Sorry to be getting all my news from Politico today, but this piece reporting on the apoplexy within McCain’s base stemming from J-Mac’s assertion that Tom Ridge’s pro-choice stance wouldn’t rule him out of a possible VP spot illustrates precisely what’s wrong with the current Republican party.
“It absolutely floored me,” said Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values. “It would doom him in Ohio.”
Burress emailed about a dozen “pro-family leaders” he knows outside Ohio and forwarded it to three McCain aides tasked with Christian conservative outreach.
“That choice will end his bid for the presidency and spell defeat for other Republican candidates,” Burress wrote in the message.
Look, this is just a hunch, but I’m pretty sure John McCain doesn’t give a flying fuck about abortion. I’m sure he’d be embarrassed were his daughter to seek one, but as far as policy goes, it’s probably a non-issue. This is fairly logical, because social proscription is at basic odds with the notions of small-government and faith in the individual that formed conservatism, and John McCain, at least until he decided to run for president, was never much for social proscription. The problem for the GOP is sans social panders, only a platform geared to serve primarily the interests of the wealthy minority remains. For better or for worse, this is not the most expedient political philosophy in a society established on the principles of popular rule. Anyway, because most Republicans firmly and indignantly believe in the individual’s power and right to overcome contingent circumstances (a belief often earning labels like “selfish” or “unsympathetic”) it usually means that they’ll do what it takes secure what’s right for them as individuals.
In practice, this means things like pandering to the more socially proscriptive element of our society, lying about the anti-populist nature of supply-side economics, and smearing war veterans. The real shame is there’s nothing awful about a core belief in limited regulation per se, it’s just not suited to respond to the needs of most people, most of the time, and certainly not in 2008.
I’ve got to stop reading Ayn Rand.
UPDATE: This was post was really, really sloppy when I first posted it. Hope it’s cleaner now.