For those conservatives coming to grips with the prospects of a John McCain nomination, I would suggest the following approach. In a recent column, Jim Antle advised conservatives to keep McCain at arm’s length. I agree, but would put things slightly differently. I propose abiding by the McCain Rule.
The McCain Rule, simply stated, is:
What I mean by that is for years, McCain has often been on the same side as conservatives on issues such as spending and the surge, but often against them on other issues such as illegal immigration, taxes, and campaign finance reform. McCain always argues that people may not always agree with him, but he’ll always put principle ahead of politics and fight like hell for whatever he believes is best for our country.
Conservatives should take their cue from him. That is, when he is taking a position they agree with him on–such as opposing pork barrel spending or pursuing victory in Iraq–they should rally around him, but when he is pushing policies they abhor, they should oppose him fiercely and put principle ahead of loyalty to the leader of a political party.