republican reconcilliation

Posted on February 15, 2008

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If the Republicans are serious about retaining the White House, it should stop squabbling right now, be pragmatic and close ranks behind John McCain.

Mitt Romney sure did not, and probably still does not, like McCain, who is now the presumptive nominee of the Republican party. But Romney, always the pragmatist, had come round and actually endorsed McCain. McCain now stands to gain the 280 delegates Romney secured, if they followed Romney’s urging to throw their weight behind McCain.

It would be a disservice and downright silly for the far-right wing of the Republican Party to continue in its senseless internecine battle against McCain.

True, McCain does not pass the litmus test of conservatism in their eyes and thus is deemed unworthy to be the party’s flag-bearer.

But let’s be realistic here. Just raging at McCain will not make him go away. He will be the Republican Party’s nominee and these detractors have to get over it. Besides, voters in many states have spoken, and McCain is their man.

Even a bitter rival such as Romney has come round to the notion. “Even when the contest was close and our disagreements were debated, the caliber of the man was apparent,” Romney said at a news conference announcing his endorsement of McCain. “Right now, the Democrats are fighting; let us come together and make progress while they are fighting.”

Critics might say that is pure Romney, flip-flopping and telling people what they want to hear. They might even accuse the governor of Massachusetts of having worked out a deal with McCain, possibly as his running mate in the general election or an important position in the McCain cabinet should he take the White House.

Debatable as Romney’s intentions may be, there is no mistaking the logic behind his move to support McCain.

Conservatives should stop feeding Rush Limbaugh’s ego and telling him that they would stay home on election day.

How foolish to sabotage the chances of one’s own party! In a year that the Democrats are energized and hungry to take back the White House and unprecedented numbers are either turning out or starting to get involved in the election process, Republicans have to fall behind McCain, who is the Republican candidate most likely to help them keep the presidency, if they do not want a landslide victory by the Democrats in November.

With the way things are shaping up on the Democratic side of the race, they also should not count on Hillary Clinton’s nomination to fire Republicans up to vote in large numbers and deny her the presidency.

McCain might have voted against tax cuts, sponsored immigration reform and committed other kinds of Republican heresy. But he is one politician who has pandered the least and still can lay claim to being a man of his word. In this climate where voters are tired of slippery shape-shifting politicians, McCain’s authenticity counts for a lot. Together with his heroic service in Vietnam and his years of experience in the Senate, he has what it takes to win over independents and even some Democrats. The final piece of the puzzle, voters of his own party, has to be there to help him make that ultimate step into the White House.

If they abhor the thought of McCain running the country, they should think of how much more horrifying it could be if they blocked McCain’s entry and a Democrat captures the presidency – universal health care will mean higher taxes, liberal judges will be appointed for life to the Supreme Court and immigration reforms that might push through what conservatives see as “amnesty”.

So before getting too carried away, Republican voters should really consider the consequences of their petulant reaction towards McCain. Between the lesser of two evils, it surely must be better to go for the devil one knows.

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