Friend of the Devil

John McCain has a problem with many Republicans. It’s not that they don’t believe he’s honest. It’s not that they don’t think he could be a good leader. And it certainly is not that they don’t consider him an honorable man. The problem that John McCain has with the Republican base is that he gets too much good press.

During his 2000 presidential bid, McCain and his “Straight Talk Express” were top line news in the mainstream media. He was on Good Morning America at the drop of a hat, there were countless fawning articles about his “maverick” style, and the press chased him around the campaign trail like groupies at a Mick Jagger sighting. With each new article, TV appearance or radio interview, McCain lost more and more conservative votes.

McCain doesn't seem to realize the extent that conservatives consider the mainstream media to be their political adversaries. After suffering liberal bias for thirty years, Republican voters are highly suspect of candidates who are handled amicably by the press. Successful conservative candidates battle openly with the media or, like Reagan, simply ignore them.

The picture of a Republican politician who is beholden to the press is not pretty. McCain himself is exhibit number one. Think of his infamous “Campaign Finance Reform” initiative. With media consumption always just a thought away, it was meant primarily to promote his independent status. The result was some of the worst legislation of the past ten years. His recent immigration legislation was more of the same.

Republicans don’t want centrist pap that is designed for the ever shrinking soft middle of the political spectrum. They want legislation that is pro growth, strong on defense, and supports traditional values. And if the mainstream media likes what it sees, conservatives take a very hard look at the fine print.