I don’t get the McCainimosity

Byline: | Category: 2008 Presidential Election | Posted at: Wednesday, 30 January 2008

It’s all over talk radio. Local host Steve Gill excoriated the Arizona Senator all morning. The Big One himself has waged a pitched battle against him for days. I even heard the usually GOP-fawning Sean Hannity take McCain to task today.

I don’t get it. Sure, John McCain has disappointed me on some issues. But what elected official hasn’t? Besides, we’re Republicans, not loony Kossacks who froth incoherently every time one of their party doesn’t behave exactly as they demand. No one is going to vote precisely as I would all the time.

John McCain is far better than either of the Democratic candidates, and better even than some of the Republican ones–perhaps even including the one whom all the “conservative leaders” seem to be rallying around.

Here’s James Taranto today on that very subject:

The chief rap on Romney . . . is that he is not a man of conviction–that in his two runs for statewide office in Massachusetts (U.S. senator in 1994 and governor in 2002) he expediently took positions that are very liberal by GOP lights, and that differ drastically from the views he now espouses.

The conservative defense of Romney, we suppose, is that he didn’t really believe those positions, whereas when McCain has departed from the conservative mainstream, he has been sincere and committed. Fair enough. But who is going to be a more loyal supporter in the long run–someone who agrees with you on everything, but insincerely, or someone who agrees with you on some things, disagrees with you on others, and is clear about which is which?

I’m not at all implying that Mitt Romney is dishonest. But I will say that his conversion to conservative principles is so recent that I’d like to see more evidence . . . particularly when, as one blogger pointed out recently, when he was in Iowa he was promising more money for ethanol, in Michigan he supported expensive jobs programs for autoworkers, and was cozying up to the AARP in Florida. That just seems way too contrived for my tastes.

So is this an endorsement of McCain over Romney among the two remaining Republican contenders? No. But I am looking more and more in his direction.


I looked at every post I’ve written in the last three years that mentioned John McCain and I drug up this one from October of 2005. Included in it is a strategy, still valid today, that gives him a great advantage over Hillary.

. . . not having a member of the administration on either ticket changes the usual dynamic [of a presidential race]. It frees both sides to run against the status quo. However, the advantage is still to the incumbent. Democratic challengers . . . will likely be forced to run against everything Bush has done. While a Republican outsider can pick and choose from the President’s policies more selectively.

If, however, a key administration member is the Republican nominee, it may hamstring him or her in blazing a new course. Condi Rice, Tom Ridge, or a close ally like Bill Frist would effectively be campaigning as a sitting vice president looking to succeed Bush. On the other hand, John McCain would be free to run against Bush’s bad policies, while he promises to pursue his good ones. In effect, he could run against the worst of both parties. (Lest that be construed as an endorsement of John McCain, there are less conspicuous—and less acerbic—choices as well: Fred Thompson, Halley Barbour, and John Kasich, to name a few.)

Also note the Fred Thompson reference. I had completely forgotten that I had named him as a presidential possible so long ago. After tonight’s debate, I sincerely wish that he were still in the race.


An emailer writes that the animosity is due to McCain being “a real prick, which was on evidence tonight.”

The emailer is right. Paul Shanklin does some great parodies of McCain for the Rush Limbaugh show. They all seem to capture that “prickish” sneer.


John comments below about how personality as much as position may make McCain anethema to many conservatives. He also adds this:

. . . McCain’s FU attitude towards the party’s core will be a much bigger factor in the upcoming month, but we’ll have to see if voters opt to go with McCain based on his better polling numbers in the general election.

Keep that in mind when you consider that John McCain has not yet received a majority of the vote in any state.

Conventional wisdom is that Mike Huckabee is in the race to “sabotage” the conservative vote in order to help McCain. I think that the opposite is true. While it might help McCain in “winner take all” states, Huckabee’s continued third-wheel presence might just peel off just enough delegates to keep this race from being decided before the convention. While Huckabee probably hopes to make himself kingmaker of either Romney or McCain, I’m obviously hoping for a different king to be crowned.


While there are many Republicans upset with McCain over policy, it is clear from the comments below that there are almost as many upset with his personality. That’s not a small thing. It’s been more than 30 years since the more likable candidate hasn’t been the winner of a presidential election.

By that standard it doesn’t matter who the Republicans nominate. Either Romney or McCain bests Hillary, while neither could hope to beat Obama.


Jonah Goldberg is similarly bewildered:

. . this disaster talk leaves me cold. McCain wouldn’t be my first pick. Then again, none of the candidates were really my first pick. But I think the notion that, variously, conservatism, the country or the party are doomed if he’s the nominee or the president is pretty absurd.

And I find such claims odd coming from some people who’ve insisted for a couple years now that the war on terror is the #1 overriding issue of this campaign.

Jonah adds that he thinks the anti-McCainiacs are either pro-Romney and looking for any hand grenade they can lob, hate McCain and looking for any hand grenade to lob, or that it’s really all about immigration.

Victor Davis Hanson:

If one studies carefully the Clintama answers on the war on terror, illegal immigration, and Iraq then the magnitude of Republican infighting seems surreal. The gulf between Hillary and McCain is Grand-Canyon like. . . If McCain gets the nomination, I would have to believe that the Republican sit-out would only last midsummer until they could not take Sen. Clinton no more, and thus like Lancelot at Camlan belatedly enter the fray.


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62 Responses to “I don’t get the McCainimosity”

  1. Ray Fowler Says:

    “Note the Fred Thompson reference. I had completely forgotten that I had named him as a presidential possible so long ago.”

    Wow – October 2005. That may be the earliest anyone picked Fred as a potential candidate for 2008.

