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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Is McCain A Chimera?

(graphic by Kelly)

Over two and a half years ago, In the commentary section of the December 25, 2005 post, "Tell It, Colin. Let Them Eat Yellow Fruit and Yellow Cake" ( blogger Phelonious made a comment that inspired rumination, and warrants posting.

The age of the original material should be of no concern. Republicus has demonstrated that he is ahead of the curve and the subject still relevant (if not more so).

Phelonius said:

Bush has not been good for the Republicans in many ways, as per the whole spend philosophy along with a weak border patrol, etc..
Republicus' response will be reproduced here and elaborated upon:

Right, which were not lost on conservatives who vote Republican. Hence the splintering and sharding of his base that caused his approvals to plummet below 40%.

Certainly, Bush has compromised traditional Republican identities and principles with his big spending "compassionate conservativism" wooing of bleeding hearts and with his Neoconservative Foreign Policy jettisoning of traditionally right-wing Isolationism and Cold War realpolitik Realism while embracing intervensionist Wilsonian Idealism (hitherto the butt of many a right-wing joke), engendering the Big Government Department of Homeland Security in the process and presiding over congresses--first Republican, now Democrat--that have spent their way into record deficits with no fear of a presidential veto.

All that was similar--in an inverse way-- to what Clinton did to the Democratic Party, with his "New Democrat" triangulations to the right, e.g. the closeting of homesexuals in the military with his "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell" policy, welfare reform, balanced budgets, military intervensionism in the Baltics and Iraq, etc., all of which were compelled by Republicans and a conservative electorate and angered many in his liberal base.

And now we have the "maverick" McCain at the top of the Republican ticket, working hard to woo disgruntled conservatives whom he had alienated in the past because he allied himself with liberal Democrats to succesfully pass policies that, though principled in intent, would end up harming his own party, like the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002.

In the campaign of 2000, he criticized the leaders of the Religious Right (namely, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell), which lost him the Virginia Primary and practically handed the nomination to Born-Again Bush.

Meanwhile, his Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama--the most liberal member of the senate-- took a post-Primary hard-right turn and sprints past McCain's positioning in the center to outflank him on the right with his declaration that he would unilaterally bomb a sovereign country (i.e. Pakistan) should intelligence warrant it, that he supports handguns, Capital Punishment, and FISA, opposes same-sex "marriage," and now even wears the flag pin he once mocked.

And such collisions in the center and the overruns create fusions of sorts that result in chimerical hybrids.

A few things should be noted about these political creatures:

1. As Kelly insightfully selected in her graphic, the (GOP/conservative) elephant's head is front and center and looms larger than it's now Siamese twin (Democratic/liberal) donkey-- which properly looks grafted.

Such a domination is demonstrated by the fact that, in the mid-to-late 1990's, Clinton had to triangulate to the right to maintain his political viability.

In the election of 2004, George W. Bush received the greatest number of popular votes in the history of Democracy thanks in large part to his wooing and succesful rallying of the conservative base.

Nevertheless, the far-right conservative purist is nearly (nearly, mind you) as marginalized as the far-left radical, and these two form the snake at the extreme tail-end of the beast, which can wag the dog (and does during the Primary season).

Out in front, however, there seems to be a conjoining at the neck of the two parties--if not an outright conflating and morphing-- on important points with the "irreconcilable differences" kept alive by the extremists on both ends preventing full consummation by pulling back on the coattails rather than riding them towards unity.

The morphing was enabled by Neoconservative and "maverick" lions gradually displacing the traditional elephant's head and goatish "New Democrats" displacing the donkey's, with the paleos pushed back and extenuated to form the serpentine tail, as the mythical beast was originally depicted:

2. Is this sort of "meeting in the middle" a "betrayal" of the base principles of the duelling parties?

Not necessarily, as a "Big Tent" is preferrable to a log cabin (or the Alamo, for that matter) if the base principles are to flourish--even if diluted--in a country of over 300,000,000 people strong, comprised of different genders, diverse races, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds, i.e. the vast "Middle America" whose support each candidate covets and tries to make feel at home in their respective political houses (however xenophobic the original builders and occupants may be).

That this swath of the country is more conservative than liberal, anyway, is evident by the fact that both McCain and Obama try hard to assure the electorate that they're conservative--McCain explicitly so while Obama postures that implicitly--with neither ever thinking or daring to declare "I'm damn proud to be a liberal."

And so McCain is "betraying" nothing.

Obama, on the other hand...

3. Is the political "chimera" a new phenomenon?

Some paragon of conservative virtue is imagined that is used as the standard for "authentic" conservatism, and that is usually Ronald Reagan.

But consider:

The amiable Reagan was good pals with Democratic Speaker of the House Tip 'O Neal. He bailed out of Lebanon after the barracks bombing killed sleeping Marines. He solved the illegal alien problem back then by legalizing them. He came out of Hollywood (granted, it was Charlton Heston, Jimmy Stewart, and John Wayne's Hollywood).

Last but not least, he was actually a Democrat before he switched to being a Republican.

That's quite a flip-flop.

And yet there should be no doubt that Ronald Reagan was indeed conservative to the core in his values and outlook...and which is why his switch to the GOP did not undermine his integrity, but answered it.

During the darkest days of McCain's standing within his own party, and feeling betrayed by the president, he was offered an opportunity to switch to the Democratic Party and start anew.

Despite the many fellow Republicans--and more grassroots conservatives--who would've said "Good riddance," and with his future with the GOP jeopardized--and the red carpet rolled out by Democrats-- Mac refused, asserting "I'm a Republican."

