Alexander Deane is one of the contributors to CentreRight.com. His work has also appeared at OnlineOpinion, in The Salisbury Review, The Quarterly Review, The Contemporary Review and The Daily Mail. He argues that US Republicans should vote for John McCain even though he’s an imperfect conservative.
Real conservatives in the UK (and there are some, even in this Europe-ruled isle) appreciate the dilemma confronting our colleagues in the USA at the moment. John McCain is far from the ideal candidate for the party of my hero, Ronald Reagan. Many of his stances are only recently anything that can be called conservative, and even after these changes he is too liberal.
But he’s what you’ve got. Now, what to do with him?
I know that many people I respect – such as Ann Coulter, no less – think of him in… let’s say, negative terms. I can understand that. But does that really mean that anyone who would normally vote for the GOP should even contemplate voting for or supporting the Democrats in the fall?
Who do you think is more likely to listen to congressional and gubernatorial Republicans – McCain, whose Presidency would depend on their support, or Hillary/Obama, who could play to their base by snubbing them? Who is more likely to appoint the right judges – a Democrat, who has to listen to the left, or a Republican, who has to listen to you?
Whilst we would hope that our leaders aren’t just “kind of” or “generally” our way inclined, in the final analysis I think that we shouldn’t hold our own to higher standards than we hold the opposition. McCain favours tax cuts – the Democrats don’t. McCain is pro-life. The Democrats are not. McCain has never espoused any kind of universal healthcare, unlike the Democrats (or, for the matter, Mitt Romney). McCain was right on Iraq. And so on. Could he be better? Yes. Is he better than any Democrat? Yes.
So the answer has got to be that winning the election is the top priority, hasn’t it?
Let’s put it bluntly. A colleague of mine, a Member of Parliament here
in the UK, wonders if it wouldn’t be better for the Republicans to take
a fall at the Presidential Election, thereby entering a period of
reflection and soul-searching that would ensure that the Party obtains
a proper philosophical grounding in conservative beliefs.
Again, I understand that but I disagree. Think of the enormous damage
a Democrat can do in the White House in four years. Think of the total
shut-out of real conservative views from the governing process, rather
than merely having a President who doesn’t offer everything you want
but knows that he needs you to continue governing. And moreover, how
can you guarantee that a period of soul-searching would be resolved
with a platform that favours conservative views, rather than views more
liberal than McCain’s?
It’s easy to sit back and say that one isn’t taking part; one’s just
sitting on the sidelines and wryly observing. But that’s artificial
and it’s ultimately wrong because these decisions will impact on your
lives. Ultimately, none of us are political observers – we’re
To a considerable extent, all our fates turn on who wins the Presidency
of the United States. So I feel that even though I can’t vote in your
election, I’m entitled to entreat – please, get behind the GOP’s
inevitable nominee. Certainly, he’s not perfect. He won’t give you
all that you want. But he’ll give you some of it – and that’s more
than you can ever say for Hillary or Obama.