    “After tonight’s debate, I sincerely wish that he were still in the race.”

    Me too, me too.

  2. A Conservative Says:

    It is very simple Bob. McCain supports two issues that mainstream Conservatives are absolutely opposed to:

    1. Illegal immigrants should be granted amnesty and special rights.
    2. Global warming is man made and economy destroying solutions are needed to fix it.

    I would never vote for any candidate that would support either.

  3. DaveP. Says:

    The only good thing about this article is that, after President McCain applies McCain-Fringold in its intended sense, the author will no longer be allowed to write about politics under penalty of law.

  4. Big Boy Says:

    So, … write-in “Fred D. Thompson.”

  5. Paddy Says:

    We’re all looking at the Republican party for different reasons. And it’s quite human to think ‘big tent’ when others have to sacrifice some of their policy ideals for a candidate. When Rudy was running strong there was no end of people saying that social conservatives needed to be flexible in order to get a conservative in the office. However, touch the right buttons, hit the issues that matter the most to a lot of commentators and libertarians and others, then suddenly the lines are drawn.

    McCain happens to be not as conservative in the ways that particularly matter to certain folks. And because they see those things as the most important we finally see that their big tent ideals were really always ‘for thee, not for me.’

    And he has an attitude. But as a former Fred supporter I have a hard time with that argument. Seems like we could say its just ‘fire in the belly’. Since that seemed to be the most common reason why folks didn’t support Fred, the lack of fire in the belly, then I guess that’s a lot more important than real conservative values and should work to McCain’s benefit. Folks wanted a man with fire, not policy. They have him now.

  6. Mr. Bingley Says:

    Look at the two big pieces of legislation with his name on them: McCain-Feingold (which trashes the 1st Amendment to protect incumbents) and McCain-Kennedy (which threatens national sovereignty more than anything al-Qaeda has done). How can anyone want to give him the keys to the White House?

    And let’s not forget Mr. Straight Talk Bash Big Business used to sing in a group called the Keating Five; you don’t think the MSM is just chomping at the bit to suddenly “discover” that lovely episode during the general election?

  7. Letalis Maximus, Esq. Says:

    Regarding Rush:

    Who stands to make him more money as President? Why Hillary Clinton, of course. It was the original 8 years of Slick that initially made him rich.

    So should Republicans really get all that wrapped around the axle about what Rush thinks?

  8. Frankster Says:


    Rush hasn’t made less money during Bush’s 7 years than he did during the CLinton Administration. He came to prominence during Clinton, but I was listening to him in 1989.

    He’s being a jerk about McCain though. Most people are. McCain isn’t a bad guy, he’s just not perfect. He’s still better than Hillary the crook. Most would agree he’ll be better than Bush. Why are we getting all frothy over this, we’re simply handing the Dems the election.

  9. wolfwalker Says:

    I can’t speak for anybody else, but in my case my anger toward McCain springs from his own actions. As a voter I value six issues highly:

    1) national security, including the war against islamist terrorism
    2) border security
    3) economic policy
    4) civil liberties
    5) respect for law and law enforcement
    6) personal ethics on the part of my elected leaders

    McCain fails, totally and absolutely, on issues 2, 4, 5, and 6. He fails on 2 and 5 because last summer he supported amnesty for illegals while scoffing at the demand for better border security. He fails on 4 because of McCain-Feingold, a clearly unconstitutional law that censors political speech. He fails on 6 again because of McCain-Feingold — no senator should ever support a bill that is obviously unconstitutional — and also because he’s shown on numerous occasions that he’s an egomaniac who can’t be trusted with the power he has now, much less that which goes with the Presidency.

    And I’m not so sure of him on economic policy anymore either — by what I’ve heard, the McCain-Lieberman energy bill contains numerous big-government, big-spending, anti-business provisions.

    It may be true that Romney is no better on many of my issues — for example, he’s a gun-grabber, which automatically wrecks his rating on civil liberties. But that doesn’t make McCain any better. It only means that no matter what, this fall I will preserve my perfect record of always voting for the lesser of the available evils. Never once in my adult life have I been able to vote _for_ a candidate I could support with a clear conscience.

  10. Buzz Says:

    I’m not crazy about McCain, but I think people should just cool their jets a little. IF he’s the nominee, the general election campaign will serve two purposes. First, conservatives will be driven to him because the left’s attacks will focus on the areas where he does agree with us. Second, and much more importantly I think, he’ll be driven towards conservatives after he finds that his “friends” on the left and in the media, who haven’t had a bad thing to say about him in 8+ years, will suddenly turn on him. He’s been a jerk to conservatives because we’ve been the only people who have pissed him off. That will soon change.

  11. Will Cate Says:

    Rush himself also does a hysterical McCain impersonation on-the-fly… if McCain wins, he’ll get to do it for at least four more years…

  12. C Smith Says:

    So, what’s the deal with Fred? I’d have donated, but his site explicitely declined donations from government contractors–all the more reason to admire the fellow.
    Does he get dragged back into the race by sheer force of no-kidding public demand?

  13. David Becker Says:

    McCain is an enemy of the first amendment and that is enough to disqualify him from being president. That being said, Hillary and Barack, as modern Democrats, are enemies of almost all freedoms; they are much wors than McCain. The real question in my mind is whether I can hold my nose and vote for McCain in order to stop a democrat from being elected, or say a plague on both their houses, resign myself to even more loss of liberty, and stay home.

  14. Mr. Ring Says:

    The McCainimosity started years ago. One day I said to myself “I’m never going to vote for that man”. No amount of spin will make me. I’ve been voting republican in the past local, state and national elections since 1994. I am not loyal to the republican party; if the republican running for office is loyal to me I’ll vote for him. McCain isn’t loyal to me. He consistently votes against what I want him to vote for. Now some pundits are crying over the bridges he burned years ago.

