On Monday, I wrote on the Facebook page of a site called Conservative Daily, “Everyday I’m glad that John McCain was not elected president.” As I write these words, that comment has garnered 911 likes, far more than anything else I’ve said on Facebook to date.
Although still a Republican Senator, John McCain has fallen out of favor with a considerable segment of the conservative movement. Many people look at some of his recent statements and votes and have come to the realization that he doesn’t share their political values.
However, I’d like to point out that the John McCain of 2014 isn’t that far removed philosophically from the John McCain that was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008. Then, as now, he supported amnesty, bailouts, the Patriot Act, increased foreign aid, and expanded conflict in the Middle East. John McCain hasn’t changed, but rather the perception many people have about him has.
Yes, nominating John McCain in 2008 was a mistake. In much the same way, one could argue that nominating Mitt Romney in 2012 was also an error. However, it will likely be a few more years until a sizable chunk of the conservative electorate will actually admit as much.
Now, some Republican pundits agree about McCain, but they hold this view simply because he did not win. As such, these people will be quite willing to nominate candidates like McCain if he or she has a greater chance of winning, completely ignoring his constitutionally questionable principles.
You do have to wonder. Will the GOP continue to run “moderate” candidates like McCain and then scratch their collective heads in confusion as the Democratic Party claims yet another victory? Can they not understand that voters don’t want to hold their noses in order to cast their votes? Don’t they realize that citizens need a candidate that they can actually like and support rather than simply choosing between “the lesser of two evils”?
If I had to place a bet, I’d wager that the Republican Party will fail this lesson yet again in the 2014 Virginia U.S. Senate race. Nationally the trend will continue in the 2016 presidential contest; they will nominate establishment candidates, in the mold of John McCain, who are completely unable to resonate with the voters.
To quote the book of Proverbs, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.” Proverbs 26:11, NLT.
I’m happy to discover that so many people agree that John McCain was a mistake. But did the McCain experience teach the GOP anything? Or is he simply a sign of the future (or lack thereof) of the Republican Party?