To avoid any confusion here, let me make clear that I think that anybody who would vote for John McCain because they like him is a dope. Except in a few isolated policy areas, McCain will follow right-wing policies if he’s elected, and that’s the only thing that counts.
"Independent" voter who will choose him mostly because they admire his flinty resolve or manly career — and there will, unfortunately, be millions of these voters — are fools. Take it away, Stanley Fish:
[V]oting the person rather than the party is about the dumbest thing you can do for a reason I elaborated in an earlier column (“Parties Matter”). The party affiliation of a candidate tells you what kind of appointments he or she is likely to make. Do you think that regulations of industry stifle productivity and damage the economy, or do you think that unregulated industries endanger the environment? Do you think that illegal immigrants are just that – illegal – and therefore should be deported when detected, or do you think that we should figure out a way to legitimize their status and make the best of what has already happened? Do you think that Iran poses a threat that must be countered before it is too late, or do you think that military action should be resorted to only after every avenue of diplomacy has been exhausted, even if it takes years or decades?
If you feel strongly about these and other matters, it is incumbent upon you to take into consideration the positions of the two major parties, for the successful candidate can be counted on to appoint to the offices responsible for answering these questions men and women whose views reflect the party’s platform. Voting the person, however attractive or impressive he or she may be, could very well get you four years of policies you detest. In other words, policy differences are party differences, and it is hard to see how you could be a responsible voter if you held your nose at a whiff of party politics. If you are really interested in the way things should go in the country, come off the high pedestal and join the rest of us in the nurturing (and, yes, dirty) soil of the partisan free-for-all.