Open Letter to John McCain

Dear Senator,

Hello? Is anyone listening? I know it’s been a while since you’ve turned an ear to a conservative, John, but on behalf of those of us on the right, I’d like to say that we’re sick of taking the back seat when it comes to your political agenda. Despite all your talk as of late of being an “original” Reagan conservative and supporter, not many of us are fooled when you continue to do things like “repudiate” conservative radio talk show host Bill Cunningham for his harmless and reasonable criticism of Barack Obama and refuse to admit having been wrong on certain issues like immigration, global warming, and campaign finance. And while your campaign to win over moderates and independents will probably work as you hope, the numbers are showing that you have yet to win the confidence of the conservative voter. Even this week, the media has shown evidence that as much as 25% of Republican voters are dissatisfied with you as their nominee.

That said, you may still have one saving grace short of altering your positions to suit the right: a conservative Vice Presidential running mate. In other words, a candidate who is everything that you are not, one who can fill in the void where you are lacking. But don’t take it personally. It’s just that we conservatives have become so accustomed to being betrayed by you “moderates” that we’re not sure if and when we can trust you. If you were to partner with a more dependable Republican with a solid record, however, we might at least be more so inclined.

To help appeal to the base, you’re going to need a candidate who is a reputed conservative in the areas on which you are moderate-to-liberal (and I realize this may be a tall order). For one, this calls for someone who has proven to be tough on illegal immigration, someone who has not recently changed their position and attributed it to accommodating “what the American people want.” Someone who didn’t claim in 2003 that America needs illegal immigrants to do the “jobs that American workers simply won’t do.”

A candidate who hasn’t sold out to Al Gore’s global warming apocalypse theory would be nice, too. Don’t get me wrong – conservatives are not anti-environment; we just don’t blindly buy in to the idea that humans are causing the destruction of the world buy driving cars instead of scooters. We’d at least like to have some substantial evidence. You might, then, like to consider a running mate who did not collaborate with John McCain to say that “There is now a broad consensus in this country, and indeed in the world, that global warming is happening, that it is a serious problem, and that humans are causing it.”

Now, I know this is a sore topic for you, John, but it’s one I take very seriously and one I hope other conservatives do as well. For all your tough talk about the war on terrorism, I’m not fully convinced that you believe yourself. When it comes to waterboarding terrorists, detaining terror suspects in Guantanamo, allowing terrorists criminal trials, perhaps you might look for a candidate who actually takes a “tough” stance and recognizes the severity and urgency of the war we are in? If anyone should understand how important this is, you should.

And let’s not forget about the social issues, on which you’ve claimed to be so dependable. If you are truly running a pro-life campaign as you say, conservatives will be expecting you to select a running mate who not only supports life by opposing abortion but does you one up by opposing embryonic stem cell research – and moreover, isn’t ashamed of his stance. There is currently much speculation that you may once again turn your back on the right and choose a candidate who is as moderate/liberal as yourself, if not more (think: Lieberman, Giuliani, Bloomberg). Such a move would be a slap in the face to every Republican who still has doubts about you and would be detrimental to your campaign. Even I am expecting more from you than that.

Perhaps most important in this election is the economy. You’ve already admitted to the public that you don’t have much experience in this area, and at a time when oil prices are at record highs, fears of a recession are rampant, and the U.S. market faces growing challenges from abroad, any weakness here is going to cost you. It’s likely that the economy will be the deciding factor in 2008, so this should be a no-brainer in your decision. (And with regard to taxes, I’m not even going to mention your “flip-flopping” on Bush’s tax cuts, or how Americans will be seeking a leader they can trust not to burn any bigger a hole in their wallets.) Let’s keep to someone who will stick to the Republican mantra of fiscal conservatism, shall we? As it is, we’re going to need a financial savior.

Now, John, I hate to bring this last issue up, I really do. But your age has been the subject of more scrutiny than possibly even your greatest political weaknesses, and some concerns are, indeed, legitimate. You may not feel that age will affect your ability to lead your country, but it can’t hurt to offset the public’s concerns a bit by adding a younger and fresher face to your ticket. This way, at least, we can try to avoid another year of Democrat candidates running on a platform of “better hair.” Again, it’s nothing personal.

Finally, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t end this letter by making a pitch for my personal top choice for VP. As a Mitt Romney girl myself, the choice is as clear as it was in the primaries. Like yourself, Governor Romney has already spent the past year proving his worth to the American people; unlike yourself, he has received the very support from the conservative base that you are trying with such effort now to secure. I’ll spare you my Mitt Romney talking points, but to sum it up, Mitt fills the above-mentioned voids where you are lacking precisely because he is everything you are not, and vice versa. This was made evident in the recent primary race, and Republican voters are likely to already be aware of how the two of you may complement each other.

I sincerely believe that Romney is a trustworthy conservative who can help appease whatever doubts “the base” may have about you. On every issue I have mentioned – immigration, global warming, terrorism, abortion, stem cell research, and the economy – I have found his positions to be satisfactory at the very least. Meanwhile, his famed success with business and his tested experience with the economy are everything you could hope for to compensate for your limitations in this area. His impressive track record of turning around financial crises is exactly what our country could use right now. And, of course, I have to say it: bringing Mitt’s charm, looks, and comparative youth to your ticket is the closest you can come to knocking off a few of your own years.

If you ask me, there isn’t another candidate currently out there with equal name recognition and experience who could complement your political persona as well as Mitt Romney. Even his mild manner and propriety do well to balance your tougher, more spirited character. And unlike your time spent as an elected official, his terms were served in the capacity of an executive. As a conservative voter, I’m not sure that much more can be asked of a candidate.

So, whaddaya say, John? Will you humor your poor, long-suffering conservative base a little and take some advice? It’s been a long time coming, and it’s critical if you’re going to expect our support this November. We’ve been burned before and may just be too smart to let it happen one more time. Please don’t disappoint us – I’m already getting excited thinking about McCain-Romney ’08 hats and t-shirts.

Your wary supporter,


Sharon Soon is a blogger at Conservatives with Attitude!

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