That's conservative integrity, and Republican to the core, and there's nothing chimerical about it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poltics is messy, ain't it!

10:37 AM  
Blogger John said...

That's the way hoi kakoi like it.

Like Eris, they throw the Apple of Discord among hoi polloi and thus sow confusion and dissent, blame hoi kaloi, and promise "Hope" and "Change" from the strife they themselves sowed.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's their stratergury, all right.

btw - I think Putin and the Russians can thank the German's and the French for their new Georgian dacha's on the Black Sea... a payoff for cheap gas from Gazprom.

I hate allies... ;-)

12:20 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Hey, you finally used that pic! Cool!

If this were to depict Obama it would have a huge donkey face with a itty bitty tiny elephant.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

btw, John,...that was 2 1/2 years go...December 2005.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That's impressive. I can't sit five minutes on a saved post... ;-)

2:20 PM  
Blogger John said...

I've got a huge backlog. I still have houstonmod's beating on ice (and he's going to need some when I'm done).

Kelly: He'd be a donkey in shoddy, third-rate elephant suit (if not a wolf in sheep's clothing).

2:30 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

John, you just gave me an idea ;)

3:26 PM  
Blogger John said...

Go for it. :)

3:37 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Obama in sheep's clothing ;)

3:58 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

...more coming...

4:15 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

This is too much fun!

4:28 PM  
Blogger John said...


That first one is da bomb.

5:56 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

"In the election of 2004, George W. Bush received the greatest number of popular votes in the history of Democracy thanks in large part to his wooing and succesful rallying of the conservative base."

it wasn't JUST the conservative base, john - it was the EVANGELICAL base - john mccain should be so lucky this time around - he needs to choose romney as v.p. - only 20% of evangelicals will not go for it and will stay home as there's no way they'll vote for obama.

the issue? romney's former pro-choice stance - some evangelicals cannot forgive him. they are not true evangelicals.

i will not vote for mccain if he doesn't choose a pro-life running mate. period.

hey, we all fall down. it is how we pick ourselves up that matters in the long run.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

"i will not vote for mccain if he doesn't choose a pro-life running mate. period."

That is a major issue in my book, too.

Common, Mccain, pick Romney!!!!!!!

If there is anyone that has been a bigger supporter of the McCain campaign I would like to see him...Romney has been a major asset to McCain and his run for the Oval Office.

11:24 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

kelly - if he chooses a pro-choice running mate, what little faith i have left for this party will be gonzo - fizzled - nevermore.

richard land has been doing many programs on this very issue on christian radio and although he's not in a position to endorse a candidate (at last mention), has really been pushing for romney (under his breath).

9:41 AM  
Blogger John said...

Agreed. Romney's the way to go.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Phelonius said...


I like the way you portray how McCain is going to have to continue his course regardless of what George W. does or does not do. We live in a "single-issue" push-button reactionary atmosphere whether it comes from the far right or the far left. Even as a Libertarian, I am going to vote for McCain even though I disagree with him a good percentage of time. The reason is that if I do not, then there is a possibility of an Obama White House.

You hearing me Nanc? You may represent the extreme right, but if you vote for anybody else, you are going to put the FAR left into the White House. You understand this? Obama is not just pro-choice, he is for partial birth abortions. You may want to pick on McCain, but if you do not support him you are going to have something so far worse that it will pickle the leaves on your King James Bible. Follow?

Normally, as an LP candidate, I would always encourage people to vote for the superior party, but there are times when we have to choose the lesser of evils.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Actually, James...this is a "one issue" election. That issue is "Beat Obama".

BTW...good points there, my friend.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Vadim said...

Not to split hairs, but Obama isn't the most liberal member of the senate -- that would go to Bernie Sanders.

He is running further and further right now isn't he? FISA was the last straw for me and I'm planning on voting third party if he doesn't revoke it:

12:50 PM  
Blogger John said...

Welcome Vadim.

I'm going by the National Journal's 2007 rankings.

I'm aware that's come under scrutinybut still.

Can I say second "Most Liberal?"

(out of 50)

1:51 PM  
Blogger John said...

btw, how do you feel about his support for handgun rights?

And Capital Punishment?

The Faith-Based Initiative?

Unilaterally bombing a sovereign country (i.e. Pakistan) as our intelligence warrants?

His opposition to gay "marriage"?

1:57 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

phelonius - how do you feel about mccain't choosing a pro-choice candidate?

you do not guide my conscience. i'm the one who has to live with me.

we've settled long enough - we're being governed by the few because NOBODY has had the backbone to stand up and say ENOUGH!

frankly, i'm sick of people trying to cram him down my throat - and am feeling like a victim of rape. i don't like mccain, no matter how you and others dress him up.

i also believe that what happens is meant to be. i don't live for the here and now - my plans are longrange.

9:47 PM  
Blogger John said...

Nanc, I appreciate your integrity, but there's something indeed to be said about supporting the better of two bad choices.

The third choice is to spitefully sit it out and ensure the success of the worst choice.

McCain has insisted he
's Pro-Life, and his legislative record bears that out.

Obama supports the depraved partial-birth abortion procedure.

The Left is counting on you--who they hate and ridicule--to elevate them by your own uncompromising conscience.

Like I said to James, Libertarians are maligned and ridiculed when Democrats are in power, but they're given a seat at the table when the Republicans are.

Likewise Evangelicals (like you, presumably).

9:09 AM  
Blogger John said...


"Can I say second "Most Liberal?"

(out of 50)"

Out of 100, of course (at least I didn't say 57).

12:47 PM  

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