McCain Vs. Social Conservatives And Talk Radio + Get Off The Social Conservatives’ Back

Via Hotline on Call, these quotes from John McCain in Esquire explain why he’ll never be the GOP’s nominee in 2008:

“I understand the frustrations a lot of Republicans feel. We’re not representing their hopes and dreams and aspirations. We worry about Ms. Schiavo before we worry about balancing the budget. We’re going to take up this Family Marriage Amendment again. Why? The Republicans will vote one way, and the Democrats will vote another, and everybody knows it! It’s pointless. I’ve never seen Washington as polarized as it is today.”

McCain: “I would never say this publicly, but some of these talk-show hosts — and I’m not saying they should be taken off the air; they have the right to do what they want to do — I don’t think they’re good for America.”

McCain: “I urge my friends who complain about the influence of the religious Right, get out there and get busy. That’s what they do! Now, if we believe in the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, the big-tent party, then we have to get out there and show that. The fact is, some of us have sat idly by while those very active people have basically set the agenda for our party. I get attacked everyday because I’m working with Ted Kennedy. How can I work with Kennedy? Because I want to get something done.”

See, this is McCain’s very subtle way of reassuring people that the “Jesus freaks” haven’t gotten to him despite the fact that he’s making nice with Falwell.

Let’s take it from the top, shall we? Trying to save Terri Schiavo’s life? Stupid. Trying to protect marriage? Stupid. Then there’s the implication that social conservatives don’t believe in the, “Republican party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt” and that he doesn’t like the agenda of the Religious Right.

It’s amusing that McCain takes all these very indirect shots at Conservative Christians while simultaneously talking about how the GOP needs to be a “big-tent party.” Newsflash, Johnny Boy: there is no group outside the tent looking in that’s bigger than the social conservatives who are already inside. Moreover, one of the best ways to bring more people into the tent is via social conservatism, since there is already an anti-religion Party (the Democrats) that has lots of religious, black and Hispanic, Americans in it.

As an aside, I’m not a social conservative, but I’ve never really gotten this sort of weird hostility some Libertarian/financial conservatives have towards Christian conservatives. As a general rule, you don’t see social conservatives complaining that we’re trying to balance the budget or cut taxes, do you? No, they support those goals even if they’re not always as vocal about them as conservatives with different priorities tend to be. But, then when social conservatives turn around and want their agenda pushed, not only do they not get the same support that they generally tend to give, they get huffy whiners like McCain complaining that anyone pays attention to them at all. The whole attitude is, “Who do these Christians think they are”? They’re the people who helped turn the GOP into a Majority Party. How about saying, “thank you,” to the social conservatives some time instead of sneering at them — or at the very least trying to disagree with them without being disagreeable?

Now, back to one last telling comment from McCain:

“I would never say this publicly, but some of these talk-show hosts — and I’m not saying they should be taken off the air; they have the right to do what they want to do — I don’t think they’re good for America.”

Of course, McCain is going to take that line because he’s roundly disliked in the new media. Bloggers can’t stand him. Talk radio hosts think he’s a big part of what’s wrong with the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh, the biggest fish in the conservative media, regularly singles McCain out for ridicule.

So, McCain would love to find a way to marginalize all these voices before they fall on him, like a school of piranha on wounded fawn, during the primaries. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for the Republican Party, it’s not going to work. All those social conservatives and the new media are going to team up to beat John McCain down in the GOP primaries and then McCain will have lots of free time to focus on “working with Ted Kennedy” in the Senate.

* Hawkins’ note: This post has been edited slightly, mainly for clarity’s sake.

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