The poor ideologues in the Republican Party — you know, the ones who don’t give a damn who can actually become president, as long as their candidate thinks exactly the way they do about everything — don’t know whether to spit or go blind with John McCain as their presumptive nominee. And I gotta tell ya, I’m loving it. My happiness will be complete once the ANGER faction of the Democratic party is similarly discombobulated by having Barack Obama as their nominee.
Anyway, to see what I’m saying, read The Wall Street Journal. In today’s paper alone, you can read this story:
For the first time in a presidential campaign already a year old, Republicans have a clear front-runner in Arizona Sen. John McCain. By nearly all accounts, he is the candidate many Democrats least want to face, the one who would best remake his party’s battered image and draw independent voters needed to win in November.
But Sen. McCain still confronts a problem both in the remainder of the nomination race, and, if he wins, in the fall: He is simply loathed by many fellow Republicans, often for the very bipartisanship and maverick streak that attracts independents. His biggest, and perhaps final, test comes Tuesday, when 21 states hold contests — most of them open only to Republican voters….
Then there’s this piece, which observes:
All eyes were on Mr. McCain, who after winning three contests in the pivotal states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, is now considered the front-runner. He took his time in the spotlight to blast Wall Street. "There’s some greedy people on Wall Street that perhaps need to be punished," Mr. McCain said in response to a question about how to help people keep their homes and avoid foreclosure.
The emphasis is mine. That’s gotta hurt, if you’re a WSJ kind of guy, coming from the likely GOP nominee. Then there’s this piece about all the big-money guys who just don’t know what to do now:
Rudy Giuliani, the onetime Republican presidential front-runner, retreated from the race and backed John McCain. But Mr. Giuliani’s well-heeled supporters might not throw their money behind the cash-strapped Arizona senator so fast.
"We haven’t decided what we’re going to do," says T. Boone Pickens, the Dallas tycoon who has raised more than $1 million for Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, since late 2006….
Then you get to the opinion pages, where pundits struggle to understand just why this iconoclast keeps winning:
John McCain beat Mitt Romney by 5.5 points in New Hampshire and by five again in Florida. Three months ago, Mr. McCain was a 10% cipher in Florida, with no organization and no donors. This week one saw why John McCain is basically five points better than Mitt Romney, or Rudy Giuliani, at the most fundamental job in politics — connecting.
When Mr. McCain took the stage in Sun City, the applause was polite. When he finished, he got a standing ovation. He has been at this game a long time, and his ability to sense and ride the emotional flow of an audience is astonishing.
It discomfits some, including me, that Mr. McCain seems like a live, capped volcano. But in front of an audience like this, and before a younger group two days later at the Tampa Convention Center, he stood with that tight, little upper body of coiled electricity and plugged his message of honor, commitment and threat straight into the guts of his listeners….
Finally, one must turn to the oracle itself, the very LEAD EDITORIAL of the hallowed WSJ, under the headline, "McCain’s Apostasies" (I am not making this up!), to learn this:
Mr. McCain’s great political strength has also long been his main weakness, which is that his political convictions are more personal than ideological. He believes in duty, honor and country more than he does in any specific ideas.
These personal qualities are genuine political assets, and they are part of his appeal as a potential Commander in Chief. Among other things, they help explain why he held firm on Iraq when the fair-weather hawks lost their resolve. But he is now on the cusp of leading a coalition that also believes in certain principles, and its "footsoldiers" (to borrow a favorite McCain word) need to be convinced that the Senator is enough on their side to warrant enthusiastic support…
You can just see them all thinking, Whaddayagonna DO with a guy who believes in "duty, honor and country" more than he believes in, I don’t know, some worthwhile idea like cutting taxes? How can you trust a guy like that? How can you turn your back on him?
The thing that gets me is that these people are dead serious. They think "duty, honor and country" are all very well and good in a Boy Scout, or a character in a movie or something, but a little bit dangerous in a Leader of the Free World.
I am so glad that for once we’ve got an alternative — and maybe by the time it’s over, two alternatives — to the greedheads on one side who think "Me First and the Gimme-Gimmes" is an "idea," and one to live by, and those on the other side who think what this country needs is somebody to FIGHT with Republicans, as though virtue is thus defined. Thank the Lord for John McCain and Barack Obama.