Wednesday, February 13, 2008

McHuck vs HillaRama

John McCain is gathering delegates quickly, and yet Mike Huckabee vows to stay in the race until McCain has enough to get the nomination.

It appears that won't be a problem for McCain.

What does appear to be a problem for him, at least to many pundits, is the lack of support from the Evangelical Right.

What the pundits don't realize is this:
The lack of support from the Far Right is what has gotten McCain this far.

Voters are not being drawn to the polls to elect a candidate who shares or goes beyond their religious beliefs, nor one who claims to be intent on practicing those beliefs as a matter of public policy.

That has not worked out so well with the current President, and there is a growing backlash against the religious leaders and self proclaimed media opinion leaders of the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

McCain has tapped into the greatest width of the party, not the narrow slice of extremist belief.

Most people, Democrat and Republican, do not share the beliefs of the fringes on the sides.

Most people want a candidate they can believe in and can trust to do the right thing.

The Conservatives who have spoken out against the McCain candidacy, sometimes vehemently, inlcude Laura Ingraham, conservative radio host Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. James Dobson, and Ann Coulter among others.

Before he recently appeared in front of the 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference, the crowd was urdged to not boo him (though he did not attend the 2007 conference, when his name was mentioned it generated boos). He was more warmly received this year, but he doesn't need those 6,300 votes in the least.

Not enough of these Conservative religious and "opinion" leaders spoke out against the war in Iraq, or against Guantanamo, or against the question of torture, nor did they support campaign finance reform. But most of America is on the side of McCain on these and many other issues.

McCain spoke out firmly, several times against the wishes of the President and the national Republican leadership.

The religious and opinion leaders were all overwhelmingly against stem cell research, campaign finance reform, and allowing illegal aliens to pay fines and get worker visas.

McCain is for all those things, even co-sponsoring campaign finance reform legislation.

His support among so many regular Americans comes not from the fact that he did or did not support specific issues or pieces of legislation, but that he sticks to his beliefs and his principles.

He is perceived as being much more principled and consistent in his beliefs than so many of his detractors.

And he acts on his beliefs, rather than just using them as props.

McCain does not change his positions to garner support from the few in the Far Right.

Most Americans have much more respect for that than for extreme beliefs and views only held to get votes from the most conservative of Evangelicals.

McCain is ahead simply because he is seen as the most consistent, the most straight talking, the most mainstream of the Republican candidates. He is still considered by Americans to be conservative.

He does not need to win over all the social conservatives, nor even all the most conservative Republicans to win in November.

He just needs to stay true to his principles, as he has for so long, and remain exactly where he is in the spectrum of Left to Right; a fiscally conservative, principled, thoughtful Republican.

He is seen as a straight shooter, strong on national defense, and if he has a bit of a temper at times, most Americans think that's a minor issue, as long as he isn't seen as going off on someone unfairly or with malice.

The rest of the country is just now catching up with McCain, and they will stay with him through November and into the White House.

And it really doesn't matter who gets the Democratic nomination, because McCain appeals to more of our needs as a country at this time, and has neither of the major flaws of Senator Clinton (unlikeablilty) or Senator Obama (inexperience).

Clinton also has to contend with the dynasty issue, and Obama has to contend with rednecks who will never vote for any black person.

Clinton and Obama both also have to fight the "first time" barrier, which is the tendency of voters to be attracted to a candidacy that is historic or unique in some way, but to not actually be willing to pull the lever for that unique or historic candidate on November 4, 2008 when it counts.

Voters say in opinion polls and interviews they support Senators Clinton and Obama, and they are voting for them in the Primaries, but when the voters reflect on what is at stake, and on the challenges we still face, many of those same voters will hesitate, and will instead decide to vote for the known quantity, the strong leader with actual military experience, the only candidate standing who can appeal to the wide center of both parties.

The fact that this candidate is a white male is not his fault, but will ultimately be to his benefit.

Clinton and Obama are both extremely intelligent, hard working, perceptive people. They know what their hurdles are, and they are doing everything they can to overcome them. But even together on one ticket, they will not be able to overcome this reality.

Neither of them will slow down until the results are crystal clear, nor should they.

But I believe that on November 5, we will all look back and congratulate both of them on breaking barriers, rather than on winning the Presidency.

As much as I, like so many others, would like to see real change, it really looks like it will have to come from McCain.

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