McCain: Alito "Too Conservative"
John Fund writes at The Wall Street Journal:
John McCain has to decide just how comfortable he wants the conservative base of the Republican Party to be with his candidacy. Although he touts his conservative credentials on the campaign trail, it's no secret that Mr. McCain has often sought an arm's-length relationship with many conservatives. Should he lose the Florida primary on Tuesday, it will be in no small part because he didn't do more to seek an accommodation with conservatives.(emphasis added)
A good litmus test of how Mr. McCain's relationship with conservatives stands will come at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, which opens Feb. 7, just two days after the Super Tuesday primaries.
Last year's CPAC proved a disaster for Mr. McCain. He upset the organizers by first rejecting their invitation to speak and then trying to rent a room at the same hotel so he could host a reception for the conference's delegates. CPAC officials believed the McCain camp's motivation was to avoid having television cameras recording him "pandering" to the conservative activists while letting him schmooze them one-on-one behind closed doors. The ploy failed because the hotel didn't have a suitable room available for the senator.
Then there is the issue of judicial nominations, a top priority with conservatives. Nothing would improve Mr. McCain's standing with conservatives more than a forthright restatement of his previously stated view that "one of our greatest problems in America today is justices that legislate from the bench." Mr. McCain bruised his standing with conservatives on the issue when in 2005 he became a key player in the so-called gang of 14, which derailed an effort to end Democratic filibusters of Bush judicial nominees. More recently, Mr. McCain has told conservatives he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief Justice John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito, because "he wore his conservatism on his sleeve."
Therein lies the problem that many conservatives have with John McCain. It is the nagging feeling that after all of his years of chummily bonding with liberal reporters and garnering favorable media coverage from them that the Arizona senator is embarrassed to be seen as too much of a conservative...
That's it. John McCain is definitely out as a possibility for me.
The issue of judicial nominations has always been a sticking point with me where McCain is concerned. But now, having actually read a report wherein McCain indicates that he would be reluctant to nominate someone like Samuel Alito to the Court, all doubt is removed.
Unless someone can prove to me conclusively that McCain never stated what Fund has attributed to him, and that he does not in fact hold such views about Samuel Alito, I WILL NOT support John McCain.
Can I hear from Sen. Brownback, Governor Keating, and Austin Ruse on this one?
UPDATE (29 January)
Austin Ruse responds:
Senator McCain has said it maybe a thousand times in this campaign: "I will appoint judges and justices in teh mold of Roberts and Alito."Thanks for responding, Mr. Ruse.
This "quote" from Fund has been categorically denied by McCain. It is a slime job and should be ignored.
McCain is solid on judges and solid on justices. He will appoint Justices who will overturn Roe.
In fairness to Mr. Fund, however, he has 3 different sources, the date, and the place for McCain's quote about Alito. Katherine Lopez (who is, admittedly, a Romney groupie) has vouched for Fund on this one, noting that she has been told the same thing.
Look, since 2000, McCain has pretty much been a wild card where conservatives - especially social conservatives - are concerned.
And I ask everyone who has watched and listened to John McCain for the last 8 years: in your gut, which one do you believe sounds like the REAL McCain? The one who says he wants to appoint Justices who are strict constructionist "clones" of Roberts and Alito (you know, guys who might strike down McCain's signature piece of legislation)? Or the one who is afraid that Alito wears his conservatism on his sleeve and might cause a fight with Senate liberals?
In MY gut, I know which one sounds like the McCain I've come to distrust over the years.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this issue:
Some Good Posts at Catholics in the Public Square
The Cranky Conservative: Is McCain or Giuliani More Trustworthy on Judges?
Santorum Says McCain Unreliable on Pro-Life Issues
Two Catholic Pro-Life Advocates Endorse John McCain's GOP Presidential Bid
Santorum Attacks McCain's Conservative Credentials
McCain Gets Help from Brownback to Lure Catholics