Will McCain Make Nice to the Right?
The next big hurdle for John McCain isn't the Feb. 12 primaries. It's his appearance tomorrow before the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, whose verdict on the Arizona senator could make or break his presidential aspirations.The question should be is there any reason for McCain to make nice to the extreme right wingers of CPAC. 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." While CPAC wingnuts seem willing to buy anything serial flip flopper Mitt Romney has to sell they are not going to buy anything from McCain anyway. Here is an example:
The 6,000 Republican Party members expected to attend "are the ground troops that make up the conservative base," says David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, which sponsors the yearly meeting. "And he's pretty much blown his credibility with these people."
CPAC has been an important stop on conservatives' calendars since Ronald Reagan showed up in 1973 for the first of 17 appearances. The three-day conference in Washington now draws thousands of people, more than half of them under age 26, who come to listen to the movement's stars and assess its presidential candidates.
Last year, Sen. McCain was the only declared candidate to turn down an invitation to speak to the group, which returned the snub by consigning him to fifth place in a presidential straw poll, well behind first-place finisher Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and Sen. McCain's rival for the Republican nomination.
ONCE JOHN WINS, HE'LL MAKE A LEFT
RUNNING as a conservative, John McCain rolled up huge victories last night in New York, New Jersey and beyond.I guess when I read the headline my question was "left of what?".
But if history is any guide, the McCain we've seen of late on the campaign trail is the most conservative McCain we'll ever see.
He has taken a commanding lead in the GOP primary by packaging himself as the "true conservative" committed to limited government, to slashed federal spending and to an avowedly conservative Supreme Court.
He claims the mantle of Ronald Reagan. He even claims the mantle of Barry Goldwater, conservatism's crack version of Reagan. But as McCain clinches the GOP nomination, he will begin his usual leftward lurch.
He will return to his lifelong positions as soft on illegal immigration, skeptical of tax cuts and favoring strong federal control over things like campaign financing.
McCain's appeal to independents and even the left is what makes him such a powerhouse in the general election.