Count his highness Rush Limbaugh, the maddening Laura Ingraham and neoconservatism's preeminent blogger Michelle Malkin among those who seem to genuinely believe that Sen. McCain's brand of moderate conservatism is the reason that Republicans took such a beating in the fall.
Our comments here come a week or so after the right side of the blogosphere criticized Sen. McCain's daughter Meghan for comments critical of the GOP in general, and conservatives such as Ann Coulter in particular. Most of the right's criticism of Ms. McCain concerned either (1) her weight; (2) her supposed lack of conservative principles; or (3) her father's alleged voting record. I have yet to hear or read a substantive rebuttal that actually addresses Ms. McCain's original premise.
Additionally, while filling in for Bill O'Reilly on the highest-rated television show on cable news, Laura Ingraham attacked Ms. McCain on two consecutive nights, while making backhanded comments about her weight. The fact that a "respected" conservative commentator guest-hosting cable news' biggest program would choose to waste her time criticizing the 20-something daughter of a GOP senator is beyond maddening.
During the Republican primaries, the bottom layer of the right-wing noise machine -- Ingraham, Sean Hannity, et al. -- predicted that, should John McCain win the nomination, he would get blown out in the general election by either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. They claimed conservatives would stay home in droves as a protest against McCain's shallow conservative record. They said that the GOP's problem was that it had become too bipartisan.
And when McCain lost by a 7-point margin to Obama in November, they gleefully deemed themselves prescient.
There's one small problem with their premise.
John McCain outperformed the generic Republican ballot in virtually every area of the country, and among virtually every demographic other than those to the right of Gary Bauer. The GOP lost eight seats in the Senate, a drubbing of historic proportions. Until the financial meltdown of mid-September, McCain was running even with and sometimes ahead of Barack Obama. McCain only lost his edge when voters believed him to be too volatile to handle the financial crisis.
You really thought Fred Thompson had a better chance?
John McCain was and is arguably the most popular Republican in the country, his defeat in the 2008 election notwithstanding.
McCain won 46 percent of the vote in an election that saw the highest voter turnout in American history.
The far right -- who enjoys castigating the likes of McCain and Lindsay Graham -- points out that the Republican Party nominated a moderate conservative and lost; ergo, the party should never nominate a moderate conservative again.
The problem wasn't the incompetence and extremism of President Bush, they maintain; it was that John McCain worked with too many Democrats.
I have yet to hear the testimony of one Republican not named Ron Paul who actually stayed home and did not vote for John McCain.
Do you conservatives really believe that Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee could have beaten Barack Obama?
Because if you do, I suggest you start reading some polling data.
If anything can be said about the far right, it's that facts rarely seem to get in the way of analysis.
A note to our conservative readers: We criticize President Obama because he's a rudderless demagogue.
But we criticize your self-appointed leaders because they're genuinely stupid people.
The right-wing noise machine headed by the likes of Malkin, Ingraham, John Hawkins, et al. are visible at one extreme, and the kool-aid swilling likes of Joe Klein and Keith Olbermann are all too evident at the other. One side genuinely believes that Sarah Palin is the tonic for what ails us. The other slobbers over our president and defends his every move, no matter how hypocritical.
Each side reflects a political system in intellectual decline.
We derive great enjoyment from criticizing hypocrites and extremists from all sides.
But it's pathetic to watch each extreme descend deeper into an intellectual stupor.