Read these posts by Roland Dodds (But I am a Liberal!) and Daniel Stark (The Stark Tenet) on the McCain campaign and the future of the Republican party. They saved me the trouble of posting something.
Unfortunately for McCain, his candidacy has failed on two fronts: not only has it furthered a split in the Republican Party between its socially conservative rightwing base and its center, but McCain has also failed to energize the moderates, independents, and ‘mavericks’ he needed to win what everyone predicted to be a close election. This failure is likely to expose a rift in the Republican Party that has been a long time coming…
I think it’s also obvious that the Republican Party is headed for a dark period, regulated to being a weak opposition within government as the various factions within the organization battle for control. In my assessment, its already looking bad for the moderate wing, and the lackluster support individuals like myself have given McCain in recent months is unquestionably going to leave a bad taste in the mouths of the party loyal. The religious base will argue that the Party should have never drifted from a godly focus; the libertarians will say that interventionists and big government supporters are what brought the house down. Buchannan and his ilk will doubtlessly just blame the Jews. Lord knows where the Commentary neoconservative types are going to find themselves in this conflict, as they have surely been apologists for Palin and her many shortcomings as of late.
Daniel has a different perspective, arguing:
McCain was already working in a harsh political environment this election cycle, from a dissatisfied base, being a more center candidate for President, an unpopular President who shares the same party as him, an economic crisis, a neutralized issue (i.e. Iraq), among other things (you can add Palin as VP choice if you like). If McCain loses (which everyday seems more likely), you have a long list to choose from for the reason why. My money is on the economy.
As a unaffiliated moderate I make my choice on a variety of factors. John McCain scores enough points for me to receive my vote. From his foreign policy outlook, his stance on Iraq, his free trade record, his pragmatic bi-partisanship, his involvement in military issues for over twenty years and the fact we are currently in two wars, that he would preside over a divided government, that he can take on his own party on certain issues, that he has a record to run on, that he believes in federalism (even when it comes to social issues), that he calls for greater transparency in foreign aid we give out, that he has a long history of rejecting purity tests, that he rejects torture…that he is the right person at this present time to be President of the United States. Barack Obama doesn’t even compare.
Like Daniel, I am voting for McCain because I think he is the best candidate. Like Roland, I am more than a bit worried about the direction the Republican party is heading in, especially in the event of a McCain loss. I am not a registered Republican but based on what I am reading, I have a strong feeling party stalwarts will blame the loss on McCain’s centrism.
Unfortunately there is no faction in the Republican party analogous to the Democrat’s “Blue Dog Coalition“. The Blue Dogs are a moderating influence, preventing the liberal wing from dominating the party. In the case of the Republicans, most of the moderate Republicans have been driven out, at least at the national level.
To outsiders it seems like the Republican party is tearing itself apart. On the inside there is a struggle to determine which direction the party will move in the future, which faction will dominate. As others have written, the Republican party coalition crafted by Reagan was a stool with three legs, the social conservatives, fiscal/economic conservatives, and defense hawks. I would add two additional legs, nativists and libertarians. These constituencies often have contradictory policy preferences. For example, libertarians who support homosexual rights and social conservatives who want to ban gay marriage or economic conservatives who support free trade and nativists who want to close down the borders. Yet Reagan was somehow able to bring all of these groups together.
Donald Douglas (NeoConstant) Conservatives in Crisis
Rick Moran (Right Wing Nuthouse) Remaking the Rightroots