    My wife always votes democrat and she says she won’t vote for Clinton. A Clinton/McCain election will see us voting 3rd party.

  15. Mrs. Davis Says:

    Dittos to David Becker. I’d salute McCain as a great war hero. So were Alvin York and Pappy Boyington. Didn’t make them presidential timber.

    McCain also has a long track record, the memories of which are not all current but haven’t been completely forgotten, either. Don’t forget the Keating Alan Cranston (D-CA); Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ); John Glenn (D-OH); John McCain (R-AZ); and Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (D-MI; great company. And the MSM will be sure to resurrect that one in gorey detail after he gets the nomination.

    That just reconfirms that McCain is really a RINO/Country Club Republican; actually, more of a Scoop Jackson Democrat than a Reagan Republican. That’s why he gets on so well with Lieberman, the last of the Scoopers.

    And it is the failure of Reagan Republicans to field an effective candidate against the RINO wing of the party that has people upset. Fred was the only candidate remotely Reaganite that was running. His snarky attitude about it, he’s a punk, and his opposition to the first amendment drive me over the edge.

    The UK Tories have the same problem finding a candidate able to carry the Thatcher torch, so it’s a widespread problem.

    My alternative to staying home is a wacko party or a write-in for Fred. But they won’t keep me from voting and they can’t make me vote for the bozo of their choice.

  16. John Says:

    An emailer writes that the animosity is due to McCain being “a real prick, which was on evidence tonight.”

    I think that is why the rightwing press hates him so much; he just doesn’t kiss their butts enough and has been nasty to him. I am very disappointed in the right wing media that they would be so quick to buy Romney’s conversion to conservatives and paper over his record as governor and trash McCain basically out of what amounts to childish personal animosity against McCain. National Review will run third hand accounts of McCain allegedly being nasty in a Senate cloakroom over a conservative judicial nomination that McCain ended up supporting and then ignore the fact that Romney consistently appointed Democrats and independents over qualified conservatives to the bench while governor of Massachusetts. The right wing media and National Review’s behavior over the last few weeks regarding the Presidential race has been downright disgraceful.

  17. gregh Says:

    David Becker, I’m not sure I agree that the Dems are far worse, esp. if we’re talking about what they might actually be able to do in the White House. Remember, there are things they can get away with and things a GOPer can get away with. Look at the Fairness Doctrine, Dems would love to get it back, but they can’t on their own and look bad trying. But McCain could get it back, and you can bet, first thing he’ll want to do after getting in office will be to shut down any and all criticism of him that he can.
    What will he do the first time one of his new Statist laws or attempts for amnesty get shot down? He’ll demonize everyone who opposes him , and in words that would make Bill Clinton blush. Clinton said poeple opposing him were “evil”. McCain will actually believe people opposing him on principle are evil, and you can look out for McCain-Feingold II with far more restrictions on speech, to shut down us evildoers.

  18. Volunteer Voters » Agents Of Intolerance And Messing With Pro-Conservative’s Money Faucet Says:

    [...] Bob Krumm is fluxomed as to why conservatives maintain such vitriol against McCain: I don’t get it. Sure, John McCain has disappointed me on some issues. But what elected official hasn’t? Besides, we’re Republicans, not loony Kossacks who froth incoherently every time one of their party doesn’t behave exactly as they demand. No one is going to vote precisely as I would all the time. [...]

  19. Al Maviva Says:

    McCain said yesterday that “some people on Wall Street” need to go to jail for the subprime mortgage market meltdown.

    Really? How ’bout thousands of loan officers for fudging applications, how ’bout a couple Fed Chairmen for making nearly ‘free’ money available, how ’bout some legislators for permitting ridiculously dangerous “creative” financing of federally secured mortgages, and how ’bout the deadbeats who live on my street, have two Hummers and an adjustable rate interest only mortgage on their incredibly plush house, that they can’t afford; and how ’bout the legislators who want me and my hard working wife to pay off the bad debts of all these stiffs?

    *The* fundamental premise of conservatism, without which there is no modern conservative movement, is that the individual is responsible for his or her own actions. To point the finger at the stock & bond markets of Wall Street – when the primary and secondary mortgage markets, and most of the actors in it are nowhere near Wall Street – is both a disavowal of the premise of conservatism and a bit of disgusting populist class warfare that I’d expect from corporate looter Elliot Spitzer. What about Charlotte and San Francisco, the other big banking centers? Seems to me they have something to do with it… Hey, I got an idea… why doesn’t Senator McCain go after those stick-in-the-mud people who save money, buy modest houses on a 30 year fixed mortgage, and who pay their debts? *Those* people are really screwing up the economy by refusing to live above their means, and refusing to buy into the ever escalating housing inflation cycle. *Those* are the people really at fault by refusing to buy luxurious houses at ridiculous prices, to bail out the people who speculated with the interest only loans, so they should be punished for not being good citizens. Right?

    Please. Noting this, and his willingness to gut the 1st Amendment (to favor labor unions and George Soros) and to give amnesty to illegals is McCain Derangement Syndrome and McCainimosity?

  20. PQ Quig Says:

    GHW Bush made me vote Libertarian, but Tom Delay and GW Bush actually made me drop my Republican affiliation. As a conservative “conscientious objector” you can well imagine why John McCain will never get my vote, Hillary or no Hillary. Forgiving a sinner is one thing, but tolerating–and supporting–an unrepentant is quite another. If McCain wins the nomination, I think it is reasonable to expect that he will lead as he has acted over the past ten years. His disdain for free political speech and border security, his arrogation of control over the judicial nomination process in the Senate and his failure to support tax cuts should all be expected to re-surface during a McCain presidency. When melded with his just plain nasty, combative attitude towards his “friends” and appeasement of the foes of conservative ideology, we’re not left much room to hope.

