There are only two reasons John McCain is enjoying a resurgence in the polls.
First, the media love him as their third-best liberal Republican, and second he is the only person in the race who gives the appearance of understanding the war on terror.
Both of these are ephemera, but they are news-cycle truths.
First, we had the pro-abortion, pro-gay, socialist “Republican” the New York media had picked to foist on America’s Christians. When that didn’t work, the media quickly shifted to the Mormon high priest, to try to force him down Dr. Dobson’s throat. The media have sneered and leered and hoped, but they’ve now relegated Romney to the next-time file.
Who does that leave?
The neo-pagan press prides themselves on being able to “create anybody” as a viable candidate … whether they can or not. The press is aware that their power to foist on the Christians isn’t infinite, but they believe that with dedication and division, strife and denunciation, they can fracture the evangelical right and someday destroy it. So they keep trying. Having successfully ginned-up McCain in 2000, where he almost beat the openly evangelical George W. Bush, they have gone to the Straight Talk Express as their fallback plan, and they are delighted to see it’s working.
McCain is a huge liberal.
But conveniently, McCain has scored a big win by predicting how something in the war on terror was supposed to go, sticking to it against odds, and turning out to be correct. Because this gives the needed credible appearance of shoot-the-bad-guy conservatism, the media are willing to temporarily ignore that this also appears, well, “pro-war.” Just so long as Johnny Mac can force the evangelicals to vote for someone who sued Wisconsin Right to Life, the left-press will give McCain a free pass on all else.
McCain called evangelical Christian leaders “agents of intolerance” and then later affirmed the anti-Christian views on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, saying, “I must not and will not retract anything that I said in that speech at Virginia Beach. It was carefully crafted, it was carefully thought out.”
Of course, the McCain-Feingold bill, also known as “No Incumbent Left Behind,” sought to crush the free speech rights of a diversity of organizations. McCain calls Right to Life chapters “special interests” that need to be controlled and stripped of influence in Congress. I think he is accurate in this: Keeping babies alive is especially interesting to most people. But not only has McCain been hostile to Right to Life groups, he tried to have the pro-life plank in the Republican Platform rewritten to include exceptions.
It’s worth remembering why John McCain lost South Carolina by 11 points to a candidate perceived at the time to be a truly conservative evangelical.
McCain’s been pro-amnesty for illegal aliens his whole career, authoring the Senate’s latest amnesty clap-trap. The McCain-Feingold mess criminalizes the speech of small organizations 60 days before elections.
He’s voted for multiple gun-control laws in the Senate, voted for affirmative action quotas, and in 2002 the media was buzzing with speculation that McCain was about to bolt the GOP because he was so far left of center.
John McCain has only one thing going for him. He was right about Iraq. But is that enough to make him president? The momentary encouragement of a pro-defense person being correct about a major battle does not outweigh the decades of committed liberalism we have from John McCain. Give him his due; he’d make a great nominee for the Democrats. And that’s the point. The national media’s action can always be predicted: They will love and try to elect the most liberal Republican possible, because they themselves are liberals and they delight in “sticking it” to the conservative base.
A surge in votes ought not follow the surge in Iraq. Other Republicans, John, said the same things you did, and they didn’t vote for gun-control laws. Others can eloquently explain the war on terror without filing punitive lawsuits against state Pro-Life chapters.
So, I’d say it’s still OK to be suspect whenever MSNBC calls someone “a conservative.”
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Andrew Longman is a Christian and an applied scientist.