From time to time, I'm honored to publish input from curmudgeons-I-have-known. Today's bit was written by Jeff Hebert, who doubles as my son-in-law and as an urban thinker immersed in a rural format. He and my daughter enjoy living on their ranch outside Burnet, TX. With all that livestock, he would be more tolerant of the campaign horseshit this political season, so you might think. You would be wrong.By Jeff Hebert
An awful lot of the Republican punditocracy hates John McCain, and I've been trying to understand why.
On the surface, it doesn't make much sense. McCain has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate during his tenure. He's been staunchly pro-war, wanting us to stay in Iraq for another hundred years. He sings eloquently of the need to bomb bomb bomb Iran as well. He's consistently pro-life and wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. He thinks creationism should be taught in schools if the local board wants to.
So why do Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson and Michelle Malkin and the rest of the right-wing punditocracy loathe the guy so much, to the point that even Ann Coulter -- Ann Coulter! The woman who wrote "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans"! -- would endorse Hillary Clinton over McCain?
I'll tell you why. If the first Republican Commandment is "Thou shalt speak no evil of a fellow Republican," the second (and only slightly less imperative) one is "Thou shalt never consort with Liberals." The Limbaugh/Coulter/Rove empire was built on the basic idea that liberals are evil and should be crushed in every possible way at every possible opportunity. Liberals are not just people whose views are different than conservatives, liberals are The Enemy, America-hating traitors who will destroy our country if given half a chance. That is what has built and what sustains the far right wing of the Republican party, all of those best-sellers, all of those television and radio shows. To hate a liberal is the raison d'etre of the Republican punditocracy.
And yet you have John McCain standing with the "Gang of 14" to prevent Republicans from eliminating the Democrats' ability to filibuster judicial nominees. Joining with ultra-liberal Russ Feingold to pass the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill. Speaking kindly of a possible Hillary Clinton presidency, and even having considered running as John Kerry's VP during the 2004 elections.
Here in Texas, that's called "consorting with the enemy", and John McCain is guilty of it a thousand times over. That is simply unacceptable to the right wing of the party and its advocates. You expect your political opponents will fight you -- that's their job, after all. But it's incredibly hard to forgive or forget getting stabbed in the back by one of your own, and that's exactly what McCain is believed to have done by an awful lot of Republican leaders.
If you're a Democrat, imagine for a moment how you'd feel if Joe Lieberman were the Democratic nominee this year. The same Joe Lieberman whose Judas kiss to Bush and whose enthusiastic support for the Iraq War has so undermined Democratic efforts to fight it. The same Joe Lieberman who's contemplating speaking at the Republican convention this year. The same Joe Lieberman who refused to abide by the Democratic primary rules and ran as an independent after getting defeated, who still takes up a valuable Senate committee chairmanship even though he's not really a Democrat any more.
McCain is the Republican Joe Lieberman. He has betrayed at least one trust too many in the minds of many of the party faithful, and he cannot be forgiven; better an honest enemy than a friend who betrays you.
And that, in my opinion, is why so many members of the Republican punditocracy hate John McCain.