    Call me an apochalyptic, but Hillary represents the fever that America must break once and for all to be rid on the Boomer generation pathologies. If McCain is her opponent, he would only be a half measure that would treat some of the symptoms at best, all the while offering cover to the underlying rot. Better to sweat it out of us now. Que sera, sera.

  21. Roux Says:

    It’s pretty easy to dislike the guy personally, he is a jerk and probably doesn’t have the temperament to be President. We know based on what has happened to President’s Reagan and GW Bush that you’ll be attacked pretty viciously. Will a President McCain be able to control his anger? I don’t think so.

    His two biggest policy faults are McCain/Feingold and McCain/Kennedy. First he wants you to shut up and then he tries to push through an immigration bill most of the American people didn’t want.

    Also, he would reach across the isle to the point he’d sign things such as a Fairness Doctrine or even bills that would shut the blogosphere up.

    It will be very difficult to vote for him next November.

  22. gregh Says:

    So, Bob, are you starting to “get the McCainimosity”? For me at least it has nothing to do with “ideological purity”, which is just a canard. We’ve seen and known McCain for years, if not decades (I live in Cincinnati, home of Charles Keating) and we don’t like what we see.
    Every four years we act like whatever is going on at that moment defines the issues for the next four years. Wrong. Remember what “issues” divided Bush and Gore in 2000? Wasn’t about the best way to fight a global war against Islamofascicm. What about his father and Dukakis in ’88? They weren’t debating how to deal with an invasion of Kuwait or with the fall of Eastern Europe or the collapse of the USSR.
    When we elect a president, we’re electing the man, not a set of policy positions for the moment, and I can tell you that, for me, the man John McCain, is unacceptable. And I will not endorse what he would do over the course of four years by voting for him, escaping responsibility for my act by pretending like I’m so retarded that I don’t know who he is.

  23. John Says:

    Personality and public profile are the main reasons why Romney’s position changes have not earned the same sort of animosity as McCain. His actions all have played out on the national stage, and his abrasive personality towards those who disagree with him mean those differences in policy and questions about the candidates’ beliefs aren’t smoothed over, but remain open like a sore wound. Add to that the fact that the media revels in those attacks by McCain and he does nothing to dissuade them from doing that, and you get a candidate who alienates much of the regular Republican base.

    In contrast, Romney’s flip-flops mainly occurred during his period in Massachusetts, which isn’t Washington, or even New York, where Giuliani was under much greater scrutiny for his positions as mayor than Mitt was as governor or as a U.S. Senate candidate. That’s why he can switch his position on abortion and have a great many conservatives say, “We believe you” in a way they wouldn’t be willing to do had Rudy made the same shift (there was far more skepticism of George H.W. Bush’s shift from pro- to anti-abortion 30 years ago than there is to Romney’s flip now). Plus, Romney doesn’t personally get into vendettas with others in the party, the way McCain does — while his campaign staff may play hardball, it’s done without the candidate’s involvement, so that the personal vitriol is limited to the other campaigns, and not to the overall core base of conservatives in the GOP.

    Going into Super Tuesday, I think Romney still has a better chance at the Republican nomination than Obama has at the Democratic one, even though conventional wisdom right now is the reverse. With both races basically being one-on-one contests, I would think McCain’s FU attitude towards the party’s core will be a much bigger factor in the upcoming month, but we’ll have to see if voters opt to go with McCain based on his better polling numbers in the general election.

  24. justacitizen Says:

    You don’t understand the animosity because you aren’t a champion of free speech – which is the first right of man given to him by God and the Constitution.

    John McCain is a traitor to free speech in this country. McCain’s law prohibits you from criticizing him 60 days before his election.

    That’s fascist. McCain spent 5 years in a Vietnamese gulag so he could gag his fellow Americans? That’s traitorous.

    How can you not see where the animosity comes from? Are you blind?

  25. davis,br Says:

    Here’s where my “animosity” comes from. (Link to my comment at PW on MDS): http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=10906#comment-317438

    In other words, it’s not personal animus (unlike the passionate ravings of the emotionally unstable BDS’ers). It’s a rational concern about the historical impact on the Republic of John McCain’s “blunders”.

  26. Bandit Says:

    Remember Romney is a very successful businessman and if you can’t change in business you will fail. He’s a pragmatist and there’s little wrong with that. I’d propose one thing – of all the last presidential contenders he’d be the most capable executive. Notice he’s also the only one with executive experience left?

  27. Brickle Says:

    McCain has made it clear that he hates conservatives at least as much a he hates terrorists.

    He’s also made it clear that he’s a little nuts, telling his GOP senate colleagues “F You” on the floor of the senate of a regular occasion.

    I don’t think he’s picked the positions that tick us off out of any deep personal conviction. I think he picks them simply because he opposes conservatives. The fact that they play well in the media is a bonus.

    Romney’s point last night, that a unilateral carbon cap will de-industrialize America and do nothing to reduce CO2, was absolutely true. If McCain had bothered to think about it for 10 minutes he would have known that. But doing something that WORKS isn’t the point for him.

  28. Thomas Says:

    As an Arizonan let me say while I have to suffer with having McCain as a Senator, I don’t wish him on the rest of the country.

