Conservative activists are preparing to do battle with allies of Sen. John McCain in advance of September's Republican National Convention, hoping to prevent his views on global warming, immigration, stem cell research and campaign finance from becoming enshrined in the party's official declaration of principles.
McCain has not yet signaled the changes he plans to make in the GOP platform, but many conservatives say they fear wholesale revisions could emerge as candidate McCain seeks to put his stamp on a document that currently reflects the policies and principles of President Bush.
"There is just no way that you can avoid anticipating what is going to come. Everyone is aware that McCain is different on these issues," said Jessica Echard, executive director of the conservative Eagle Forum. "We're all kind of waiting with anticipation because we just don't know how he's going to thread this needle."
Translation: McCain has said and done anything he can to get the nomination, and now that he has to run as a conservative, his own lack of principles are at odds with the rabble he had to appeal to in order to win. You know what won't be in there? Promises to cut Medicare and Medicaid and force everyone to get a private e-Trade account in lieu of social security. And it's a safe bet that a promise to remain in Iraq for the next 100 years isn't going to be in there, either.
Party platforms are meaningless. They give no indication as to how a candidate will actually govern; they give every indication as to how the lunatic fringe elements in either party will get when they're given the crumbs from the table. Don't tell me what's in the party platform--tell me who's going to be Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense. Don't tell me what the party position on free trade is--tell me what the plan is to deal with Congress when the issue comes up.