THE REAL THREAT TO MCCAIN?
Disgruntled GOP moderates could impact party unity
A lot of Republicans are unhappy with their party this year. Some conservative Republicans, following the lead of talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, have been threatening to sit out the November election or vote for a third party candidate because they don't consider their party's presidential nominee, John McCain, to be sufficiently conservative.John McCain has morphed into John McBush in order to win favor from the "conservative" base. This will cost him votes among independents to be sure but when one looks at the 2006 midterm elections it could also cost him 10 to 15 percent of the Republican votes. By jumping in bed with George W. Bush McCain has made the 2008 election one about the Bush administration.
Since emerging as the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination on Super Tuesday, Mr. McCain has been working hard to win the support of conservatives by stressing his hawkish views on Iraq and his conservative positions on social issues such as abortion. In a further effort to ease the concerns of conservatives, McCain recently promised to oppose any tax increases during his term as president.
But a careful examination of the evidence from the 2006 midterm elections as well as voting patterns in recent primaries indicates that it isn't conservatives who pose the biggest threat to Republican unity in the fall. It's moderate-to-liberal Republicans who represent the biggest challenge to John McCain in uniting his party against the Democratic nominee, especially if that nominee is Barack Obama.
While conservatives may continue to complain about McCain, they will almost certainly end up voting for him against a much more liberal Democrat. But a large number of moderate-to-liberal Republicans could actually defect to the Democratic nominee if they perceive McCain as moving too far to the right in his effort to appease party conservatives.
In the 2006 midterm elections, defections by moderate-to-liberal Republicans contributed to the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives and were largely responsible for Republican defeats in three major Senate races in states that had voted for George Bush by wide margins in 2004: Missouri, Montana and Virginia.
McCain ‘Is Not Going To Change’ My Foreign PolicyEnough said!
~George W. Bush, March 5, 2008