McCain Derangement Syndrome?

So Ann Coulter is saying thatshe would campaign for Hillary Clinton if John McCain gets the GOP nomination. Surely that’s one of her famous grand overstatements. But just as the Left is plagued with what has been termed “Bush Derangement Syndrome”–defined as an irrational, over-reacting hatred of George W. Bush–might the Right be plagued by a “McCain Derangement Syndrome”?

I’m not saying I’m for him, mind you. I’m still trying to decide. But I’m not finding the hysteria against McCain very persuasive. He gets an 80-something % approval rating, based on his votes in the Senate, from the American Conservative Union. That would come to a grade of B. That’s not “excellent,” which would be an A, but it’s “good.” That 20% lapse may be a concern on a number of issues. And I realize that a quantitative tally is no indicator of the relative importance of particular issues. Still, the two Democratic senators running for president score, as I recall, 0%, a big fat F. Those 100%, straight A conservatives will need to be critical of some of McCain’s policies, but surely they would not be as objectionable in the aggregate as what the Democrats would do.

Why don’t we have a 100% straight A conservative candidate? Well, in this current climate–thanks to the ineptness of various conservative honor students–it is probably impossible for one to get nominated, much less elected. So conservatives are going to have to do the best they can.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://bestronginthegrace.blogspot.com Theresa K.

    Why don’t we have a “100% straight A conservative candidate”? Well, wouldn’t that require that all conservative voters have the exact same list of desirable traits for a candidate? I think those of us who call ourselves conservative are changing and broadening the base of the party. Unfortunately, the party doesn’t want to broaden the base. I think what I might be seeing is the further erosion of the Republican party, though there will be no end of the conservative voter.

    I used to pay for my Limbaugh subscription. I used to listen to Hewitt every night. I used to watch Fox News religiously. When I became Lutheran, I eventually grew comfortable evaluating candidates for myself (something I simply could not do as an Evangelical – don’t know why). I no longer want to listen to someone whose support for a candidate is so one-sided. I’d rather listen to someone who support the conservative movement in general. In a way, my pastor fills that role now by teaching me scripture accurately and thus enabling me to make my own decisions on candidates without ever saying a word about politics.

    I’ll take Coulter’s challenge. Let’s hold her to it. Let’s watch her keep her word and campaign for Clinton.

  • http://bestronginthegrace.blogspot.com Theresa K.

    Why don’t we have a “100% straight A conservative candidate”? Well, wouldn’t that require that all conservative voters have the exact same list of desirable traits for a candidate? I think those of us who call ourselves conservative are changing and broadening the base of the party. Unfortunately, the party doesn’t want to broaden the base. I think what I might be seeing is the further erosion of the Republican party, though there will be no end of the conservative voter.

    I used to pay for my Limbaugh subscription. I used to listen to Hewitt every night. I used to watch Fox News religiously. When I became Lutheran, I eventually grew comfortable evaluating candidates for myself (something I simply could not do as an Evangelical – don’t know why). I no longer want to listen to someone whose support for a candidate is so one-sided. I’d rather listen to someone who support the conservative movement in general. In a way, my pastor fills that role now by teaching me scripture accurately and thus enabling me to make my own decisions on candidates without ever saying a word about politics.

    I’ll take Coulter’s challenge. Let’s hold her to it. Let’s watch her keep her word and campaign for Clinton.

  • http://www.sarcasmagorical.com Brant

    I think the lifetime ACU rating might be a bit misleading. I read yesterday that McCain’s ACU rating for last year was 60. This fits with the notion that conservatives have that McCain began as a conservative but has drifted leftward in recent years. Nearly all of the things that really aggravate the base (McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, Gang of 14, etc) happened since McCain lost the Republican nomination in 2000 to Bush. I think there’s a part of McCain that feels very slighted by that, and has more often than not seen Republicans as an enemy rather than a friend. For instance, look at how gracious McCain is with those he doesn’t agree with (willing to stand alongside and support Kennedy, whom the base hates) while how angrily he fights with people supposedly on his side (his compulsive need to fit some sort of jab at Romney in every answer in the last debate and his refusal to admit that he was at best being uncharitable with Romney’s words on the timetables thing and at worst outright lying)

