I'm beginning to wonder why the liberal media are providing unprecedented exposure to the Democrats and the continuing Barack/Hillary debacle and not giving equal time to John McCain. The Democrat opponents are saying nothing of substance and are merely trashing each other's character. Meanwhile, McCain is out on the campaign trail making speeches and explaining his stance on issues, and we conservative Republicans hear very little of it.
For me, hearing more of what John McCain really stands for is absolutely essential. He's going to have to go a lot further to convince me that he is actually sensitive to the party's conservative base. His 20-plus years in the Senate have shown that he is a Republican in name only and not the Reagan conservative that he now professes to be.
Why does the Republican Party want to distance itself from its conservative foundation and instead pander to the independents and the soft Democrats? Reagan twice proved that a conservative agenda and an inspiring leader will win overwhelmingly. It was proven in 1984 with the Republican "Contract With America" and in 1994 when the party took over both houses while running on conservative values and beliefs. We also saw the disastrous results in 2006 when we strayed from those same principles.
Convince me, Sen. McCain, of who you really are. I know you're a patriot and a man of courage and personal integrity. I know you know the importance of a strong military that is the best-trained, best-equipped, and with the best military leaders in the world. I know you want to win in Iraq and leave with honor, turning the fight over to the Iraqi army only when it is ready. Much to the Democrats' disgust, that is exactly what is happening when we see the most recent and frequent successes over there.
I think you want conservative justices at all levels of the courts rather than activist judges who desire to legislate from the bench. However, Robert Novak once pointed out that you dissed Samuel Alito as being too conservative or as "wearing his conservatism on his sleeve." Which one is the real John McCain? You have never flip-flopped in your pro-life belief.
But at the same time, I have my concerns about who is the real John McCain. Is he the one who now says he supports the Bush tax cuts that caused unprecedented growth or the one who originally campaigned and voted against them? Is he the one who says he wants to secure the border or the one who supports giving amnesty to some 20 million illegals? To quote you, "By the way, I think the fence is least effective, but I'll build the &*%#$@*& fence if they want it."
Are you the one who wants strong national security and an aggressive stance in fight against terrorism? Or, is the real you the one who wants to dilute the Patriot Act, close Gitmo, eliminate interrogation techniques (that are mild compared to our enemies' methods) that could save thousands of American lives? I think you are also in favor of giving terrorists caught on the battlefield the same rights as our own citizens have to our non-military justice system. Convince me this isn't true.
You say you want a smaller, more-limited government; but you then turn around and sign on with the global warming wackos and their propaganda. There is lots of credible disagreement in the scientific community that deserves to be listened to.
For now, I'm going to sit back and watch the campaign unfold. Obama will be exposed eventually as a good orator with no experience and nothing of any substance to offer.
Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate, and a true conservative, is beginning to interest me and it would be wise to pick a running mate of his caliber. I want a vice president who carries the conservative banner proudly and is an inspiring leader, one who has a good chance of winning after your one term is up. Twelve years of a Republican president would finally put Hillary's power trip to bed. She would be 73, even older than you are now.
So be very careful Sen. McCain. Don't take my vote or those of other conservatives for granted. The only reason you have my vote right now is because I can't conceive the damage that would be caused to the country by the other side's candidate and not because of your track record.
If the Republican Party, led by you, begins to distance itself from conservative values, I'll have to look elsewhere for a party that I can believe in.
Tom Sears is a professor of accounting at Hartwick College in Oneonta. He can be reached at SearsT@hartwick.edu. His column appears every other week.