And no again.
He could win a general election, but I don't believe he could first get through the Republican primaries.
The gentlemen at Power Line are a bit puzzled by the level of hostility many conservatives feel toward John McCain.
I'll give you two words why: McCain-Feingold. McCain's lack of regard for free speech is enough to doom him right there.
Or how about a couple more words: Gang of 14.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
McCain is undeniably conservative in certain areas, but he is not reliable or trustworthy. I also have strong concerns about McCain personally. He can be charming, but I also sense there is a lot of anger inside him. I have read any number of stories over the years about him engaging in very "uncharming" behavior which causes me concern.
McCain often has a loose tongue (see link in first paragraph) and is quite happy to "diss" the religious right, talk radio, and others who disagree with him on issues, rather than attempting to work constructively with those in his party with whom he disagrees. I think McCain is happier to work with Democrats than he is with some conservatives!
I simply would not feel secure having McCain in the Oval Office.
John Hinderaker also raises the question of Rudy Giuliani. Rudy is an interesting conundrum. He's a social liberal, and I strongly disagree with his positions on abortion and homosexual marriage, for starters. Rudy has a couple things going for him, being completely reliable when it comes to the war on terror, and a strong record when it comes to "law and order." He also seems to have the right executive and managerial qualities. I can't say at this point that I'd vote for him, but unlike McCain, I would give Giuliani a close look and listen to what he has to say to conservatives, particularly if the alternative were Hillary Clinton.
I wonder how Giuliani's judicial picks would be; if the law and order side of him dominated rather than the socially liberal side, they might not be that bad. On the other hand, they could be disastrous. It would be a real gamble.
It's a funny thing: McCain might possibly be the one with the more conservative overall track record -- though McCain-Feingold is such a huge negative it offsets his conservatism in other areas -- but Giuliani is the man I feel is more trustworthy. That means something, especially in this day and age.
I fail to understand the excitement many conservatives have about Mitt Romney. He does not have a strong conservative record and until 2002 ran as a pro-choice candidate.
Bill Frist? No. A nice man, obviously very talented, but not a leader.
Newt Gingrich is right on when it comes to conservative beliefs, but I think he would be done in by the strong media antipathy, not to mention his rather messy marital track record. (However, that doesn't seem to be hindering Rudy...)
So who is the answer for Republicans in 2008?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Saturday Update: Hugh Hewitt on McCain's attempts to defend the Gang of 14.