  29. Squarejaw Says:

    I’mjust a local radio host. Five years ago, McCain came to town promoting his then big deal, term limits. I asked him why, and his reply was “the polls show the people want term limits and we’re going to give it to them.” The conversation evolved to asking “shouldn’t leaders explain why congressional seniority is viewed as important by citizens of smaller states, rather than simply pander to an ill-formed emotional opinion that drastically changes our system?”
    You should have seen McCain fly into a rage! His final comment was “You obviously don’t know anything about politics”, got up from his chair and stalked out of the studio. Upshot: I consider McCain’s few accomplishments to be pandering to opinion polls, I am astounded by his “quick trigger” and in general, the guy is a jerk. I view McCain’s candidacy as “Bob Dole redux” for Republicans.

  30. Cranky Greg Says:

    As a disaffected Republican, i kinda like McCain’s FU attitude toward the party elite. The Republicans let us down and lied to us.

  31. carly Says:

    I’m a “moderate” Republican, former bigtime Rudy supporter, who will never vote for McCain.

    I consider him lacking in intelligence (and class) and temperamentally unsuited to hold the office of President. His record/policies also appall me. He seems to me anti-business and all too pro government intervention in every aspect of life; he’s a class warrior with absolutely no understanding of how the economy works. I also have to question his ability to fight the war against Islamic extremism if he isn’t even willing to do whatever it takes to find, debrief and confine our enemies AND to take strong measures to seal our borders and track down who all is in this country. There’s more to fighting this enemy than staying in Iraq for 100 year and/or fighting “more wars”.

    I will NOT vote for McCain, no matter what. And if a moderate like me won’t, he’s in deep trouble because we know that “true conservatives” won’t. Expect a Democrat WH. Let’s hope there are some decent Republican candidates for Congress/Senate that we can get behind to push back…..

  32. Krumm doesn’t get the “McCainimosity” « HoodaThunk? Says:

    [...] Posted on 31 January, 2008 by Ric James Instapundit brings us a pointer to this article by Bob Krumm wherein he wonders what’s up with the “McCainimosity.” Have a read of the article and then take a moment to read the comments as Krumm’s readers [...]

  33. John Perry Says:

    A quick fact for all the people who think Thompson was a true conservative and McCain is not.

    When Thompson left the Senate, his lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union was 86 (out of 100). McCain’s was 84.

    For you anti-McCain-Fiengold folks, Thompson supported that bill. Repeatedly. It’s Q7 on this page: http://www.acuratings.org/ratingsarchive/2002/2002Senate.htm

  34. Black Redneck Says:

    As a Black republican and Bush supporter in California, I’ve been subject to a lot a crap from libs. That’s ok, cause I gave it right back. I’ve crushed many pansy-pc-kumbaya, hate-spewing, liberal moonbats and had fun while doing it.

    Having grown up in CA, I’ve experienced the joys of illegal immigration first hand– the traffic, the ER’s closing, the schools sucking, the no-go zones, family members attacked and friends murdered by illegal aliens. So when I protested the McShamesty bill, I really didn’t appreciate McCain calling us bigots and saying that we all hate “brown” people. Here I am thinking that American citizens should be able to go a pee wee football game without being shot in the head. But no, McCain says that is the price we pay to have cheap lettuce. Good to know!

    So when I hear McCain sneering that he “will build the dam fence” my only thought is that he can go straight to h#@%! If he is the nominee, I will not vote for him. I hope Hillary crushes him in a land slide defeat. I will give money to individual candidates but never to the RNC while he is in office.

    It’s not just the immigration issue, there’s McCain-Feingold, the judges, ANWR is the grand canyon, and other nonsense. It is his contempt for conservatives and his backstabbing them at every opportunity that fuels my dislike and distrust of the ego-ridden McCainiac.

    To anyone who thinks that if McCain sufficient “promises” before the election and they can hold their nose and vote for him: You are in denial, lying to yourself and will be screwed by a Pres. McCain at every opportunity.

  35. Charlie Says:

    Going back 20 years, I had a dear friend, fellow libertarian Republican, preach that McCain would one day be the salvation of the party. I tried to get behind the man.

    But I can’t. Why? Because McCain’s politics are really not all that different from Hillary Clinton’s. Both are statists. Both believe in the infallibility of elites to chart our course and, just as with McCain spouting off against business last night, both distrust civil society.

    McCain’s 180 degrees from my politics. Obama’s only about 176 off, Romney not even 20 off the mark. If Romney is eclipsed, I will really hope for a good third-party conservative or libertarian (real, not Ron Paul) effort. Otherwise, Obama for Prez will get my only non-Republican vote, assuming he can survive his rumble with the Clinton machine.

  36. memomachine Says:


    I’m not voting for McCain.

    If McCain is the nominee, then I’m sleeping in on Election Day.

  37. Jonathan Says:

    “Sure, John McCain has disappointed me on some issues.”

    What most of those who seem to be defending McCain is that these are not just some issues. These are issues that are vital to many conservatives (immigration, free speech, judicial selection, etc), and on these and many other issues, McCain has been very wrong. Not only has he been wrong, he is often leading the attack.

    True, his personality doesn’t help smooth things over, and I think most conservatives who are having reservations about McCain are going to have a lot to overcome if they are going to support him.

    Remember, the GOP primaries are where the candidates usually play to conservatives, only to move to the center when they get the nomination. The fact that conservatives are having problems with McCain now does not bode well for the future.

  38. gregh Says:

    I don’t think, re your update, that people object to his personality as much as to his character, and it’s not as much his policies–which are awful–as his deeply disturbing views on the proper relationship of government to citizen that dictate his policies and will continue to dictate his policies in the future.
    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m more worried about what he would do in the future that what he’s done in the past.

  39. Tennwriter Says:

    We’ve had a bunch of real conservatives, a fiscal con, a moderate, a Libertarian all explain with force and eloquence why they don’t want to vote for McCain.

