I'm still intrigued by a post by my co-blogger Simon over at Stubborn Facts, about a David Brooks piece on McCain's new negative campaigning being a response to Obama's media coverage. I left a comment there that I think captures my view on this quite well, but this led me back to something I've been pondering for a while, that is the unifying force behind the conservative support for McCain. McCain has, and always will have dedicated support from moderate Republicans, independents, and even many moderate Democrats. I respect McCain a great deal, and I've said so before. Amongst the right-wing base of the GOP, the story has been different. The rifts betwen McCain and the GOP base are recent and well-known. Remember that it was only mere months ago that McCain appeared before the CPAC, to "heal the wounds," as it were.
Things have changed, however. I've no doubt that the right-wing distaste for McCain is still there, as a close reading of righty blogs will reveal, but for the most part, the conservative leadership has lined up behind McCain. Despite the rants of the likes of John Hawkins and Ann Coulter, most righties have decided on McCain, or rather they've settled for him. You see, that's the thing, while most of Obama's core supporters have enthusiatically embraced him (a few of them taking it to unseemly levels of hero-worship), most righties have merely settled on McCain. For many, if they had their druthers, would've chosen someone else.
If you check out most righty blogs nowadays, you'll notice that you see a whole lot of anti-Obama posts and ads, and less pro-McCain stuff. The reason why is simple: The right-wing base is full of zeal, but it's not in support for McCain, rather it's in total opposition to Obama. They hate his guts, and are willing to put aside their issues with McCain (well, most of them) to see Obama defeated. The right is unified by opposition to Obama.
Now to be fair, most righties are pretty upfront about this, and the Left is hardly different with regards to Bush, but a lot of Democrats really like Obama, and Obama has an easier time getting money from his supporters than McCain does.
Brooks' article mentions that McCain's numbers have gone up as he's gone negative against Obama, and a good reason for this is that McCain has helped to unify righties against Obama. Conservatives seem to think it's a a bad thing for McCain to have good relations with Democrats, so the fact that he's in full attack mode helps him among his base, although it might hurt him among moderates.
In 2004, a lot of Democrats had the mindset of Anybody But Bush, and now the GOP has the mindset of Anybody But Obama. They are unified by opposition.