Nancy Reagan became the latest big name Republican to announce her support for John McCain today. “John McCain has been a good friend for over thirty years. My husband and I first came to know him as a returning Vietnam War POW, and were impressed by the courage he had shown through his terrible ordeal. I believe John’s record and experience have prepared him well to be our next president.”
On most issues, Mrs. Reagan isn’t involved in active politics anymore with the critical exception of stem cell research. Reagan became a proponent of the research after Alzheimer’s disease ravaged her husband, former President Ronald Reagan.
Mrs. Reagan’s role is primarily as a figurehead and protector of her husband’s legacy, but she has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s opposition to federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. She doesn’t have much political weight anymore. Her endorsement is more a sign that the Republican Party is getting its ducks in a row for the fall.
John McCain used to be opposed to stem cell research, but changed his position in 2005. That year, McCain said on “Meet The Press,” “It’s a very complex scientific issue. But for us to throw away opportunities to cure diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and many others I think would be a mistake.”
McCain’s campaign will be defined by the Iraq war, but it is worth pointing out that he does hold some positions that are different from the current administration. His positions on stem cell research and global warming are much more moderate than those of the current administration. This is one of the many reasons why conservatives are nervous about, and distrustful of, John McCain.
The issue that got him the nomination is the same one that will cost him with voters in November, Iraq. The dilemma for McCain is that on other issues, he is much more appealing to Independents and conservative Democrats. Mrs. Reagan’s nomination is a nice token, but McCain’s positions will cause too much doubt with too many different voters for him to win.