John McCain and Conservative Angst

John McCain and conservative angst, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

Right-wing commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are angry that Senator John McCain has become the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. They believe he is simply unacceptable.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He has curtailed free political speech. It was called McCain-Feingold. He opposed tax cuts, one of only a few Republicans to do so. He opposed efforts to eliminate the filibuster of conservative judges.

ANN COULTER: There were a lot of POWs. And maybe we can make one president who isn't responsible for campaign finance reform and who didn't vote against Bush's tax cuts.


Now the McCain campaign understands that angst, but feels it can make up for lost conservative votes with independents and Hispanic-Americans. Even though Senator McCain has now modified his rather soft approach on illegal immigration, he has not emphasized that modification. And he did score well with Hispanic voters in Florida.

The irony here is that the American Conservative Union gives John McCain a lifetime grade of 83 percent. By contrast, Hillary Clinton gets 9 percent. And Barack Obama is the nation's most liberal senator, according to the National Journal. So if he wins, Senator McCain would be facing a person far more liberal than he is.

With Rudy Giuliani now supporting McCain and Governor Huckabee draining support from Governor Mitt Romney, there is a chance the senator could wrap up the nomination by next Wednesday morning. That's speculation, of course, as Romney is running hard, and conservatives are making a lot of anti-McCain noise.

But in the end, the Republican Party, like the Democrats, will rally around their nominee as they have to. But some conservatives will sit things out, no question, as is their right. No pun intended.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

One of the sponsors here is Liberty Mutual, and I'm very impressed by their new ad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When it's people who do the right thing, they call it being responsible. When it's a home insurance company, they call it Liberty Mutual.


For encouraging kindness and generosity in America, the Liberty Mutual people are patriots.

On the pinhead front, listen to this:


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What are you screaming about? Let him talk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Support a new investigation into the attacks of 9/11.

CLINTON: Are you one of those "It was an inside job" guys? We look like idiots, folks, denying that the people who murdered our fellow citizens did it when they are continuing to murder people all around the world. So we heard from you. You go away.


Right on, Bill Clinton. The 9/11 conspiracy nuts are unbelievable pinheads.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads and Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on Send your comments to: