An "Honorable Loser"? What Is "Honorable" About Not Trying To Win?

“Mark Salter, McCain’s long-serving chief of staff, is understood to have told campaign insiders that he would prefer his boss, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, to suffer an “honourable defeat” rather than conduct a campaign that would be out of character – and likely to lose him the election.”


After watching in exasperation as McCain flails ineffectually, this report sure rings true.

So who is requesting that McCain behave “dishonorably” Is this McCain and Salter’s misperception of what conservatives are demanding? That candidly identifying Obama as a radical-feigning-moderation somehow constitutes dishonorable conduct?


We’ve seen this movie before, and it has a most unhappy ending. In 1996, war hero Bob Dole decided that losing “gracefully” was the proper thing to do. He did not fight. He laid down and died, in the process betraying those who nominated him.

To paraphrase someone who never quit, “Here we go again.”

Throughout this campaign I have been wondering why McCain’s challenge to Obama was so weak, and Salter’s quote dovetails perfectly with what has been on display. When Obama lied (and lied and lied) during the debates, McCain’s responses were pathetically feeble. Rather than exposing Obama as the outrageous fraud he is, McCain passively enabled his deceit.

Now we know why. Salter and McCain view confronting Obama as being dishonorable.

Palin gets it, but she is a Reaganite. Of course, she gets it. If you have dearly held principles, you MUST fight for them.

McCain, however, is a moderate Republican, which means that his principles are more malleable than Silly Putty. Like longtime House minority leader Bob Michel, McCain is apparently content to run a noble but losing campaign.


It is the political version of pro wrestling, wherein the “opponent” puts up a nominal struggle before losing to the star.

Somehow I doubt that my man Romney would be quietly fading into the horizion.

He would be fighting all out.

Given the financial backdrop he might lose, but when you lose while fighting all out at least you have “lost honorably”.

The amazing thing is that – even with the economy crashing and McCain pulling his punches – Obama is still only ahead by six points. The American people are viscerally reluctant to elect this reprobate, but they need someone to provide a compelling alternative.

This makes what McCain and Salter are doing all the more unethical. Gaining the GOP presidential nomination carries with it the responsibility to confront Democratic mendacity. If McCain believes that doing so is “dishonorable”, he should have found himself some other line of work. That way, rank and file conservatives could be represented by a stalwart instead of being represented by an “honorable loser”.