    Let me add my social conservative self to that tally.

    Yup, John McCain has managed to tick off just about everyone in the party except for the RINO power brokers. That takes real talent.

  40. Amans Patriae Says:

    What precisely does John McCain hope to accomplish with his support of Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, S.310/H.R. 505, the destruction of the equal protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment?


  41. peter jackson Says:

    It’s the Mexicans.

    Witness the online eruption from last year over the immigration reform bill. We haven’t seen anything like it since—until now. If it hadn’t been for McCain’s involvement with that effort, the protests we’d be hearing would be at the same level they were in 2000 over Bush’s “compassionate conservatism,” with the possible exception of additional complaints about McCain-Feingold from libertarian types such as myself.

    Any candidate + Mexicans = conservative anathema. Luckily for McCain, moderates and independents aren’t nearly so worked up over Mexicans, hence his ballot victories.


  42. Seerak Says:

    *The* fundamental premise of conservatism, without which there is no modern conservative movement, is that the individual is responsible for his or her own actions.

    Er, no, that’s an Enlightenment *liberal* premise, that follows from the even more fundamental principle of individual rights. If that were a “fundamental” premise of conservatism, conservatives wouldn’t be trying to expand government power over the individual with the contradictory notion that “rights impose responsibility”.

    Rather, conservatism shares with its mirror image the Left, that it is something “greater” than the individual self which is the moral arbiter (either society, God, or some combination thereof), and the only difference is *who* controls the machinery of State to enforce their idea of what the “grater something” requires.

    As evidence, I cite the willingness of so many conservatives to overlook McCain’s complete ignorance/disdain for freedom of speech (another fundamental Enlightenment idea) in order to consider his mere “electability” — i.e. his ability to acquire power.

  43. Rich Rostrom Says:

    My take on McCain is simple. I would vote for him over any Democrat, but only as the lesser of two evils. He has shown far too much willingness to “grow in office” by dumping on conservatives and fellow Republicans. He is solid on some issues: the war, spending, abortion, same-sex marriage.

    But otherwise, he’s mush: wrong on immigration, civil liberties, “global warming”, ANWR, taxes. He brokered the sell-out “compromise” on judicial confirmations, and it looks like he would appoint a Kennedy or Souter type Justice rather than a Thomas or Scalia.

    Most importantly, he has consistently shown that he is deeply offended by criticism from the right, and retaliates by moving left – but not the other way around. And he responds to flattery from the left by moving left Basically, he’s malleable – I don’t think he can stand up to the pressure from the left media, the left bureaucracy, the left NGOs. They rolled him on campaign finance.

  44. Greg Says:

    Look, it’s really quite simple:

    1: John McCain is a McCainiac, not a Republican. He is “John McCain first, everyone else can go screw themselves.”

    That’s bad, but not a deal-breaker. However:

    2: The way John McCain has chosen to support himself is by trashing the Republican party, and, specifically, Republican conservatives.

    Not “disagree with”. Trash.

    The MSM only support Republicans when they attack other Republicans. McCain wants the MSM to love him, so he continually attacks other Republicans.

    I’m ok with an R politician disagreeing with me. (Heck, Rudy was my first choice candidate). I’m not ok with a Republican politician attacking me, or my beliefs. I’m not ok with a “Republican” politician who repeats Democrat Party talking points.


    So I will not support John McCain.

    If his opponent is Hillary I will vote for him. But I won’t go out and work for him, and I won’t try to get other people I know to vote for him.

    And I’m going to laugh my ass off when his MSM “friends” destroy him during the general election. Anyone who thinks the MSM will give McCain any “love” while he’s running for President as the Republican nominee is an idiot. Anyone who thinks McCain will still be a decent candidate when he doesn’t have the press in the tank for him hasn’t been paying attention to John McCain for the last 8 years.

    So, all you “moderate” Republicans out there: have fun. Good luck. Hope you’re ready to work your asses off to get McCain elected President. I expect I’ll be seeing you all in the shopping malls, giving up your weekends to campaign for McCain.

    Because we conservatives aren’t going to give up our weekends for him, any more than you all give up your weekends to push our candidates.

  45. Greg Says:

    Seerak Says: Er, no, that’s an Enlightenment *liberal* premise

    Yep. And Enlightenment “liberals” are American conservatives. American “liberals” are not.

  46. Amans Patriae Says:

    Contemporary “liberals” aren’t “liberals” at all, rather they are Progressives. Herbert Croly, one of the founders of the Progressive Cargo Cult, explicitly rejected any role for “precedent,” which is to say tradition, in public policy while insisting that leaps of faith in his “civic religion” compensate entirely for any gaps or uncertainties in “knowledge.”

    “A reasonable human government must recognize the limits within which precedent and knowledge can be made serviceable to mankind. We cannot derive policy from knowledge alone. On the contrary, social knowledge has been and will be to a constantly greater extent the fruit of policy. Hence the function and the necessity of this progressive democratic faith. It must have the courage to select and to insist and to dare, in the hope that its insistence and daring will make the difference between adding something and adding nothing to the social consummation. Such is the sense in which faith is indispensable to social progress. It is the spiritual possession wherewith a democracy will convert the necessary mechanism of society into the veritable instruments of its needs; and by the use of these instruments, not merely to accomplish, perhaps, certain useful results, but add to the energy and the wealth of its own life.” [Herbert David Croly, "Progressive Democracy" (New York: Macmillan, 1914), p. 183]

    Aren’t experiments, especially social experiments, on such a grand scale irrational—and, therefore, unscientific? Can such flights of fancy or leaps of faith legitimately claim kinship to “The Enlightenment”?

