Will the "true conservative Republicans" really stay home in Nov.?

I have a good friend who’s totally on board with George W. and the Republican establishment (his family is old California money) and is really not happy about how well McCain has done (he’s a Romney guy). He says he won’t vote for McCain because (according to my friend) he’s a “RINO”, didn’t support the Bush tax cuts, isn’t extreme enough on illegal immigration, isn’t a true conservative (code for “doesn’t drink the tax cuts are the panacea” koolaid, IMHO).

I tell him, look, if only for the Supreme Court nominees’ sake, do you really want to not vote for President in November? Don’t you think McCain will appoint justices who are more inline with your views than H.C. or Obama will? Incredibly, my friend disputes even that. You’d think the prospect of voting for McCain was tantamount to asking him to vote for Kucinich or something.

Will this sort of attitude among some Republicans actually hurt McCain somehow, or will his broad appeal to independents and centrists cancel whatever negatives he has with these dyed in the wool Republicans?

Since when was George W. Bush actually a conservative?

For some, all it takes is tax cuts.

Y’know, I’ll bet some of them are thinking that if they all stay home they can claim credit for the, all but inevitable, Republican pasting in the general election. “See! Next time you listen to us and we’ll bring our toys and play.” I’ve even read of conservative talking-heads, including Coulter, claiming they’ll endorse Hillary over McCain.

Why so much hate? Or is it hate of convenience? They know their party is fucked (largely because of their unflagging, blindered, adoration for Bush) so why not tie both hands behind your back and then blame the moderates in your party?

For me, the reaction to McCain shows how much that party has shifted itself. I hear lots of people at work saying things like, “McCain doesn’t think right!” Personally I think they’re just channelling Limbaugh’s talking points, but to call McCain a RINO while supporting Bush is utterly laughable.

A lot of people felt the same way about Gore - that he was far too centrist and was pulling the party in the wrong direction. I had several friends who were die-hard democrats that voted for Nader or in one case Bush, simply because they wanted to send a message that the democratic party needed to move back to the left.

That obviously didn’t work in '04.

Maybe cuz she said the tax cuts’d stay until 2010? Anyway, I’ve been pointing out extremist conservatives’ dislike for McCain to my friends and nobody seems to think much of it, but I, too, think it will make the difference.

The flip side of the coin: if Clinton gets the nod for the Democrats, does that mean all the young voters who came out in droves to vote for Obama in the primaries will stay home?

I think it’s way to early to parse these things. What I do believe is that this will be one of the more unpredictable elections we’ve seen in a long time, right up through November. The polls will be all over the place.

I’m also irritated at the media narrative that’s emerging – the Dems have two strong candidates, so that means their primaries and the convention will be a cat fight and weaken the party.

As opposed to what? Having one clear winner on the Republican side that a lot of the base doesn’t like? Having two strong candidates, I think, will just strengthen the Democratic party.

Well, it worked in that the party nominated one of its most liberal senators. It of course failed in that the country had become more conservative by that point, making that candidate less appealing (and the particular choice ran a poor campaign and was made of wood).

A protest vote is a valid way of using your ballot. I will almost always vote against someone rather than protest, however. I understand the Nader POV, though – the issues are important enough that they need an advocate rather than two candidates that ignore them.

If it’s Clinton vs. McCain, my feeling is that the knee-jerk hatred of her among the right is enough to offset any distaste for McCain.

[insert rolly-eyes here] If your friends lived in Florida, I hope they’re happy now. It’s one thing to do something like that in California or New York (a safe state), but in a battleground that’s madness.

Well, to be fair to them, they did it in NY, Penn, and CT, but I’m not 100% sure they would have voted differently even if they though their vote mattered.

I think they will, yes.

Agreed and couple that with the progressive/youth voters on the Democratic side feeling disenchanted.

That having been said, McCain reminds me a lot of Bob Dole. I was terrified that he would get the nomination and the Republicans would cruise to victory. Venerable Senior Senator with tons of experience, a tough straight talker, blah, blah, blah. But it turned out he couldn’t campaign for shit. He had a trigger temper, he all of a sudden looked way too old and he had a physical disability that seemed to call attention to this age/health issue. McCain was declared dead in this primary campaign for a reason and he’s only getting the nomination now by default. He’s not doing anything right – He’s just the least bad option and the conservative wing of the party is splitting between Huckabee and Romney.

As for conservatives staying home, I suspect, now that it’s clear that McCain has the nomination all but locked up, Limbaugh and Coulter will start gently back-peddling. “Well, I don’t like him personally but it’s time to put aside our differences to defeat those evil Liberals.”

But it has been a funny week on the irony front. BBC news had a correspondent at the Romney camp last night who talked to one of his supporters who said that she still believes Romney has a chance but that if he doesn’t get the nomination, she’s going to vote for Clinton. It’s hilarious to me that the most arch-conservative Republicans of all are suddenly talking about voting for their worst enemy because Rush said so. I guess it’s also a little scary.

I think with McCain you get some conservatives who feel he has betrayed the conservative wing, and it’s difficult to vote for someone who has betrayed you. It engenders some real dislike.

The flip side of the coin: if Clinton gets the nod for the Democrats, does that mean all the young voters who came out in droves to vote for Obama in the primaries will stay home?

I know I will. Either that or I will vote for anyone but her.

Then you’ll get the president you deserve.

I seriously doubt its possible for Hillary or Obama to lose CA in the general.

Madness? No. THIS. IS. Florida?

There’s nothing quite like a smug self-righteousness statement to start the day. Really gets the blood flowing.