by Jordan Zakarin
Having winnowed a wide field of candidates for the Republican nomination for President to just presumptive nominee John McCain, the GOP base is still dissatisfied with its choice, according to the results of a new RSN/Gallup Poll released Sunday.
In a cycle without a clear favorite of the conservative base, would-be heirs to the right wing throne of late President Ronald Reagan were vetted and cast aside by the GOP primary electorate; former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson and former Massachusettes Governor Mitt Romney in particular were disappointments to the party’s early state voters. That left McCain, the Senator from Arizona that has bucked his party on a number of issues, to reclaim his status of front runner and take the nomination.
However, the RSN survey reveals that this turn of events has in no way been greeted happily by the few Republicans left voting in the party’s primary; in fact, 74% of GOP voters found McCain to not to be enough of a douche bag to be the Republican standard bearer. Similarly, while 65% say that they would like to have a beer with McCain, only 21% of those respondents said that they would like to drunkenly make catcalls at women or beat up immigrant laborers after eleven such beers, a category that has long been a litmus test of sorts for Republican candidates.
Peter Miller, 84, Virginia GOP vice chair and assistant historian at the Republican National Committee, pointed to precedent as he echoed the dissatisfaction felt amongst many conservatives at McCain’s nomination:
“Republicans have, by and large, always done best with a big prick at the top of the ticket. Start off with Nixon, who had his hand up more asses than Jim Henson; then a few years later, Ronald Reagan, who just plain didn’t like black people.” Miller noted that, “for all the good Teddy Roosevelt did, the guy had a mighty fine Indian scalp collection, and Calvin Coolidge put us through the torture of prohibition. People may admire Eisenhower, but the general was a sexual predator. Even the man who started the party, Lincoln, was dick enough not to tell his wife that he was a total gaybo.”
With a mounting displeasure at the McCain nomination, Republican officials are trying to bolster his asshole credentials amongst the base, and the effort has begun to show serious results. The RNC is running a direct-mail campaign emphasizing the Senator’s flip on the use of waterboarding, which he now supports, as well as using television commercials in a number of states highlighting his prominent place in the Keating Five scandal of the 1980’s.
A similar ethics scandal, involving a lobbyist from his home state of Arizona, was recently revealed in the New York Times after a GOP operative spent months trying to plant the story. The successful plant fulfilled two purposes; polishing McCain’s ties with lobbyist bonifides, as well as becoming the cause célèbre cry in the conservative base’s on-going battle against its favorite journalistic bogeyman.
Robert Mason, a county GOP chair from Kansas, said that the national party’s efforts have been working. “We’re fed this image of an independent guy, with a lot of quote unquote dignity,” Mason said, “but really, when you look closely at his record, he’s got a lot of the qualities we’re looking for in a new leader of our party. It’s relieving to know he will uphold the Republican tradition.”