  • http://www.sarcasmagorical.com Brant

    I think the lifetime ACU rating might be a bit misleading. I read yesterday that McCain’s ACU rating for last year was 60. This fits with the notion that conservatives have that McCain began as a conservative but has drifted leftward in recent years. Nearly all of the things that really aggravate the base (McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, Gang of 14, etc) happened since McCain lost the Republican nomination in 2000 to Bush. I think there’s a part of McCain that feels very slighted by that, and has more often than not seen Republicans as an enemy rather than a friend. For instance, look at how gracious McCain is with those he doesn’t agree with (willing to stand alongside and support Kennedy, whom the base hates) while how angrily he fights with people supposedly on his side (his compulsive need to fit some sort of jab at Romney in every answer in the last debate and his refusal to admit that he was at best being uncharitable with Romney’s words on the timetables thing and at worst outright lying)

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Brant (@2), McCain is running against Romney, not Kennedy. That probably explains his jabs.

    As for Coulter, maybe this is her way of encouraging bipartisan support for McCain? :)

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Brant (@2), McCain is running against Romney, not Kennedy. That probably explains his jabs.

    As for Coulter, maybe this is her way of encouraging bipartisan support for McCain? :)

  • http://cyberbrethren.typepad.com/cyberbrethren/ Paul McCain

    I find the title of your post a bit disturbing, for personal reasons. : )

    I voted for the person who I believe has the best chance of defeating the Democratic ticket.

  • http://cyberbrethren.typepad.com/cyberbrethren/ Paul McCain

    I find the title of your post a bit disturbing, for personal reasons. : )

    I voted for the person who I believe has the best chance of defeating the Democratic ticket.

  • Another Kerner

    Alas……

    The choices in the Republican field this election year are bleak……..indeed, very bleak.

    What to do?

    Kerners have frequently and vigorously disagreed with one another politically.

    (Usually our discussions fall within the framework of Right [Compassionate Conservatives] vs Far Right [Libertarians], unless, of course we are engaged in a discussion about and/or with the Illinois Kerners.)

    Whilst I find kerner’s advocacy of a vote for John McCain based on the military aviator’s heroic character a splendid presentation (I am his mother after all ), I remain unpersuaded.

    The Wisconsin primary is still some days away, but as of this moment I think I may vote for Mitt Romney, who certainly is still his father’s son.

    In the 60′s, as a member of the Republican Party and delegate to the State convention, conservatives of the Goldwater generation, for the most part, rejected Gov. George Romney’s political stances.

    Wisconsin votes may be relatively moot in the Republican primary bcause we are not a part of Super Tuesday: however because Wisconsin is an open primary state, I am allowed to vote in the Democratic primary.

    If Super Tuesday seals and settles the nomination for John McCain against Romney, then, like Paul McCain above, I may need to cast a pragmatic vote based on electability.

    However, I would be casting a vote for the *least* likeable and/or electable candidate in the *Democrat* primary.

    Democrat

    I just may vote for the least electable

  • Another Kerner

    Alas……

    The choices in the Republican field this election year are bleak……..indeed, very bleak.

    What to do?

    Kerners have frequently and vigorously disagreed with one another politically.

    (Usually our discussions fall within the framework of Right [Compassionate Conservatives] vs Far Right [Libertarians], unless, of course we are engaged in a discussion about and/or with the Illinois Kerners.)

    Whilst I find kerner’s advocacy of a vote for John McCain based on the military aviator’s heroic character a splendid presentation (I am his mother after all ), I remain unpersuaded.

    The Wisconsin primary is still some days away, but as of this moment I think I may vote for Mitt Romney, who certainly is still his father’s son.

    In the 60′s, as a member of the Republican Party and delegate to the State convention, conservatives of the Goldwater generation, for the most part, rejected Gov. George Romney’s political stances.

    Wisconsin votes may be relatively moot in the Republican primary bcause we are not a part of Super Tuesday: however because Wisconsin is an open primary state, I am allowed to vote in the Democratic primary.

    If Super Tuesday seals and settles the nomination for John McCain against Romney, then, like Paul McCain above, I may need to cast a pragmatic vote based on electability.

    However, I would be casting a vote for the *least* likeable and/or electable candidate in the *Democrat* primary.

    Democrat

    I just may vote for the least electable

  • Another Kerner

    Whoops…… a slight typo in #5

    I just may vote for the *least* electable Democrat.

  • Another Kerner

    Whoops…… a slight typo in #5

    I just may vote for the *least* electable Democrat.

