The perfect is the enemy of the good

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has spent the better part of a few months now listening to and watching various talk shows. He’s heard many conservative pundits and talking heads continuing to lament the fact that for conservatives - or at least “true” conservatives - the Republican Party is not running a conservative candidate. The Republicans, instead, are running John McCain. Your Maximum Leader has grown tired of conservatives wailing in to the night sky “Where is the next Ronald Reagan?”

You know something? Once your Maximum Leader was reading an article about Johnny Depp in some magazine. In the opening of the piece the author quoted some famous actor who said something to the effect of “the next Marlon Brando isn’t going to be anything like the first Marlon Brando.” Your Maximum Leader wants to shake conservatives he meets and say to them that the “next” Ronald Reagan isn’t going to be anything like the first Ronald Reagan.

This is not to say that the next great conservative political leader in this nation isn’t going to share a number of beliefs that were once held by Reagan. But it is to say that the next great conservative political leader isn’t going just spring forth from sea foam off the coast of California (or erupt fully grown from the mind of Zeus - if you prefer a different mythological allusion). The next great conservative leader is going to grow organically and find his (or her) own style.

Having just said that the next great conservative leader isn’t yet upon us, allow your Maximum Leader to vent for a moment about all of the conservative angst over John McCain. If your Maximum Leader may quote the late (great) Barry Goldwater, “Conservatives grow up!” To the admonition to “grow up” your Maximum Leader will add “get over it.” John McCain is an honorable man. He is a man who has for years been a strong conservative on a host of issues. He does have an “independent” streak - but shouldn’t conservatives approve of independent streaks? Are streaks of independence just the types of traits that conservatives have found praisworthy in people like Ronald Reagan (and Barry Goldwater)? Conservatives should look beyond pain-jane doctrinaires and go for someone who is his own man.

And allow your Maximum Leader to be pragmatic for a moment. Of all of the Republicans out there - at this time - John McCain is the only standard bearer the party could have chosen who has a snowballs chance in hell of pulling out a win in November. John McCain is the only possible candidate who could potentially have strong cross-over appeal. He is the only Republican who can adequetely defend himself against charges of being a “typical Washington Republican.” In case you hadn’t been paying close attention, the Republican “brand’ ain’t worth doodly-squat nowadays. Your typical Republican is a big-government, high-spending, perk-loving politician who is only different from a Democrat by scope. The Democrat wants to do everything the Republicans want to do - only more.

This is not to say that John McCain has been the great standard-bearer for small-government, personal liberty, and freedom. He’s been good on those issues, but in many ways John McCain is more in tune with Americans now than many others in his party. This may not please the more “orthodox” conservatives. But pleasing conservatives doesn’t win elections. Your Maximum Leader once was filled with admiration for people who would rather stand on principle and fail than give up their principles and win. That was a long time ago when your Maximum Leader was younger and less wise. Now your Maximum Leader knows that in politics winning is everything. Politics is compromise. Politics on the national stage is all about how much you can get of what you want. (NB: BTW, your Maximum Leader still has piles of admiration for people who do stand on principle in a host of fields - like religion, ethics, etc.) Conservatives who are willing to lose in 2008 on principle are playing a dangerous game.

Allow your Maximum Leader to admonish conservatives who believe that an Obama presidency will be a good thing for the “conservative movement.” You are hoping that lightning will strike twice. The thinking behind this (misguided) belief is that without Jimmy Carter there would be no Ronald Reagan. That certainly was the case in 1980. But one shouldn’t bet the farm (or in this case the whole country) on the hope that the confluence of events that set the stage for Reagan in 1980 can be recreated for some unnamed conservative in 2012.

Your Maximum Leader hopes that conservatives recognize that supporting John McCain and trying to win in 2008 is the only way to advance the “conservative movement.” Four years of European-style socialist government from Obama and a Democratic Congress will not be easily undone.

Just quit whining and get behind McCain. It is the best choice you have available right now.

Carry on.

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