Mark Levin speaks for a lot of conservatives, including myself, with this thought.
I wonder how many of us believe that if John McCain is the nominee, which is looking more likely, whether he will win New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California. This was the Giuliani strategy. He’s losing the conservative vote in virtually every state other than New York and New Jersey. He had won South Carolina but last night lost all the southern states that were in play. He’s also losing some of the small but critical red states in places like the mountain states. Moreover, even though there are essentially three candidates in the primary race, McCain as the putative front-runner should be building enough strength within the Republican Party to win core Republican states (or at least more of them). If we look forward to the general election, it’s hard to see how he wins the popular vote and it will be very difficult to cobble together the right combination of electoral college votes.
While today’s narrative is mostly about the lack of true conservative belief within the heart of John McCain, the end of the day will be all about who can win. And winning is defined not by popularity (ask Algore), but by votes in the electoral college. Levin is correct to question the McCain strategy in this regard. As it stands today, it’s a losing strategy. The question is, could it be turned around if McCain picks a conservative running mate, like Fred Thompson, for example? It could if the veep nominee is positioned to replace the position Dick Cheney has held. Problem with this is, it’s not clear at all that McCain would want to share power, or the camera lens, with anyone.
It must be made clear to McCain that he can’t win with just moderate Republicans and independents. His strategy must include conservative Republicans, and while they won’t line up with him, they might if they knew a true conservative running mate also had a hand on the wheel.
2008 Election, Conservatives, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Republicans, Vice President, Dick Cheney