Image is Everything

Some are arguing that McCain’s voting record, which is more conservative than many people realize, won’t matter, since independents tend to view him as a moderate.

His conservatism could be a problem for Mr. McCain — particularly if this November’s contest is as close as recent presidential elections, which were decided by independent-minded voters in the center of the political spectrum.

But he might avoid this problem to the extent people know him as an independent-minded politician. And many do view him that way.

“People see him as a centrist. They don’t see him as a conservative,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

“In fact, they put him pretty close to themselves, in terms of ideology, and put President Bush way to the right of themselves,” Mr. Kohut said.

Except I think McCain is a centrist, conservative voting record aside.  Much like the current Commander-in-Chief, he’s antagonized enough parts of the Republican coalition that conservatives don’t much like him.  He’ll earn my vote in November, because, well, look at my other choices.  Plus, I think McCain is a sight better than the current occupant of the oval office, and I managed to close my eyes and think of England in 2004.  I can do it again.