Despite Mike Huckabee’s recent surge, it appears unlikely that he’ll catch John McCain in the delegate race. If that ends up being the case and McCain clinches the Republican nomination, he’s going to need the conservatives who abandoned him during the primaries as he heads into November. After Fred Thompson dropped out, McCain benefitted from the fact that Mitt Romney and Huckabee split the conservative vote. Once Romney had removed himself from contention, the conservatives seemed to coalesce around Huckabee. But it seems to be too little too late.
Conservatives have one more card to play: Congress. This is the year, no matter who wins the White House, to take back control of Congress. If conservatives control the legislative branch then there’s only so much damage any president can do. If Pelosi and Company are still in power in ’09, then we’ll see a rubber stamp presidency with the Democrats and an unprecedented bloating of the federal government.
McCain’s camp seems to believe that disgruntled Democrats and Independents will be enough to give him the win. Don’t count on it. Certainly Hillary Clinton getting the nomination will give McCain a better chance but there simply aren’t enough Independents to do the trick.
Simply put, McCain has to have conservatives to win.
With that in mind, conservatives are in a position to demand certain concessions from McCain in exchange for not sitting home on Nov. 4. McCain prides himself as being a man of his word. At this point, that’s all conservatives have if they’re to salvage anything from this election cycle. In order to secure the conservative vote there are three pledges John McCain must make. These pledges must be in public and they must be in writing:
* Demagnetize America. McCain must vow to build the border fence while cracking down on employers and government programs that draw illegal aliens to the country. No amnesty. Nothing that even resembles amnesty. All who are here illegally must go home and get in line like everyone else.
* Tax cuts. Make the Bush tax cuts permanent. The tax cuts were essential in heading off an even bigger dip in the economy. Tax cuts have generated more revenue every time they’ve been implemented. They stoke the flames of a sluggish economy, create jobs and, in turn, create more taxpayers and more money into the treasury. Wealth is generated by the private sector, not the government, and it’s the tax on that wealth that funds the government.
* Stop pandering to the dirt people. McCain has embraced the greenies like no other Republican. He has favored a cap and trade policy which is nothing more than carbon offsets for businesses. Carbon offsets are a scam. The whole notion that CO2 is a pollutant is a scam. The dirt people are determined to wreck our economy because they believe the United States is the center of all evil in the world. We can all agree that we want clean air and clean water, but CO2 is not a pollutant. It’s what we exhale every breath. Instead, we should be more concerned about smog which is devoid of CO2. McCain’s pandering to get votes endangers the future health of our nation.
There are other issues over which conservatives differ with McCain, for sure, but these are the biggies. The reality is, it’s either McCain or a liberal Democrat. Not much to choose from, but that’s all we have. Barack was just given the distinction as the most liberal member of the senate. Hillary, it goes without saying, would be a disaster.
Sen. McCain, it’s your move.
Phil Valentine is an author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host with Westwood One. For more of his commentary and articles, visit philvalentine.com.