Whether you like him or not, John McCain as Republican nominee is a healthy development for American political discourse. You could take the view that it is counter-intuitive to want McCain for the Republicans, simply because he has the best chance against the Democrats. Why would you pull for the biggest threat, isn't it better to have a non-electable stooge like Romney?
The American hard right have always held a disporportionate voice, that wing has held the Republican party hostage for decades. The influence has effectively forced the Democrats to move closer to the center, on several fronts center-right. The hard conservative influence has tilted the entire political spectrum, because these people vote more than other demographics, they organize more, they mobilize, they create havoc, they unleash insane attacks to derail the process.
Should John McCain emerge as the nominee, it will represent a seismic shift for the Republican party. Conservatives are going ballistic at the prospects of McCain, and in so doing, are revealing themselves as the irrational, unstable ideologues that they are. The fact that, despite the howling, McCain still marches on, is a testament to the fact that a candidate doesn't necessarily need to pander to the loonie right to be successful. Conventional wisdom always held the view that it was impossible to win without this engaged demographic. Early on in the process, McCain did dabble with the right, some effort to appease, but in the end, the "maverick" continued to speak on topics which infuriated the supposed base.
What does it say now, that we have all the leading neo-cons screaming about McCain, and yet they seem powerless to stop him. The simple fact, moderates are throwing their weight around, those voters are moving in droves to McCain. In addition, Huckabee is also taking considerable heat from the likes of Limbaugh, and yet voters still respond. Polling consistently shows that McCain is the clear second choice of Huckabee voters, which is quite different from the frame that Huckabee hurts the conservative darling Romney. The two candidates that did well on Super Tuesday are both hated by the supposed powerful conservative movement.
McCain means the right has failed to hold the party hostage, its influence is waning. I take that as a great development for the overall level of discourse moving forward. A shift in the political spectrum that puts the right-wing on the sidelines, somewhat marginalized, as opposed to domination. I'm not arguing these people are gone, but their is no question they are crippled. A candidate can win without their blessing, a reality that seemed like nonsense just a few months ago.
Heading into the general, I see nothing to fear from a Republican who voluntarily brings up global warming, who resists the racist undertones of the immigration issue, who never envokes god, gays and guns. It will be a substantive debate, never a bad development in terms of process. The best part, the right will be forced to whine like babies, with full knowledge that they are largely excluded from the national debate. The obnoxious blow hards on the right have been silenced, still talking, but yielding little influence.