    Incidentally, have you noticed the recent emergence of the Progressive Libertarians, those who claim John Stuart Mill’s mantle but reject his intellectual legacy?

  47. Greg Says:

    Oh, for those who say John McCain is in it for “the country” rather than just for himself, I offer two counter-examples.

    1: McCain-Feingold
    What was the purpose of McCain-Feingold? It was to keep us peasants from being able to criticize our “betters” (which is to say: incumbent politicians). Such as John McCain. Thus his fight to get bloggers regulated, and thus his fight, in “Wisconsin Right to Life”, to prevent the Wisconsin Right to Life organization to criticize and lobby Russ Feingold before his 2004 election.

    That’s not the position taken by someone who values our country, or our ability to have political discouse.

    2: The Gang of 14.
    The Republican President was having his nominees, nominees who would have advanced the Republican Party agenda, blocked by a minority of Democrat senators. That President, and the Republican Party Senate leadership, came up with a way to stop this minority from forcing their will on the rest of us.

    John McCain sabotaged that plan, because while the plan was good for the Republican party (and therefore, assuming you support Republican Party principles, good for the country), it was bad for his personal power. And given a choice between helping the Party, or helping himself, John McCain told the rest of us to screw off.

    Right back at you, John.

  48. Larry J Says:

    I can’t speak for anybody else, but in my case my anger toward McCain springs from his own actions. As a voter I value six issues highly:

    1) national security, including the war against islamist terrorism
    2) border security
    3) economic policy
    4) civil liberties
    5) respect for law and law enforcement
    6) personal ethics on the part of my elected leaders

    McCain fails, totally and absolutely, on issues 2, 4, 5, and 6.

    If you ignore just about everything McCain has done as a Senator then he’d make a great president. It’s like the old bad joke, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”

    Sorry, “vote for me because the other side sucks even worse” just doesn’t inspire.

  49. Serket Says:

    Thank you for this article. I do not understand why people are demanding perfection from this guy when he has voted conservatively on issues 83% of the time during his entire senate career. Think Obama, Clinton or Kerry are better? All of them score less than 10%.

    The thing I especially do not understand is how people HATE McCain and LOVE Romney. What did Romney ever do as governor that is considered conservative? He has made changes on illegal immigration, abortion, gun rights, taxes, and gay rights. Plus he claims to be a lifelong hunter and that his family marched with King, both of which appear to be dishonest.

    Another point against Romney is how poorly the economy was run while he was governor: higher taxes and poor job growth. He did manage to turn around the Olympics, but why couldn’t he do the same for Massachusettes and even made it worse?

    As far as Huckabee being a spoiler, I think that is just childish. He is probably leading in more states than Romney is. He won’t win, but he could take second. Consider something else: according to the polls over at RCP, Romney and Huckabee would be slaughtered in a general election. McCain is the only person who can beat them.

    I agree that McCain has been rude lately, but Romney accused McCain of voting against Bush’s tax cuts and left out the part that he also opposed them. I know McCain is getting slack for his business comments. Glenn Beck has received flack about businesses before and he loathes John McCain. McCain appears to be a small government guy, so what policies did he propose that would hurt businesses? Or is it just rhetoric?

  50. Daily Pundit » Does That Do It? Says:

    [...] BobKrumm.com » I don’t get the McCainimosity I don’t get it. Sure, John McCain has disappointed me on some issues. But what elected official hasn’t? [...]

  51. Arturo Says:

    Might vote for McCain just to watch him go absolutely Captain Queeg berserk as the inevitable back-bench conservatives take him on from the right like McCain himself repeatedly took on Bush from the left — to the delight of MSM. And I don’t mind McCain assuaging his fund raising greed and his Kerry-like marrying of money through the medium of his various liberal policy posturings, but Jeez, this man is dumb as well as arrogant and he doesn’t know it — for this winning is no cure. And I’m way past tired of trying to justify the policy jumble of compassionate conservative, George Bush – let the Republican moderates be responsible for their Pres. McCain. Won’t vote for Billary either, may write in Fred.

  52. Greg Says:

    Serket Says: The thing I especially do not understand is how people HATE McCain and LOVE Romney. What did Romney ever do as governor that is considered conservative?

    I don’t love Romney. I consider him the best of what’s left.

    I hate McCain, because he goes out of his way to screw conservatives. Mitt put it really well:

    “I think what will happen across the country is that conservatives will give a good thought to whether or not they want to hand the party’s nomination over to Senator McCain. He has not been their champion over the last several years,”

    I couldn’t care less what your ACU rating is. I care very much what you go on TV and say. If every time I see you in the press, you’re bashing conservatives, then you’re not a conservative, no matter how you vote in the Senate.

    That answer your question?

  53. Jack Says:


    You folks deserve 8 more years of the Clintons!

  54. Webutante Says:

    I’m with you, Bob.

    When I hear Ann Coulter talk about prefering to vote for Hillary(!?) rather than McCain, I can only scratch my head in total bewilderment.

  55. Bill Quick Says:

    Bob, I made it quite clear at Daily Pundit that I opposed McCain because of his assault on the First Amendment via McCain-Feingold.

    You replied that George Bush’s signing of McCain-Feingold was also reprehensible, but that is irrelevant. Bush isn’t running, and McCain is.

    Would you care to explain why those of us who value constitutionally protected liberties should vote for McCain, given his contempt for the First Amendment?

    Does that contempt help you to understand the animosity for McCain in conservative and libertarian quarters?

  56. davis,br Says:

    Webutante? – Maybe you and Bob aren’t paying attention.

    You just might want to consider that sometimes politics in a free nation is at its core something more than a team sport where you passionately root for your side.

