The question is: What shape would the Republican party be in had John McCain won the 2000 election. How would the politics of the day be different had George Bush not been the 43rd President of the United States, but instead John McCain?
It is hard to imagine that the most common complaint of the Republican party under George W. Bush - runaway federal spending - would have existed in a McCain presidency. McCain is a strong anti-earmark crusader and walks the walk. He has never delivered an earmark to his constituents in Arizona. They reward him by re-election.
Yet, the far right calls McCain a RINO - a Republican in name only.
A President John McCain would have been a strong protector of our country after the attack of 9/11/01. And, frankly, I think Osama bin Laden would have been captured or killed shortly after the battle was brought to the Taliban in Afghanistan as our nation responded to the attacks. Would he have gone on to oust Saddam Hussein? I don't know.
A President John McCain would have worked with both sides of the aisle for important legislation - just as George W. Bush did on No Child Left Behind and for expanding Medicare for prescription drugs for senior citizens. McCain, however, is the one who bears the brunt of criticism for working with the other side.
McCain is of the old school of politics. He knows civility accomplishes more than venom. It is a sign of maturity. Be the loyal opposition, yes, but move the agenda forward productively. The country does not do well with one party rule. How are we doing now? Are the very ones who criticize the McCains in Congress the same ones complaining that the minority is not listened to or allowed input in legislation now?
McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation would not have been written and passed in 2002. That would get that argument out of the way.
The American voter rebelled after eight years of Republicans acting like Democrats after enjoying being a majority in Congress and having the White House for the first time in over 40 years. It was too heady of an experience for them not to succumb to the corruption that happens with one party rule. They were human and fallible.
It is hard to believe that a President McCain ushered into office in January 2001 would have taken the Republican party to its present condition.
Who's the real RINO? The loud and obnoxious in tone who still don't get that this is a center-right leaning nation but do not understand that it takes more than the voice of the far right to be a successful movement are doomed to continue to allow the far left monopoly in Washington, now present.
Political parties are not private clubs. Big tents are necessary. Disagreement is good and allows for growth. Independents must feel welcome and needed. They are essential to victory. And, if a voter doesn't understand that politics is all about winning, then we are further afield than feared now. If your party doesn't win, your agenda is not on the front burner.
Grown up people know that no one is 100% happy all the time. President Reagan said he was ok with those who agreed with him 80% of the time. Was he a RINO?
Common sense works.