McCain’s policy positions no cause for right’s anger at him

Apparently the word “conservative” carries a superlative meaning in politics.

In the Republican camp, now that Mitt Romney has dropped out of the race, John McCain is all but locked to be the party nominee. However, a large percentage of Republicans are absolutely outraged and are still in denial that McCain will be their party’s presidential candidate, citing evidence that he is not a true “conservative.”

Members of the Republican Party are forming a “Republicans against McCain” group, the sole purpose of which is to prevent McCain from getting the presidency, according to a BBC News article on Friday.

In the article, one member even said that he would vote for Hillary Clinton before he votes for McCain. Which leads me to wonder, are such Republicans really true conservatives or do they have a personal grudge against McCain?

Conservative voices like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have also been attacking McCain vehemently, calling him a liberal in disguise and claiming that his nomination would be a disaster for the Republican Party.

To be fair, McCain is probably best categorized as a “moderate Republican” as opposed to a “conservatives’ conservative,” but he is a Republican nevertheless, certainly more so than Clinton.

As a stronger supporter of the war in Iraq and backer of the U.S. troop surge in 2007, McCain is a hardliner on foreign policy. He is also a fiscal conservative who believes in a balanced budget.

Two of the main issues McCain draws ire on are abortion and same-sex marriage. Both are closely linked to religion, and McCain takes conservative stances on both. But apparently his stances are not extreme enough to satisfy the evangelical right.

So how “conservative” must one get to satisfy the religious right?

To prove his authenticity as a true conservative, Mike Huckabee, the only other first-tier Republican candidate remaining in the race, recently made comments that apparently equated homosexuality with bestiality.

“Marriage has, historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life,” he said in a January interview with Beliefnet (www. “… I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal.”

These are comments I expect from Stephen Colbert, not from a serious contender in the presidential race.

What infuriated me more than Huckabee’s second-grade logic is how little reaction these well-publicized comments generated in the country. The fact that Huckabee has yet to retract his comments is enough to show the pathetic lack of pressure he faces from the media and the public.

These damning comments alone should bring his campaign to a crushing end, yet even today, he still enjoys a solid base of supporters.

If Huckabee is the kind of conservative these voters look for, then so be it.

Those Republicans who are still discontent with McCain’s lack of “conservatism” must face the fact that he will be their party’s eventual nominee. If they still refuse to vote for him when November rolls around, to stay true to their conservative ideology, they should probably take a hard look at the independent candidates before voting Democratic.

Linsen Li is a history and journalism junior. E-mail [email protected].