Thursday, January 31, 2008

Joseph Bottum on "McCain and Social Conservatives"

Joseph Bottum writes at the First Things blog On the Square:
... As it happens, lots of conservatives don’t like McCain, for a variety of reasons, some reasonable and some unreasonable. But at least, unlike Giuliani, the man genuinely does oppose abortion, and in the end, that has made a difference.

... Ever since 2002, most of those organizations have insisted that support for campaign-finance restrictions—particularly of the McCain-Feingold sort—is a black mark on a politician’s pro-life record (on the grounds that pro-life advertising would be unfairly limited during campaign seasons). But they have been mostly unable to persuade ordinary pro-lifers to go along.

McCain’s second blot, for the pro-life organizations, is his role in the Gang of 14’s settlement on judges. This is a more serious complaint: The battle over abortion is fundamentally a battle over the judiciary, at this point. George Bush found this out to his cost when he nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, and McCain must make clear to voters that he wasn’t compromising the pro-life position when he joined the Gang of 14. Still, this wasn’t a failure to support the good candidates for the Supreme Court, which is of primary importance, and McCain has room to maneuver and explain.

Add it all up, and McCain looks like a candidate whom social conservatives could support in reasonably good conscience. He’s not their favorite—but he ain’t Rudy Giuliani, either. The three-part coalition of the Republican party remains alive, and in John McCain it seems to have found the candidate that everyone can live with. That’s not enthusiasm, of course, but it’s a long way from the New York Times‘ vision of Rudy Giuliani doing a victory dance on the grave of social conservatism.
My Comments:
No mention of McCain's support for ESCR?

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