John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Five Stages of McCain

Posted on June 4, 2008

This originally appearing in the Washington Post on February 9, 2008; 12:00 AM


As somebody who used to work for Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert, two politicians who have somewhat less than high regard for John McCain, I know something of the angst many conservatives are feeling towards our likely presidential nominee. Here, in a nutshell, are the five stages of coming to grips with the John McCain nomination.

The first stage is anger. As in: "I'll never vote for John McCain. He screwed us on campaign finance reform; he's a tool for George Soros. He screwed us on immigration; he supports amnesty. I don't trust him on taxes; he said Americans should sacrifice for the war on their tax bills. He's no conservative. I'll never vote for this guy. I'd rather vote for Hillary Clinton!"

After anger comes despair. "I can't believe that McCain is going to get the nomination. What happened? McCain is too old. Conservatives won't vote for him. We're doomed. I'm doomed!"

After despair comes confusion. "I can't stand McCain. But he's a war hero and authentic. Campaign finance was wrong. But he was right on the surge. He's bad on taxes. But he's good on spending. The base hates him. But independents can't get enough. And even Phil Gramm and Grover Norquist think he's okay."

After confusion comes acceptance. "Well, McCain is going to get the nomination. I guess I can live with it. He's a war hero, after all. He was right on the surge. And he plays well with independents. I know he's old, but look at his energy level -- I couldn't keep up with him. Let's face it: McCain will be our nominee. And Rush Limbaugh is going to have to get over it."

After acceptance comes excitement. "Hey, McCain is going to be great! We need a maverick running our party. Look at those poll numbers! He can beat Clinton! Imagine that. We're going to win! I think I'm going to give McCain some money. What a war hero he is! Seventy-one is the new 61! Let's go! Mac is back! Would somebody tell Limbaugh to shut the hell up?"

The writer was spokesman for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and now runs a consulting firm.

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