Kate O’Beirne makes a strong case for why John McCain should get a second look from conservatives:
A veteran GOP congressional aide who has been a critic of McCain, most recently on the issue of immigration, recently surprised himself by concluding that the Arizona senator would be the best general-election candidate. This strategist seeks a nominee who will unify and energize the base, who has the potential to win, and who makes fellow Republicans competitive. He notes that McCain is pro-life and strong on national security, and has long been in favor of fiscal restraint. In addition to unifying social, economic, and national-security conservatives, he argues, McCain has a maverick image that can appeal to the independent voters who abandoned the GOP in droves in 2006.
I still think that McCain’s poisoned relationship with many conservatives and his money woes will ultimately keep him from winning the nomination. Also, were he forced to accept public financing, it would severely undercut his electability argument. But I wouldn’t write him off in this environment.