    Consider the implication of someone who has stated that he prefers “clean” government even at the expense of the free speech granted to free men by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

    Umm, who gets to decide what “clean” means?

    And whether “clean” is even possible in politics?

    Well, it won’t be you deciding. Or even asking. You see, if you talk about it, you’ll be breaking the law. McCain’s law.

    McCain did that. To you …not, I might point out, “for” you. He did it because it helps keep incumbents in power, by denying We the People the right of free speech granted to us by the Founders in the Bill of Rights.

    And you want to grant him even more power?

    That’s just …crazy …and that’s why, after voting (in reverse order) for Bush2, for Bob Dole, for Bush1, for Ronald Reagan, and for Richard Nixon …my vote will – after all these years – be for Hilary.

    Not because I like her (god knows that ain’t ever gonna be the case), but because the Republican party – my party – will have given their nomination to a man I truly consider a danger to the very foundation of the Republic.

    And that happened because people like you didn’t pay attention.


  57. bob Says:

    Bill, As I explained on your site, I place as much or more blame on President Bush for McCain-Feingold than I do on the sponsors of the bill. McCain was wrong. Clearly. But Bush knew he was wrong, knew it was unconstitutional, and signed the popular bill anyway expecting that the Supreme Court would overrule it for him. I have more scorn for the moral coward than I do for the man who was wrong.

    . . . and yet you and I both supported Bush’s reelection four years ago. We had no choice because the alternative was much worse. Politics is the art of the practical, and all fiery internet punditry rhetoric aside, John McCain is a far better alternative for the future direction of this country than Hillary Clinton. Do you really think that she’s going to be any less a danger to the First Amendment?

    (BTW, we also both strongly supported Fred Thompson, who strongly supported the M-F bill, which is another reason that I think McCain-Feingold is just cover for something else that bothers conservatives about McCain. And I really think that something else is McCain’s FU attitude.)

    And Mr. Davis, I was paying attention, thank you very much. That’s why I supported Fred. But he ain’t in the race now is he? (Sadly) We’re left with a guy who talks 180 away from how he governed just two years ago, a guy who in every way except abortion belongs in the other party, and John McCain. At least with him I know on what issues I’m going to disagree. I prefer that to four years of disappointment after expecting a conservative who turned out not to be one. We have enough recent experience with that now, don’t we?

  58. rightwingprof Says:

    That’s the paradox of McCain’s personality. He can be abusive, arrogant, and downright nasty, but he can also be extremely charismatic. He needs to get some of that charisma back before November.

  59. Amans Patriae Says:

    The late Professor William Barclay of Glasgow University observed that the word “charisma,” though rare, even in classical Greek, occurs seventeen times in the “New Testament.”

    “The whole basic idea of the word (charisma) is that of a free and undeserved gift, of something given to a man unearned and unmerited, something which comes from God’s grace and which could never have been achieved or attained or possessed by a man’s own effort.” [William Barclay, “New Testament Words” (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1974), p. 63]

    Of course, German political economist and sociologist Max Weber remarked that, in principle, there are three ways to legitimate the rule by human beings of other human beings; custom, charisma, and law:

    “Then there is the authority of the exceptional, personal ‘gift of grace,’ or charisma, the entirely personal devotion to, and personal trust in, revelations, heroism, or other qualities of leadership in an individual. This is ‘charismatic rule,’ as exercised by the prophet or, in the field of politics, by the chosen war-lord or the plebiscitarian ruler, the great demagogue and leader of a political party.” [Max Weber, “The Profession and Vocation of Politics” (1919) in “Weber: Political Writings,” edited by Peter Lassman and Ronald Spiers (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 311]

    If charisma is, indeed, an unmerited gift of God’s grace or favor, it seems horrendous for a politician to squander it through pettiness.

  60. James C. Bennett Says:

    If, as seems likely, McCain wins the Republican nomination, then both parties’ candidates for president will be pro-big government, pro-amnesty, pro-tax, anti-freedom, anti-business socialists who used their power as Senator to block conservative judicial nominations. If the next president must have these qualities, I’d rather they have a (D) after their name, if for no other reason than to preserve the GOP as a flag for those of us who hold the opposite positions to rally around. Hence, in this scenario, I will vote for whoever the Democrat candidate might be. In order to do my part avoid this scenario, I will vote for “Anyone but McCain” in Tuesday’s California primary. Alas, that appears to be a vote for Romney, who is little better. Oh well. I don’t have any faith left that a McCain candidacy can be avoided. What I won’t do is sit out the primary or the election. “Nominate someone I can support or I will actively sabotage your efforts” is a much stronger position than “Nominate someone I can support or I won’t play.”

  61. Greg Says:

    Hey Bob,

    Perhaps this will explain the “McCainimosity” to you:

    Yesterday’s Washington Post had this gem from McCain:

    The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza asked whether the radio hosts’ displeasure might be explained by “the fact that you never tried to court these people, suck up to them like Romney did.”

    “Great question!” McCain answered, laughing at the thought. “I never would suck up the way all those other guys did, those suck-ups.”

    Sucking up to the New York Times = “Straight Talk”. Good
    “Sucking up” to conservative press = “sucking up”. Bad.

  62. Pete Says:

    Let’s hope Buzz’s theory is right…that the left, like clockwork, and as sure as night and day, will stab McCain in the back the MOMENT…he becomes the nominee for the first time in years, and then the true battle for conservatism will begin when Rip Van McWinkle McCain gets jolted out of the liberalized hypnotic voodoo trance he’s been in, and finally realize he better really jump to the side who will defend him against the big lib media and the Clinton-Obama Oligarchy machine-congomerate.