Q&A Friday #24: Why Do So Many Conservatives Dislike John McCain?
Question: “As a rightwinger in Australia, I just don’t understand why U.S. conservatives hate “RINO” McCain. Anti-abortion, pro-Iraq, anti-pork, war hero … sure, McCain-Feingold is stupid and the Gang of 14 was annoying, but why is he so unpopular? I wish we had more like him here.” — Nick Palgan (email)
Answer: There are plenty of policies and things McCain has supported that grate on many conservatives.
He’s incredibly soft on illegal immigration. McCain-Feingold campaign finance not only failed in “getting the money out of politics” & should have been ruled unconstitutional, it actually helped the Democrats gain a big 527 fund raising advantage last year. The Gang of 14 compromise was more than just “annoying.” It allowed the Democrats to have extra leverage which they then used to cow Bush into selecting a spectacularly awful candidate like Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. I could go on, but let’s just say that McCain seems to take an almost perverse delight in becoming prominently involved in legislation that conservatives detest.
Then there’s the fact McCain isn’t necessarily considered to be a loyal Republican. Back in 2002, there were some people who seriously thought McCain might switch parties. In the 2004 election, even though he turned him down in the end, McCain actually talked with Kerry multiple times about being his veep in the 2004 campaign. Can you even begin to imagine someone like George Allen or Sam Brownback switching parties? What about John Cornyn talking with John Kerry about being his vice-president?
On top of all that, McCain is an egomaniac who seems to crave approval from the press and he has no qualms whatsoever about attacking other Republicans to get it. What McCain loves to do is trash other Republicans on issues that conservatives hold dear and then sit back and wait for the liberal press to rave about what a “straight talking maverick” he is. If this happened here and there, it might be forgivable, but it’s a semi-regular thing for McCain.
Put it all together and you can see why there are so many conservatives who genuinely don’t like McCain.