So much for the conventional wisdom which said that the thing people liked so much about John McCain was his propensity to deliver “straight talk” even when it was stuff nobody wanted to hear. Straight talk is supposed to be a good thing because it’s another way of saying honest talk and honesty is a rare thing among politicians and therefore McCain is good.

But a funny thing happened in Michigan, which has the highest unemployment of any state in the union. Mitt Romney promised voters he would do everything humanly possible to help their situation while McCain, on the other hand, with some of the most sobering straight talk imaginable, basically said sorry, folks, but those jobs that have disappeared with the decline of the local auto industry ain’t coming back so you best stop whining and just get used to it.

Apparently Michiganders aren’t quite as quirky or accepting of the maverick senator’s straight talk as their New Hampshire cousins and their basic response, electorally speaking, was to tell him to take a long walk off a short pier.

It would be sort of like going to the North Slope of Alaska and telling the indigenous coastal villagers that because of uncontrollable, runaway, anthropogenic global warming, their villages, along with their culture and very identity, will soon fall into the sea and that while he, if elected president, will do everything he can to fight global warming, it’s too late for them and they best start seeking out higher ground elsewhere.

Actually, he did say something along those lines, but let’s leave that discussion for another time. It’s not just all the searingly honest and brutal straight talk that makes McCain such an inappropriate Republican nominee for president. It’s the fact that on most issues other than the war in Iraq and national defense, he’s not really conservative.

Okay, time for the obligatory caveat that I like McCain and have the highest respect for his service to the country. Now, here’s a little straight talk about why his nomination as the Republican presidential candidate would potentially be a disaster for the party.

McCain-Feingold. McCain-Kennedy. McCain ____ (insert name of most despised liberal here). The straight-talking maverick senator has a tendency to go along with policies that seem straight out of the Pelosi/Reid playbook and are such that no self-respecting conservative would be caught dead doing. Here’s the short list of issues on which he has been on the wrong side: immigration, campaign finance, Bush tax cuts, drilling in Anwar, global warming, Gang of 14, Guantanamo, terrorists’ rights.

Straight talk is one thing, crazy talk is another. For all I know, McCain may be right about jobs in Michigan, but the real problem is all the other stuff that he inexplicably goes along with while continuing to insist that he’s a conservative. It’s simply demonstrably false on more issues than you can shake a stick at. Why in the world would the Republican Party nominate him as its ultimate leader?

Will Michigan turn out to be the death knell in McCain’s campaign or will he get new life in South Carolina? Who knows in this political season of conventional wisdom getting tossed out like yesterday’s fish wrapper?

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website:

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