Over at Hullabuloo, Tristero has a post that says that McCain and Palin are the last people in the world you'd want running the country. And I accurately pointed out in comments that there are TONS of Republicans that I consider just as bad as either of them (President John Bolton, anyone?), and that's just among the famous Republicans who are diplomatic enough to float to the top (as scum always does). And the problem isn't finding the Republican you don't want, but rather the one you don't fear.
And another commenter suggested Olympia Snowe as being the only one we wouldn't need to fear. But as I said, sorry, but I'm not buying it. History has shown that there are few honorable people when big rewards only go to the dishonorable, and far fewer among Republicans. If, as a presidential nominee, Olympia Snowe didn't pull a McCain and sell everything out to the Republican base and filthy smear machine, she'd lose in the same humiliating defeat McCain would have. Republicans just can't win any other way.
Whether or not McCain was an honorable man before this election, he at least was smart enough to cultivate a credible reputation that lots of relatively intelligent people believed in. And he destroyed it all in just a few months of a depressing political campaign. People do crazy things when they feel a big victory slipping from their grasp. And with the Republican Party being an inherently exclusivist group of elitist haters, there's only so many ways you can play the cards and still pull a majority on the national level. Any that haven't sold themselves out yet just haven't been given enough enticement to do so.
And I should have added to that that this doesn't just apply to winning elections. No Republican president could lead without selling out. Any Republican president that didn't seem to be one of the base would need to throw constant red meat at the base at every occasion. That's why Bush, as a "born again" "Texan" "ranch owner" with no record of being anti-Republican could get away with mere hints of coded religious language, while "Maverick" McCain had to hand his VP slot to an unqualified nimrod (who happened to be a born again Alaskan who hunts moose and "fights" government spending). And someone like Olympia Snowe would have to do far more to keep them on her side. Heck, Republicans couldn't even give Snowe the VP slot, let alone the top spot.
Again, it's not that Republicans keep sending these fruitcakes to the Whitehouse. It's that being a fruitcake is the only chance they've got of getting there. Honestly, had McCain not sold-out to the conservatives or gone heavily negative, he'd have been lucky to even pull 35% on election day. As it is, I doubt he can win, but at least it won't be a humilating defeat.
And if McCain does somehow win, there's no going back to Maverickland for him. He's stuck on the Rove Talk Express forevah! So it's not enough to find some Republican politician who hasn't sold out yet. We've got to imagine that they'd be willing to stay that way and suffer an epic defeat. And to be totally honest with you, if my only shot at the presidency was to run as a dirty Republican sell-out, I'd consider it. I really would. I might not win with pride, but I'd still be a better president than any of the Republicans who ran this year.