McCain wins, and conservative heads explode

A survey of right-wing bloggers' reactions to McCain's victory in the Florida GOP primary.

Published January 30, 2008 3:00PM (EST)

Some conservatives, it turns out, have a wee problem with Arizona Sen. John McCain. Actually, they hate him. With a passion. The Christian right hates him in part because he called Jerry Falwell an "agent of intolerance" in 2000. (McCain tried to fix that by playing to that constituency earlier in the campaign, but it didn't seem to work.) The anti-immigration forces hate him for his pursuit of a more moderate immigration policy, complete with what they term "amnesty." Everyone else hates him because of his activism on campaign finance reform, which influential conservative groups like the National Rifle Association, well, hate. There are probably other reasons, but this is a lot of hate for so early in the morning.

So McCain's victory in Florida's Republican primary has some conservatives, unsurprisingly, feeling a mite peevish. Here's a roundup of some of our favorite reactions to the news from the right side of the blogosphere.

-- Here's Michelle Malkin, blogging at in a post titled "John McCain vs. the Right: No Easy Peace": "Many pundits have been urging John McCain to reach out to conservatives (how novel that would be). In response, he made a small point tonight in his victory speech of emphasizing judges -- an olive branch, apparently, in the aftermath of the Alito/Fund kerfuffle.

"Well. We hear what he says now. But we know what he has done for years:

"Insult the base, trash the base, and pay lip service to the base only when it suits his needs.

"The declaration that he is the 'conservative leader who can unite the party' is yet another smack in the face to those who have watched him reach out and slap conservatives time and again -- and then run to the warm, gooey embrace of the liberal media. Is it too much to ask to nominate a Republican candidate who is not as openly and historically hostile to the Republican base as CNN and (McCain's endorsers at) the New York Times are?"

In a later post, Malkin suggested that perhaps the facts just have a liberal bias, wondering whether McCain had won because of independents not supposed to be voting in Florida's closed Republican primary.

-- Here's Michael Graham, writing at the Corner, the National Review's group blog: "Assuming there is no shocking revelation or health issue, the GOP nomination is over. Conservatives need to start practicing the phrase 'Nominee presumptive John McCa ...'

"Sorry, I can't say it. Not yet ...

"In November, we'll be sending out our most liberal, least trustworthy candidate vs. to take on Hillary Clinton -- perhaps not more liberal than Barack Obama, but certainly far less trustworthy.

"And the worst part for the Right is that McCain will have won the nomination while ignoring, insulting and, as of this weekend, shamelessly lying about conservatives and conservatism ...

"Every day, he dreams of a world filled with happy Democrats and insulted Republicans. And he is, thanks to Florida, the presidential nominee of the Republican party.

"And on that note, I'm off to climb into a bottle of Bushmill's. It's going to be a LONG nine months."

-- Here's Dan Riehl, blogging at Riehl World View: "If McCain channeled anyone when he spoke tonight, it wasn't Ronald Reagan. It was Lawrence Welk. What an unmitigated disaster this guy would be in November. At one point he spoke of Florida watching over his family on an extended tour. I assume he meant his time as a POW. It might have been nice if he had looked after his first wife when he returned, instead of dumping her on the side of the road.

"While it's prudent to never say never, as things stand, if McCain gets the nomination, I would work towards his defeat in November before I'd vote for him ...

"The best thing for the future of conservatism in America would be a McCain loss in the general. And we need to start tearing the Republican Party apart and re-building, from the ground up."

-- And last but not least, here's Stephen Green at Vodkapundit: "Now that I think about it, a McCain/Giuliani ticket might be the first Republican ticket without any actual Republicans on it."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.