  • The Jones

    I hate Ann Coulter. She makes money off of conservatives by saying outrageous and sometimes unfair, mean, or just plain hateful things and selling her books to us, the conservative wing of the Republican Party. She also is an incredibly divisive figure who shades conservatives in such a hateful light, that democrats are all the more motivated to reject her and conservative thought by association. She makes it more difficult to accomplish good public policy because of the resistance she stirs up. She hurts conservatives more than she helps them.

    We apparently group ourselves as “Christian Conservatives.” If she calls rival politicians fags, blanketly labels Democrats and liberals as morons, and calls for the destruction of the New York Times by terrorist bombing (albeit, in hyperbole), how can any of that be “Christian.” She has no place in my political circle. Sounds more like a Westboro Baptist Church Conservative.

  • The Jones

    I hate Ann Coulter. She makes money off of conservatives by saying outrageous and sometimes unfair, mean, or just plain hateful things and selling her books to us, the conservative wing of the Republican Party. She also is an incredibly divisive figure who shades conservatives in such a hateful light, that democrats are all the more motivated to reject her and conservative thought by association. She makes it more difficult to accomplish good public policy because of the resistance she stirs up. She hurts conservatives more than she helps them.

    We apparently group ourselves as “Christian Conservatives.” If she calls rival politicians fags, blanketly labels Democrats and liberals as morons, and calls for the destruction of the New York Times by terrorist bombing (albeit, in hyperbole), how can any of that be “Christian.” She has no place in my political circle. Sounds more like a Westboro Baptist Church Conservative.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    The Jones (@7), while I may agree with many of your points about Ann Coulter, surely there is some conflict in complaining about her un-Christian speech while preceding it with “I hate Ann Coulter”?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    The Jones (@7), while I may agree with many of your points about Ann Coulter, surely there is some conflict in complaining about her un-Christian speech while preceding it with “I hate Ann Coulter”?

  • The Jones

    I don’t really think so.

  • The Jones

    I don’t really think so.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    The Jones (@9), not to belabor the point, but hating people doesn’t seem very Christian.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    The Jones (@9), not to belabor the point, but hating people doesn’t seem very Christian.

  • Justin

    I am with Miss Coulter. We had to have Jimmy Carter before we realized we needed Ronald Reagan. Nothing will fire up real conservatives like a Clinton presidency.

  • Justin

    I am with Miss Coulter. We had to have Jimmy Carter before we realized we needed Ronald Reagan. Nothing will fire up real conservatives like a Clinton presidency.

  • Carl Vehse

    In her latest column, Ann Coulter explains her opposition to John McCain as the GOP nominee for President. Check out the list! (It’s not a pretty sight.)

    Ann concludes:

    If Hillary is elected president, we’ll have a four-year disaster, with Republicans ferociously opposing her, followed by Republicans zooming back into power, as we did in 1980 and 1994, and 2000. (I also predict more Oval Office incidents with female interns.)

    If McCain is elected president, we’ll have a four-year disaster, with the Republicans in Congress co-opted by “our” president, followed by 30 years of Democratic rule.

    There’s your choice, America.

    Since voters are not free to cast a negative vote, I think I’ll stick with supporting a proven record: Teddy Roosevelt.

  • Carl Vehse

    In her latest column, Ann Coulter explains her opposition to John McCain as the GOP nominee for President. Check out the list! (It’s not a pretty sight.)

    Ann concludes:

    If Hillary is elected president, we’ll have a four-year disaster, with Republicans ferociously opposing her, followed by Republicans zooming back into power, as we did in 1980 and 1994, and 2000. (I also predict more Oval Office incidents with female interns.)

    If McCain is elected president, we’ll have a four-year disaster, with the Republicans in Congress co-opted by “our” president, followed by 30 years of Democratic rule.

    There’s your choice, America.

    Since voters are not free to cast a negative vote, I think I’ll stick with supporting a proven record: Teddy Roosevelt.

  • CRB

    Why I don’t like pundits predictions: They leave out one
    Person and His will in matters political: God!!! He knows where this country is going and His will shall be done, no matter what Ann or anyone thinks.

  • CRB

    Why I don’t like pundits predictions: They leave out one
    Person and His will in matters political: God!!! He knows where this country is going and His will shall be done, no matter what Ann or anyone thinks.


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