Kathryn Jean Lopez at Townhall wishes the USA could have John Howard for their next President.

In the final paragraphs she gets to her real point, which is that John McCain just isn’t conservative enough, and by damn he ought to be looking for a VP with conservative culture warrior credentials like Howard’s.

Here’s where we see the social conservative arm of the Republican party reap what it has sown over the past decades of pandering to the fundegelical extremists: talented but socially moderate candidates can’t stand the condemnation theatre required in order to appeal to the fundegelicals (and therefore don’t run), and the true believers who try and gain the nation’s confidence are quite rightly rejected as their prurient obsession with other people’s private choices scares voters away. This leaves the GOP with the only viable candidate likely to get out the base being a panderer like McCain, who might con the credulous but doesn’t satisfy the serious culture warriors who see him as a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

She’s probably right that unless McCain chooses a full-on conservative culture warrior as his VP running-mate, he won’t win the election in November, because many of the fundegelical “base” will stay at home rather than vote. I’m just hoping that the problem I’ve outlined above continues to bite the GOP in the arse – candidates are either fundegelical OR widely attractive to the broader electorate, not both.

Howard’s success in winning over the voters as a conservative leader was that he did not appear too religious, and he knew just how to appeal to the wallet-voters while whipping up the FUD-factor: Australian voters mainly did not vote for his actual conservative ideologies at all, and conservatives elsewhere should take note of what happened when Howard finally rolled out his fiscally conservative reforms of the labour market. Australia couldn’t get rid of him fast enough.

With the main source of FUD for the USA at the moment being the tanking economy, I somehow doubt the ability of McCain to generate the right combination of wallet-appeal and only-McCain-can-protect you momentum to emulate Howard’s electoral victories. McCain losing the presidential election will be a good thing in the long run, but unfortunately the looming recession is going to hurt many Americans (as well as the rest of the world that shivers when America sneezes). That sucks.

Categories: culture wars, Politics

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4 replies

  1. Hey, they want little Johnny, they’re welcome to him. Just give me a minute or two to tape this cardboard box together.
    How many stamps do you think Aussie Post would want us to put on the package? I figure sea mail should be fine, don’t you?
    [Serious comment: What the US is looking for is someone who can be as successful as John Howard was from a conservative standpoint. However, what they’re missing is Howard’s success came in a completely different political environment. For a start, the success of the Liberals for the Howard years was mainly due to the lack of any organised opposition from the ALP; secondly, we have a completely different voting environment, due to compulsory turnout – all parties tend to aim much more toward the broad middle, rather than the extremes. Finally, John Howard himself didn’t have to win the entire country; all he had to do was retain a safe, blue-ribbon Liberal seat, which he managed for something like thirty years.
    Honestly, comparing the Australian prime ministership to the US presidency is very much like comparing apples and Poll Herefords.]
    Meg Thornton’s last blog post..Headline of the day

  2. One thing that John McCain and John wHoward have in common is their support for an indefinite occupation of Iraq. I wonder if John Mc agrees with John wHo that even in hindsight Vietnam was a good idea.
    Kevin Rennie’s last blog post..War Reflection #2: “Peace with Honor” – the usual spin

  3. Obviously she didn’t see the last few months of his PM ship when he lost his canny advisers and started to look foolish. They need JH (and are welcome to him) + Arthur Sidinos, and all the others who kept the ship running smoothly until they left and it ran onto the rocks. JH alone just can’t cut it.
    Mindy’s last blog post..???!

  4. Good Grief!!
    Don’t tell me, the US has found somebody who actually likes his Salt Pan speeches.

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