Hamilton County GOP: McCain? Sure. Why not?
Not all of the 700 or so Hamilton County Republicans who gathered in the East Plaza of Paul Brown Stadium Friday night for the party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner are thrilled with the prospect of John McCain as their presidential nominee.
But the overwhelming consensus seemd to be that they will do their duty and vote for him this fall, and encourage fellow Republicans to do likewise.
The alternative, they say, is wandering in the wilderness for the next four or eight years with a Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the White House and a fortified Democratic majority in Congress.
“What else can we do?,’’ said Bob Saul of Montgomery, who backed Mitt Romney for the nomination. “It’s not easy for a lot of Republicans, but what’s the alternative?”
Saul, at least, has a natural affinity for McCain because they both served in the U.S. Navy, as did Saul’s friend, Bob Economou of Kenwood, who has contributed to only one GOP presidential candidate this year – McCain.
“My question for my Republican friends who cn’t stomach McCain is, fine you can live with Obama or Hillary for the next four years,’’ Economou said.
Mary Anne Christie of Madeira, another Romney supporter, is alright with McCain, as long as he doesn’t choose Mike Huckabee as his running mate, whom she sees as to far to the right.
“McCain’s 71 years old,’’ Christie said. “What if he dies in office and sticks us with Huckabee? I can’t imagine it.”
Some area Republicans, like U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, have stayed neutral all along. Chabot said he’ll continue to be neutral as long as there are other candidates in the race, but said as soon as the field is clear and McCain is the only one left standing, he will back him.
“I would have no problem supporting John McCain,’’ Chabot said. “When the fight is over, we have to get around our candidate.”
The crowd at Friday night's Lincoln-Reagan dinner consisted, for the most part, of party regulars - elected officials, ward chairs, precinct executives, and other who keep the wheels of the Hamilton County Republican Party organization running.
It was dominated by Republicans who, if they had been backing any candidate all, were for Romney.
Most of them were of the school of politics described by State Sen. Bob Schuler, R-Sycamore Township, a Romney supporter who says he will have no problem getting behind McCain.
"This is the way politics works,'' Schuler said. "You go out and work like hell for your guy. And, if you lose, you pick up and come together for the guy who won. And McCain's won."
The idea of the Republican base staying home and not supporting McCain is frightening, Schuler said, because it would ensure the election of a Democrat.
"Look at Obama,'' Schuler said. "Only three years ago, he had the same job I have - state senator. How could he possibly be ready to be president?"
Blue Ash Councilman Rick Bryan supported Fred Thompson.
"I tell my friends who aren't happy with McCain the same thing,' Bryan said. "The quickest way to put a Democrat in the White House is to sit around and pout because your guy didn't get the nomination. Time to grow up."