I was reading a post over on Right Wing News about why John Hawkins will no longer be voting for McCain. He’s upset about McCain’s stance on immigration and is just now realizing the folly in believing McCain’s 11th hour about-face on this issue.
To be honest, I am not shocked by this. McCain has been in politics long enough that we already have a reliable gauge of his ideology and it’s not his campaign rhetoric. Any disparity between what John McCain, the 2008 presidential candidate, says and McCain’s long track record in the Senate should be met with a great deal of skepticism.
McCain is not a conservative. He is conservative on some issues, yes. He is not a liberal, yes. We, as conservatives, will be in agreement with him more than, say, Barack Obama, yes. But, McCain is not a conservative.
And pretty much everyone knows this.
So where does that leave us in November?
Well, many of us are inclined to post one tirade after another about not having a conservative to vote for. I had my own semi-meltdown after Fred Thompson left the race. I did the same thing when Rich Tarrant and Martha Rainville won the GOP primaries in Vermont two years ago.
What I learned from my own experience, though, is that the time for action comes long before the primary votes are cast. That is when we need to work to advance conservative ideals and get conservative candidates elected.
Once the primary has past, the election is limited to the candidates on the ballot. No amount of outrage will change the fact that the election is between two candidates, neither of whom represent the beliefs we hold so dear, and a handful of third-party candidates, none of whom hold any chance of victory.
When we are standing in that voting booth come November, we will be staring at a choice between (most likely) John McCain and Barack Obama.
Now we can huff and puff about McCain not being a conservative all we want. I did the same thing in November of 2006 when I had a choice between Bernie Sanders or Rich Tarrant, for Senator from Vermont, and Peter Welch and Martha Rainville, for Representative.
None of that changed the choices I had in front of me. I had to decide which of two candidates I didn’t care for was better. That choice was more than clear.
The situation reminds me of a young child who wants something that is not available to him. Sometimes a child will find himself in the situation where he is faced with two choices that he does not like. An emotionally immature child, such as a toddler, will get stuck on the choice he would like to have and start to have a tantrum about not being able to choose that option. No amount of reasoning that he must choose from the options available to him can convince him to calm down. He wants what he cannot have and cannot get past that.
This is not an emotionally mature response because, at this point in his life, the child has not matured enough to accept the disappointment over the choice he wanted and move forward.
As adults, however, when we are standing in the voting booth looking at a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain, many of us will decide to accept that a really good conservative candidate is not on the ballot and decide which candidate is best out of those two.
McCain might not be our first choice, but he is indeed the superior choice of the two candidates on the ballot.
Let us learn from this that we need to get to work on rebuilding the conservative movement from the ground up, so that we do have conservative candidates to vote for when we get to the ballot box.