By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 8. 2008
John McCain became the last man standing in the Republican Party primary today as Governor Mitt Romney droopped out. Appropriately, Senator McCain addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC) today — meeting with the right wing of the right wing of his party; a group he avoided just last year.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The question now becomes, can a seventy-something year old man, senator, former prisoner of war and war hero be the acceptable Republican Party candidate for President of the United States or will Republicans turn their backs on him?
Just weeks ago, Mr. McCain was engaged in a disagreement with Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi over earmark spending items. Cochran said Senator McCain was “erratic” and unfit for the White House. But Thursday, Cochran lined up behind his colleague. “Oh, yes, I’ll support John,” he said.
Cochran and other Republicans lined the aisles of the Senate chamber yesterday to congratulate McCain, who returned for the first time since Dec. 18 to vote on an economic stimulus plan.
But some Republicans, such as radio talk show host and respected ultra-conservative Rush Limbaugh, have suggested just that — saying they may boycott the presidential election rather than support Senator McCain.
In our view, ignoring Senator McCain and the presidential election is akin to handing the White House to either Hillary Clinton (and Bill) or Barak Obama — and the Democrat Party.
At the C-PAC today, Senator McCain said, “I know I have a responsibility, if I am, as I hope to be, the Republican nominee for president, to unite the party and prepare for the great contest in November.”
Hard-core right wing conservatives point to Senator McCain as one who broke with the party on immigration, opposed the Bush tax cuts and co-sponsoring legislation on campaign finance reform.
Mr. McCain even (gasp) participated in outreach to liberal Senate Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold.
We think a little outreach is in order, frankly.
“My record in public office taken as a whole is the record of a mainstream conservative,” McCain said, calling attention to positions he said he has defended during his campaign.
Mr. Romney said, “I must now stand aside, for our party and our country.”
If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely thator Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,” Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
Commenting on his front-runner status — a title he had and lost last year — McCain told the conference, “This time I now have that distinction and I prefer to hold onto it for quite a while.”
chairman Ken Mehlman endorsed McCain and urged all members of the GOP to do the same.
“Our party has had many outstanding candidates this year, but it is now time for Republicans across the country to unite,” Mehlman said.