Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How Conservative a Republican Nominee?

It is interesting to see this early in the primary process how critical the issue of a candidate’s conservatism will factor into the eventual Republican nominee. We know from history that the Republican nominee has to be a conservative. But have times changed as to the degree of conservativeness needed to win the nomination?

By most polls, the top three Republican hopefuls are John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. A recent posting on the Race 4 2008 site is an example of these three candidates as the top three contenders, with Newt following in fourth place. So how conservative are the top three candidates?

McCain continues to be hit by the far right about his failure to strictly adhere to true conservative values. Giuliani may be a fiscal conservative but clearly his social values have to be called moderate at best. Clearly anyone would have to admit McCain is more conservative than Rudy. Then there is Mitt. Mitt continues to position himself as the true conservative but continues to get caught between his rhetoric and record. Whether that is the issue of bi-lingual education, or his tendency to flip-flop on issues that matter to conservatives.

Senator McCain’s primary criticism has been that he is not a true conservative. I for one believe he is and that his willingness to solve problems by reaching across the aisle should not be interpreted as his non-belief in conservative values. Rather, his willingness to compromise should be viewed as his political strength in the upcoming election. It is clear to me that the polls show that the people want someone who can solve problems and unite the country. Why else would Giuliani be running so high among the Republican candidates? McCain is the one candidate that has demonstrated his consistent conservative beliefs while being able to reach across the aisle and solve problems.