The Close of the Conservative Era (for now)
John McCain can’t get a break.
In 2000, he ran up against the Bush machine that slimed him and ran his campaign off the rails. Eight years later, he is now makes it to the top spot as the GOP nominee and has to run against someone that seems to be more popular than Jesus.
While I support John McCain, there is a sense that this is a losing battle. He is a good man stuck with a party in disarray and a movement that was run off the rails by the same man he faced in 2000.
Allan Lichtman has a worthy piece up on Politico about how McCain is failing to ignite the conservatives and that no matter if he wins or loses, he will ultimately lose because the conservative era is at its nadir. Licthman writes on how McCain has bent himself into odd shapes to appease various factions of the GOP and not pleasing anybody. Because he is trying to shore up the base, Obama who has a thin resume and little to show for when it comes to bipartisanship, is coming off as the unifying figure. Litchman writes:
McCain is straining to appease a conservative movement that is too fragmented to be appeased. Like Humpty Dumpty after the fall, all the GOP’s horses and all the GOP’s men cannot put together again business and social conservatives, big- and small-government conservatives, tax-cutters and deficit hawks, and foreign adventurers and advocates of the humble foreign policy that Bush proposed in his 2000 campaign but quickly abandoned. McCain’s preoccupation with the right has let Obama, with his meager record of bipartisan accomplishment, emerge as the unifying figure in the presidential campaign, taking the place of the co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act on campaign finance reform and the McCain-Kennedy bill on immigration reform.
He adds that even a McCain win would relegate the Senator to become a transitional figure ala Gerald Ford:
McCain’s defeat by the liberal Obama and the advent of a strengthened Democratic Congress would mark the end of the modern conservative era as clearly as President Franklin Roosevelt’s defeat of President Herbert Hoover in 1932 marked the end of the conservative 1920s. Even if McCain were to win the presidency, he would likely preside over a divided government and become a transitional figure in the evolution of American conservative politics, a Gerald Ford to some future Ronald Reagan.
Liberals are going to say good riddance to all that. After nearly 30 years in the wilderness, they are ready to take over and conservatives have no one to blame but themselves. Maybe during this period of wilderness they can decide what direction to take and actually develop a way to govern that was so lacking in the Bush years.
The funny thing about political eras is how each side thinks their ideology will be the permanent majority, pushing their adversaries into oblivion for eternity. But that doesn’t happen. It didn’t happen when the Democrats were in power from 1932 to 1980, it won’t happen now. Yes, one ideology will be dominant, but the fact is movements get old and start to crumble and die and are reborn again. There will be more liberal eras and conservative eras. And that’s okay by me. That’s what democracy should be about; an argument of ideas and sometimes one argument wins and sometimes the other one does. That’s what happens when the people rule.
My only wish is that conservatives will learn from this debacle called the Bush years and reform themselves. And boy do they need some reforming.