartbreaking losses we have suffered to date. And I will not allow that to happen.
They won't recognize and seriously address the threat posed by an Iran with nuclear ambitions to our ally, Israel, and the region.Over at The Moderate Voice Paul Silver sums it up:
I intend to make unmistakably clear to Iran we will not permit a government that espouses the destruction of the State of Israel as its fondest wish and pledges undying enmity to the United States to possess the weapons to advance their malevolent ambitions.
This was a scary speech and a scary audience response: Un-nuanced and immoderate. Everything that is wrong with the direction of our country.
My friend and CPAC conservative Rick Moran on McCain at CPAC:
Although his speech was interrupted several times by applause, there were an awful lot of CPAC’ers sitting on their hands. They were polite. They listened carefully to what McCain had to say. But they were in no mood for unity and good will. This became evident when McCain talked about his differences with the base over illegal immigration. The cascade of cat calls and boos that greeted his mention of that issue showed McCain that he has a long way to go until people believe his pledge to secure the borders first.
All in all, McCain did a fine job. He said what he had to without being overbearing or condescending. He was jovial. His eyes twinkled when he mentioned immigration, almost relishing the clash with his detractors. And he was suitably solemn about his commitment to “conservative principles.”
But besides the fact his appearance made good political theater, I doubt whether McCain made any progress in convincing conservatives that they should get behind his candidacy with enthusiasm. It was pretty much the same case we’ve heard made at the debates. And since those performances didn’t convince the base of his sincerity, this appearance at CPAC didn’t either.