Patrick Ruffini, Webmaster for President Bush's 2004 campaign and a former e-campaign adviser for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign, writes a piece reminding primary voters of how far John McCain once veered from key Republican principles. Ruffini argues that McCain has spent months talking about 'nothing but the war and earmarks,' which he implies has helped primary voters 'forget why they distrusted McCain.' Ruffini's piece is largely a look back at a 'seminal' New Republic piece from 2002, when there were widespread rumors that McCain was considering a party switch. Here's one representative paragraph:
But perhaps most amazing has been McCain’s willingness to take stands even many Democrats are afraid of. He voted against Bush’s tax cut, the centerpiece of the new president’s agenda. Along with John Kerry, he sponsored legislation to raise automobile emissions standards, and he paired with Joe Lieberman to try to force Bush to reduce greenhouse gases in compliance with the Kyoto accord. Also with Lieberman, McCain has proposed forcing people who buy firearms at gun shows to undergo background checks–closing the “gun-show loophole”–even as most Democrats shy away from any form of gun control. He has infuriated the gambling industry by proposing to ban wagering on college sports. And along with Carl Levin, he has co-sponsored a bill to force companies that deduct executive stock options from their taxes to disclose the cost on their financial statements–another effort few Democrats have been willing to join.In a primary season where virtually all of the leading contenders have pretty clear records of forsaking a variety of conservative principles (with one exception), is McCain on the rebound because his 'straying' is furthest from the public mind? Or is it something else--perhaps that he is viewed as the most electable? In any case, those who intend to support McCain would do well to read Ruffini's piece--if only to protect against buyer's remorse.