In the eyes of its diehards, the Republican Party will go a long way tomorrow toward nominating a candidate who has betrayed its principles.
On the far right's list of infamy, McCain is reviled for damaging free speech and the First Amendment for trying to curb the power of money in elections, harming free enterprise by advocating a patient's bill of rights and the importation of lower-priced socialized medications from Canada and, worst of all, refusing to crack down on illegal immigrants who might sneak across our unfenced borders for another 9/11 attack.
The tide of bile against John McCain is so high that right-wing realists are piling last-minute sandbags on the ideological dikes to avert a GOP Katrina.
In the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby argues that "the immaculate conservative leader for whom so many on the right yearn to vote is a fantasy. Conservatives who say that McCain is no Ronald Reagan are right, but Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan either. Neither is Mike Huckabee. And neither was the real--as opposed to the mythic--Ronald Reagan.
"The conservative case against McCain is clear enough...But this year, the conservative case for McCain is vastly more compelling."
The New York Times' new sage William Kristol urges far-right colleagues to overcome their "disgruntlement and dyspepsia" and not to "treat 2008 as a throwaway election."
Fellow senators, too, are having a hard time swallowing the idea of McCain as their standard bearer, the Washington Post reports, warning that "his tirades suggest a temperament unfit for the Oval Office."
McCain's offenses against collegiality, to an outside observer, seem motivated by outrage at blatant corruption, but we may not be attuned to the nuances of legislative free enterprise.
Tomorrow will be a test for all his detractors. Will they choose a chance to win in November with the treacherous McCain or go down in honor with malleable Mitt Romney?