Friday, February 08, 2008

An American First, a Conservative Second

John McCain is not the likely Republican nominee; he is the Republican nominee. The time is now for the supporters of all of the previous candidates to get behind McCain and start thinking about your country rather than your ideological purity. In short, get over it.

The howling from conservative ranks has been deafening. Many are indicating that they will “never vote for McCain” and will sit out the election. I am sure that the Democrat nominee is counting on them doing just that and will be deeply grateful for their support – even if the support is passive. Make no mistake, regardless of intention that will be the outcome of such an electoral boycott. Go ahead, make their day.

To those who will take this course I ask: is your ideology so important to you that you would sacrifice your country on its behalf? I would expect this from a liberal, I would not expect it from a conservative.

McCain wasn’t my first choice, in fact, he wasn’t even close. I have serious problems with any number of his positions over the years, his temperament and his propensity to poke his fellow Republicans in the eye and the particular (and peculiar) glee that he seemed to take in doing it.

I have long noted that, for me, the winning of Iraq and the larger war was the main issue and I must say that my position on that has not changed. Well, as they say, be careful what you wish for. I believe that John McCain is right on that issue and I have no reason to believe that he will not deliver as president. He was a vocal critic of Rumsfeld and the previous strategy in Iraq, but our current level of success may well indicate that he was correct in doing so. While I still have enormous respect for Don Rumsfeld, he would be the first to admit that he is not infallible. The point is that we are now winning and McCain, for all of his faults, was a major proponent of our current successful strategy.

Again, on any number of other issues, I have enormous apprehension as to a McCain presidency. He does have an 82.3% rating from the American Conservative Union, which should dispel the charges that he’s a liberal. Unfortunately, those issues on which he has strayed from conservatism have been very high profile and sensitive, particularly immigration and campaign finance. As it is a key component of our national security, I am deeply concerned about his position on immigration, but I am concerned about Bush’s as well. Still, without a vigorous prosecution of the war in Iraq and the wider war on Islamic fundamentalism, many of these issues become rather moot.

The fact is, the next president will be John McCain, Clinton v2.0 or (shudder) Barack Hussein Obama. The gulf between McCain and either of the Democrat candidates is enormous, regardless of what his critics might say. If you feel that your principles are so sacrosanct that you feel forced to hand the White House over to Hillary or Obama, it’s your right to do so.

As for me, I will support McCain with all of his faults. I will set my philosophical differences aside and do so for the good of my country. I will do so secure in the knowledge that I am doing the best I can do, given the choices available.

Should you be of the mind to “sit this one out”, I only ask that you consider the consequences of your inaction. I ask you to put your country first.

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