In a recent National Journal article, Professor Pitney expounds on McCain’s support within the Republican Party. He suggests that McCain has a very small base of dedicated support.
“John McCain is a man without a faction,” said John Pitney, a political scientist who teaches at California’s Claremont McKenna College. “There is no group within the party that is completely comfortable with McCain.”
Although the nominee’s choice of the anti-abortion, pro-Second Amendment Palin pleased GOP social conservatives, Pitney said the conservative wing of the Republican Party has not forgotten that McCain rebuked the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson in the past, and “has listed Darwin as one of his heroes.”
National security conservatives know that McCain is with them on Iraq, but against them on the use of coercive interrogation techniques. Economic conservatives, Pitney continued, aren’t entirely comfortable, because McCain opposed tax cuts in the past and supports environmental policies that conservatives assail as costly to business. And mainstream party elites chafe at McCain’s obstinacy about earmarks and “special interests,” and despise the changes wrought by the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.