Steamboat Springs The media coverage of the race to the White House is very entertaining. Who needs "Law and Order" when we have Fox News and conservative talk show radio to give us daily updates on the fiasco within the Democratic Party?
Ditto heads around the globe delight as Rush Limbaugh launches "Operation Chaos" in an effort to keep Hillary's embattled campaign alive. Meanwhile, Democratic operatives scramble to regroup and hide their ever increasing anxiety from their liberal supporters.
While Clinton and Obama continue to call each other names like "Judas" and "monster," the senator from Arizona remains above the fray and travels the U.S. in an effort to shore up his base and let the American people get to know him. Unfortunately, for us Reagan loyalists, he has not demonstrated with any regularity his loyalty to the core principles of conservatism. And his voting record in the Senate has some of us worried about his tendency to reach across the aisle and pander to the opposition. Whether people think he is too moderate or too old, it is hard not to have respect for the former POW's courage and loyalty in the prison camps of Vietnam.
Despite being reassured by his belief in staying the course in Iraq, there is still reason for Republicans to feel uncomfortable about a McCain candidacy. In his first major speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, McCain said the U.S. cannot lead by virtue of its power alone. As a world superpower, why would we compromise the sovereignty of the U.S. by pretending that we must reach out to nations that don't have our best interests at heart? On July 4, 1962, JFK reinforced "the firm intention of America to not abdicate its leadership to any nation or society committed to systematic human suppression."
Whatever the differences, the reality is that John McCain is the GOP nominee and it is not the time for conservatives to abandon ship. A divided party is a Democratic Party. Rather than cause divisiveness similar to theirs, it is in our best interests to unite and stand strong to ensure a November victory.
McCain's moderate leanings may actually serve to increase his chances to win. It is no secret that in '06, many Congressional seats were lost because an important sector of electorate was ignored by Republicans - moderates and swing voters. Recent polls have suggested that if Obama or Clinton were to drop out, as much as 30 percent of their voting base plan to support McCain in the general election.
Eventually, however, the Republican Party needs to assess its past mistakes and pledge to commit itself to rebuilding the majority coalition that Ronald Reagan created in the '80s. These are the core principles of conservatism - those of preserving the rights of the individual and limiting government intervention, to name two. And it is the conservative base that can be a role model for the restoration process that needs to occur within the Republican Party.
Goals must be defined, and unity is key. After the '08 election, there should be plenty of opportunity for growth, considering the Democrats' ineptitude and partisanship have earned them the lowest congressional job approval numbers in recent history
If McCain is smart, he will choose a true conservative as his running mate in November. One can only hope that he has the wisdom to do that. For now, as the Democrat contenders continue to declare war on each other, I plan to sit back, relax and watch the show.
Pass the popcorn, please!
Mary K. Allen lives in Steamboat Springs and Mequon, Wis. She enjoys working in the campaigns of conservative candidates and attending functions by the Leadership Program of the Rockies. Mary is a director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado.