Why McCain has a Republican problem

Why McCain has a Republican problem
By Emil Franzi, Reprinted from The Explorer

Once upon a losing try for the GOP Presidential nomination, when John McCain was taking heat over an angry response, I announced I was chairing a new group — “Guys with a bad temper for McCain.”

I’m no McCain basher, but I’ve been a McCain critic when needed and I once wrote a column titled “Senator Mood Ring.” That concept needs further development.

John McCain is currently running about even per a Rasmussen poll in the 2010 GOP primary with former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth. Here’s why.

Millions of Republicans and millions more independents, many who were once Republicans, are generally movement conservatives who read, watch and hear the real alternative media in America and buy all those books on the NY Times best-seller list that the NY Times won’t review. They know what a conservative really is and the many issues about which there is a consensus among them. They judge Republican politicians based on those issues and values. They gave up on Democrats long ago when Zell Miller retired. Blue Dogs are pastel at best.

These voters support candidates over issues and will generally accept some deviations. Mike Huckabee? “Soft on crime” as governor, too populist on economics, likes flaky stuff like term limits and “fair tax” that conservatives are divided over. Hard core on everything else. Mitt Romney? Never quite figured out the gun issue and there’s that hokey health care thing in Massachusetts. Otherwise seems OK. Fred Thompson? Supported McCain-Feingold and squishy on immigration. Newt Gingrich? Will never live down sitting on the couch with Al Sharpton on climate change and the NY 23 endorsement of a GOP candidate who withdrew to support the Democrat. Rudy Guiliani? Calls himself a moderate, loses social conservatives on abortion and gay marriage but good on many other things.

The only current major GOP figure who fits the conservative issue consensus is Sarah Palin, which accounts for her popularity among them and the genuine loathing she generates in doctrinaire liberals and those who suck up to them.

Most conservatives know which issues these folks will support or oppose and can pick and choose accordingly. Hardcore social conservative gun owners can forgive Huckabee’s economic transgressions, right-to-lifers can believe Giuliani would appoint strict constructionists. With the possible exception of Newt, they know who they can count on for what.

John McCain? Co-sponsored McCain-Feingold, wants to control the “gun show loophole,” soft on immigration, drank the climate change Kool-Aid with Newt, among other transgressions, yet still maintains a respectable 70 percent or so voting record with the American Conservative Union, is s a hawk on big spending and foreign policy, opposes Obamacare and this Cap and Trade Bill — and he’s why we’ve heard of Sarah.

I discussed McCain with three knowledgeable local conservatives, all pre-dating Tea Parties, and all three raised their core objection — “I don’t trust him.” There is no consistent thread in McCain’s anti-conservative positions. Conservatives — and others — simply don’t know which issue he’s going to dump on them over next.

McCain has another habit not uncommon among elected officials of both parties in a desire to control the party structure by choosing its leadership and choosing its issues. He has enraged many conservative GOP workers by often supporting leadership from the “moderate” wing of the party, most of whom have been defeated.

Were he a panderer like Senator Spector or spineless like Senator Snowe, much of this behavior could be understood. He’s not. That frustrates folks even more. What accounts for McCain’s political inconsistencies requires psychological insights deeper than I possess. Suffice that they are about to cause him a tough fight for re-nomination by his own party.

Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays on KVOI 1030AM.


  1. Main issue for any challenger… MONEY. Mccain has 12 mil in the bank. No else can come close to that. That to me is why he is the over whelming favorite still.

    This is especially true because jd has not and will not jump in the race. Every day he waits is another day he is not raising money.

  2. McCain’s membership on the Council of Foreign Relations explains a lot. This panderer to La Raza is no conservative. He’s the living definition of Republican In Name Only. He’s negatively impacted the Republican Party to the same extent Reagan affected it positively.

    Anybody But McCain.

  3. Excellent points. I don’t trust him either. He’s good on about 75% of the issues, but the other 25% are HUGE: including McCain-Feingold, illegal immigration (amnesty), and others you mentioned. Add to that, McCain’s habit of slamming conservatives who disagree with him or who attack liberals in a way he doesn’t approve and not criticizing liberals, is just too much “Let’s reach across the aisle” crapola. But now that he sees the polls and he’s running to save his Senate seat, he needs to shore up his conservative credentials, so he’s become a Democrat-basher on some important issues. If he had been this agressive during the ’08 presidential election, we might be calling him “Mr. President.”

  4. Any senator who calls the governor of the state represents and screams at her is suspect in my book… pyschologically unfit, indeed!

  5. Phx Phil, you can’t claim that one issue defines whether a politician is a “RINO” or not (I personally hate that word). If so, Regan’s tax hikes and enormous government growth immediately discredit all of the good he did.

  6. Good Article.

  7. McCain picked Palin to be his “battle-buddy.” But when the campaign went into high gear, McCain didn’t have Palin’s back. End of it.

  8. Sean, One issue?? McCain/Feingold, McCain/Kyl/Kennedy, Close our gun show liberty (McCain calls it a loophole), remove the Sanctity of Life Plank from the platform, Crafted the $700 Billion TARP,negotiate on health care bill, etc., etc. One issue? The only times McStain has ever been right it required a flip-flop.

  9. I think a lot of you are forgetting that JD Hayworth was part of the Republican House leadership that lost its way after having been in power for 12 years. He talked conservative but actually supported big government and gigantic deficit spending in his votes. He was on the Ways and Means committee voting in favor of huge amounts of pork and bragging about the earmarks (like federal spending on the light rail line) he was putting into bills. He supported the very things that ruined the Republican revolution in Congress. JD Hayworth is NOT a conservative.

    And JD losing a safe Republican seat to Harry Mitchell was a grade A disaster.

    So I don’t quite get why JD Hayworth is seen as some kind of conservative savior all of the sudden.

  10. Rosco P Coltrane says

    Ron Paul for president 2012. The only candidate who knows anything about economics and predicted all of this fallout WAY before it happened. The only one to vote unequivocally AGAINST big government, amnesty, death care, tax hikes, gun control… EVERYTHING a so-called “conservative” espouses. He has never broken principle.

  11. Ron Paul is great on everything except foreign policy. He has a naive view of foreign policy which would be dangerous for this country which, in my opinion, disqualifies him to be president. That’s unfortunate because his domestic policies are great.

    Regarding JD vs. McCain, McCain’s money and willingness to ruthlessly use it to smear JD would be a formidable obstacle for JD to overcome. On the other hand, the money buys a message, but it does not necessarily translate to votes. Plus, most primary voters already know enough about both of these guys to not be too heavily influenced by attack ads. In a Republican Primary, it will boil down to who turns out to vote. Will it be more liberal Republicans and Independents or conservative Republicans and Independents?

    The main factor in JD’s favor is that many will be voting against McCain. JD’s loss to Mitchell is troubling, but, since the main race is the Republican Primary rather than the General Election, JD has a reasonable chance.

Leave a Reply