According to a number of sources, including the “Caucus” Blog at The New York Times, Arizona Sen. John McCain has established his own Political Action Committee. The organization, named “Country First,” is according to McCain designed to define “our Republican ideals and message.”
Sen. McCain is absolutely, positively an American hero. His service to our country, both before the Vietnam War, during his captivity and since then, is nearly unparalleled. That, however, doesn’t mean that his political ideas and ideals are right. Correct or not, his ideology could hardly be described as that of a conservative.
The ideals and message of the Republican Party, with concern for viability in 2010 and beyond, should not be trusted with a man who, time and time again, crosses the aisle at the expense of conservatives and basic conservative values. His lack of understanding of–or utter contempt for–the First Amendment was put on display with his Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act. His failure to comprehend the impact of illegal immigration on our economy, our health care system, our criminal justice system, our culture and more was instrumental in his development, with Ted Kennedy, of his [thankfully] failed Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. His obsession with the farce and facade for global socialism that is man-made global warming was at the root of his failed Climate Change bill authored with Joe Lieberman, and his stubbornness on cap-and-trade and Alaskan drilling turned off more conservatives in this election than visions of a naked Rosie O’Donnell. He doesn’t understand the value of tax cuts. He cannot comprehend the need for Guantanamo Bay. He refused to drop the gloves and hit hard the most undervetted, underqualified and unknown presidential candidate in our nation’s history.
John McCain’s disdain for his conservative base, as manifested in a lackluster and scatterbrained presidential campaign, may alone have been enough to propel Barack Obama into the White House. And this is the man who now wants to shape the party he let down?
Listen, I have no problem with the man. When I met him and his wife in South Carolina during the 2000 primaries, both were extremely nice and gracious, despite me having certainly come off as the know-nothing liberal democrat small-town newspaper reporter I was. What I have a problem with is that he dares call himself a conservative. What I have a problem with is how he has handled himself in the wake of his loss in November.
If McCain wants to start a PAC to raise money and raise awareness for his brand of politics, that’s fine. More power to him. The Republican Party, however, needs to completely remake itself before 2010 and certainly before 2012. It must return to conservative values, and must shed the encumbrances of the same tired, old-time politics which doomed McCain’s candidacy. The GOP must embrace conservatism and elevate those capable of articulating its merits in a smoother, sleeker, more efficient way. Railing on pork-barrel spending while simultaneously rationalizing industry-killing cap-and-trade legislation simply isn’t enough.
In the days following the election, I wrote extensively about what the Republican Party must do and how it must adapt in order to secure victory in 2010 and beyond. Some of those pieces are linked up on the right-hand side of this page, all of them are rooted in the same ideals, providing the same recipe for success in the future. Nowhere in that recipe do I see John McCain’s brand of politics.