Sunday, November 16, 2008

McCain's Loss: Beyond The Conventional Wisdom

By now it’s clear that despite the McCain campaign’s misguided belief that many Republicans and Conservatives would hold their noses on November 4th and vote for him as “The Only Game In Town,” that didn’t happen.

Most of the obvious reasons have been adduced: McCain had cobbled together the Republican/Democrat “Gang of Fourteen” gaining them leverage over President Bush’s judicial nominees; McCain had embarrassed the administration over the torture of high-value terrorists; McCain had been in bed with Ted Kennedy on amnesty for illegal aliens and with Russ Feingold on throttling political speech. And more. Plenty more!

But there may have been something else that bothered many of the American people, who are not stupid, even if they did not experience their anxiety consciously.

Ironically, what McCain trumpeted as his cardinal virtue, may have been seen by countless American voters, even subconsciously, as his worst vice: his heralded ability to compromise.

Few people really understand the true meaning of compromise, and its frequent consequences. As the late political philosopher Ayn Rand wrote:

"There can be no compromise on moral principles. 'In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.' (Atlas Shrugged.) The next time you are tempted to ask: 'Doesn’t life require compromise?' translate that question into its actual meaning: 'Doesn’t life require the surrender of that which is true and good to that which is false and evil?' The answer is that that precisely is what life forbids—if one wishes to achieve anything but a stretch of tortured years spent in progressive self-destruction." (Emphasis in original.)

Sadly, the path of compromise is the one John McCain has been traveling all his years in Congress. Millions of American voters were apparently unwilling to walk that road with him.

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