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John McCain is not the Conservative choice for president, but he will be the Republican nominee. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney split the conservative vote, thus allowing McCain to move to the front by capturing the moderate and independent votes. As Mitt Romney noted during his CPAC speech yesterday, where he suspended his presidential campaign, McCain has received 4.7 million nationwide primary votes to Romney's 4 million. McCain won 13 states to Romney's 11 states. Imagine what those numbers would be had Huckabee not been in the race, siphoning off a substantial portion of the Conservative base vote, a vote that would surely have favored Romney over the "maverick" (read "often liberal") McCain. We'd probably have a Republican frontrunner named Mitt right now, instead of a candidate that has Conservatives holding their noses, or, much worse, thinking about voting for Hillary in an act of defiant self-destruction.
I'm trying to imagine walking into the voting booth and pulling the lever (okay, touching the screen) for John McCain, and it sounds every bit as appealing as going to the dentist for a triple root canal with no anasthetic. A number of high profile conservatives have come out and said they will not vote for McCain under any circumstances. Their position is, 'if the country is going to the liberal dogs, let the liberals take the blame instead of the Republicans'. Boy, do I ever understand this position. Our current president has been a liberal on spending, as he has increased federal spending more than any president since LBJ. His administration has massively increased the federal debt, and Republicans deservedly get the blame. An excerpt from Ann Coulter's latest column summarizes the 'let the liberals take the blame' attitude:
If Hillary is elected president, we'll have a four-year disaster, with Republicans ferociously opposing her, followed by Republicans zooming back into power, as we did in 1980 and 1994, and 2000. (I also predict more Oval Office incidents with female interns.)
If McCain is elected president, we'll have a four-year disaster, with the Republicans in Congress co-opted by "our" president, followed by 30 years of Democratic rule.
There's your choice, America.
I admit this is an attractive proposition at this point in the presidential proceedings, and I considered it. Putting liberals in power WILL shortly result in Republicans returning to power. It makes some sense, except for one thing:
COUNTRY COMES BEFORE PARTY.
Ironically, and intentionally, it was Romney himself who provided the reason to vote for McCain during his powerful CPAC concession speech:
ROMNEY: Now, I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know, but I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, and finding and executing Osama bin Laden.
And I agree with him on eliminating al-Qaida and terror worldwide.
Now, if I fight on, in my campaign, all the way to the convention ... I want you to know, I've given this a lot of thought — I'd forestall the launch of a national campaign and, frankly, I'd make it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win. Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.
This isn't an easy decision. I hate to lose.
My family, my friends, you, my supporters across the country, you've given a great deal to get me to where I have a shot to becoming president. If this were only about me, I'd go on. But it's never been only about me. I entered this race — I entered this race because I love America. And because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country.
AUDIENCE: No! No!
ROMNEY: You guys are great.
I will continue to stand for conservative principles. I'll fight alongside you for all the things we believe in. And one of the things we believe in is that we cannot allow the next president of the United States to retreat in the face of evil extremism. It is the common task of each generation and the burden of liberty to preserve this country, expand its freedoms and renew its spirit, so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future. To this task, accepting this burden, we're all dedicated. And I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed beyond our fondest hope.
America must always remain, as it has always been, the hope of the Earth.
Folks, we can't let Hillary or Obama win. There's too much at stake. Though the idea of McCain in the White House doesn't appeal to me, it sure beats the alternative. It sures beats caving to Islamofascism. It sure beats tons of new federal spending at the exact wrong moment in history, that would kill our economy and guarantee our children's future hardship. It sure beats higher taxation in the face of a recession. It sure beats burdening business with tons of new regulations and taxes. It sure beats liberals with unchecked power.
Conservatives should have united behind Mitt Romney, who was the best choice, but alas, they didn't. It was an opportunity missed, but we can't just fold up the tent and let the socialists take over. That would be unpatriotic.