A question on the minds of many conservatives, Republicans and independent voters these days is how they cast their vote in November.

John McCain is going to be the nominee of the Republican Party and, as such, the only viable alternative to a Democratic Party president, they recognize.

But will a McCain presidency represent a qualitative difference for the country? Or, is it better to let the Democrats take the full blame for their policies for the next four years, counting on a revived and re-energized Republican Party prepared to take power in 2012?

In other words, the fundamental question on the table is: Just how bad is John McCain?

I’m afraid the answer is: Very, very bad.

For starters, McCain has been, for a very long time, dead wrong on immigration and border policy. He is still dead wrong.

In 2004, voters in his own state passed Proposition 200, requiring proof of citizenship before someone can vote or participate in state giveaway programs. Despite opposition led by McCain, the measure was approved by 56 percent of the vote, with close to 50 percent of Hispanics approving it.

He’s not only out of step with Americans on this issue, he’s out of step even with his own constituency in Arizona.

He has been a leader in the amnesty cause in the Senate, partnering with Ted Kennedy on the bill’s language and sponsorship.

He also led opposition to building the border fence.

Do you really think McCain is going to be any better than George W. Bush on this critical national priority? Chances are he will be even worse.

But what about judges, you ask? Won’t a McCain presidency give Americans a chance to reclaim the Supreme Court in the name of the Constitution and original intent?

The evidence is far from conclusive, given that McCain voted to confirm Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer to the Supreme Court. He also, as is his nature, conspired with Democrats in the Senate to block approval of Bush’s most conservative jurists.

He gave us McCain-Feingold – the worst legislative attack on the First Amendment in decades. This law actually restricts political speech prior to elections – a clearly unconstitutional approach to so-called “campaign finance reform.”

He’s a globalist – standing strong even today behind agreements like NAFTA that are ravaging Third World economies, eliminating jobs in the U.S. and chipping away at U.S. sovereignty and the power of the people.

I could go on and on. McCain is wrong on so many issues of the day. But there is one more I feel compelled to share. Some people suggest we should forget all our beefs with McCain and support him because he’s right on the war against terrorism. I disagree.

I disagree not only that the issue supersedes all others, but also with the assumption that McCain is right about the conduct of the war.

Need I remind everyone it was John McCain who nearly single-handedly stripped our troops of the interrogation tools they needed to defeat the enemy and prevent attacks on innocent Iraqis and our own soldiers? More than anyone else in American politics, McCain led the fight to stop coercive interrogations, an absolutely essential weapon in our arsenal in the conduct of this war and future wars.

McCain calls it torture. But it is not. Coercive interrogations are a necessity of any successful war campaign. When he stopped them with his legislative campaign, his actions not only prolonged the war and led to higher casualties for American troops and innocent Iraqis, he also ensured any future war will be far most costly in U.S. lives.

How bad would McCain be?

I’ll put it this way: Worse than Bush.

Are you ready for that?

I’m not.

All things being equal, I’d rather watch the Democrats destroy America for the next four years, holding out hope that a new kind of Republican leadership might arise to fight back in 2012.

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