My long lamented friend Jesse Burke, a man who lived in excruciating pain from the most severe and crippling form of rheumatoid arthritis, inspired many people to overcome their challenges. His motto was, “A winner never quits – and a quitter never wins!” He never met John McCain, that I know of, but they share kindred spirits.
I, with many others, wrote off the McCain campaign earlier last year after they had squandered their early money for little result, and the candidate moved in to “restructure” the effort. Normally in politics that is an early sign of a quick exit from a race. McCain vowed to fight on, and most of us in the chattering classes yawned and turned our attention elsewhere.
Award points for perseverance: McCain slogged on with his streamlined campaign. His return to viability consisted of equal parts of his own recovery and of the gradual diffusion of support for his rivals. The Republican nomination race is once again a wide-open contest, and guess who is in the thick of it?
As most conservatives do, I have grave reservations on McCain’s past positions on Campaign Finance Reform, the “Gang of 14,” and the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill. I have on more than one occasion vowed I would stay home rather than vote for him for President, but I must admit that if the choice presented is McCain or Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama/John Edwards, I could not, in good conscience, not vote for him.
For conservatives, holding one’s nose with one hand as the other pulls a lever is nothing new. We’ve been doing it for decades, with the sole reprieve of Ronald Reagan (who violated enough conservative principles himself to earn our ire).
If it’s McCain, or Hillary, what say you? If not voting is your choice, do you not at least admit you would endanger the country thereby?