Why do they “hate” him?

Chuck Todd of the National Journal and Hotline explains why he thinks John McCain will save the Republican party. The piece is worth reading, though there’s much I either don’t follow or don’t agree with. For example, why does Todd believe that McCain will have saved the party even if it nominates Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney instead? Is he claiming that McCain will make these two competitors, both of whom have potential appeal to moderates, popular with conservatives by comparison? To me, that’s a stretch. Giuliani and Romney would be potential front-runners with “cross-over” appeal even if McCain were completely out of the picture.
Todd expresses puzzlement that many conservatives “hate” McCain even though “there’s nothing in his record that screams ‘liberal.'” He speculates that conservatives hate McCain because the media likes him.
I don’t know that many conservatives hate McCain; I certainly don’t. His lack of conservative support stems, I think, from the positions he has taken on vital issues like campaign finance reform, immigration, tax cuts, and interrogation of terrorists. Joining the gang of 14 didn’t help either. To the extent that conservatives dislike McCain, it may have less to do with the media’s admiration (a factor, to be sure) than with McCain’s tendency to demonize conservatives who disagree with him. But as he gears up to run for president again, McCain has become less of a demonizer. That, and perhaps the opportunism of some conservatives, should boost McCain’s prospects.
When it comes to moderates, Todd correctly notes that McCain’s strong support for our continued involvement in Iraq poses a potential problem. McCain should take some comfort from Sen. Lieberman’s strong showing in the very blue state of Connecticut. It suggests that voters are not inclined to punish popular pro-war politicians who aren’t seen as tied to the administration. Two more years of the status quo in Iraq could change that, of course. But how likely is it that we’ll see two more years of the status quo in Iraq?
Via Real Clear Politics

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