A very thoughtful piece by Mitt Romney supporter Dean Barnett argues that John McCain should not and cannot move to the right to gain the nomination. Barnett essentially says that it’s up to conservatives to decide whether to get on the bus or hand the White House over to the Democrats in the middle of two wars. The opposite view, set forth in near comical terms here, is for McCain to check every conservative box he can find and ingratiate himself with the Right. (Because that worked out so well for Romney?)
The solution seems to be somewhere in the middle. McCain is not about to deviate from his views on campaign finance reform or global warming, especially since the latter in particular is a winner in the general election. He is not likely to confess he was wrong on waterboarding or on the Bush tax cuts. However, he should explain in clearer terms his domestic policy agenda, which is fundamentally conservative. His healthcare plan and what we have seen of his fiscal plans would and have made Larry Kudlow smile. He has, contrary to recent talk show chatter, committed himself to appoint conservative judges. He can explain why this is critical and why conservatives benefit when social policy decisions return to the elected branches of government. In short, McCain needs to explain, but not revise his basic philosophy of government.
And immigration? He said he is committed to border security first and that is as much as he can offer the conservative anti-immigration crowd. If some leave the GOP over their insistence that McCain jettison his willingness to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants who will certainly still remain after all available border security measures, internal enforcement, and “attrition by enforcement” run their course, there is little McCain can do about it. And the risk here seems low. So far, immigration does not seem to be the barnburner issue it was made out to be.