John McCain, left for dead only a few months ago, has of course become the front-runner for the Republican nomination. Many Democrats are uneasy because he’s popular with independents and should pose a serious challenge in the general election. Republicans are uneasy because he’s popular with independents — that is, he hasn’t always been a team player. Lately, he’s been keeping the conservative bloggers and talk-radio folks up at night; when they finally get to sleep, they have nightmares of McCain making an illegal immigrant his secretary of defense and nominating Arianna Huffington to the Supreme Court.
• Chris Cillizza questions whether conservatives will vote for McCain on Tuesday, considering that, in Florida, Romney beat McCain among conservatives 40 to 27, among Bush enthusiasts 36 to 27, and among those who want to outlaw abortion 39 to 26. [The Fix/WP]
• Daniel Casse is only certain about conservative support for McCain in the general election if his opponent is Clinton. [Commentary]
• Michael Graham sees McCain as almost diabolical, “the least trustworthy candidate,” a man who “dreams of a world filled with happy Democrats and insulted Republicans.” [The Corner/National Review Online]
• Hugh Hewitt, writing as part of a symposium on conservatives and McCain, doesn’t think McCain has a good chance to win the general election and says Republicans “can’t afford” a repeat of 1976 and 1996. [National Review Online]
• Patrick Ruffini says that McCain is “retreating” from Republican principles and “becoming more like the left.” [Town Hall]
• Ryan Sager questions whether McCain will hold a grudge against conservatives for putting him “through the ringer.” [NYP]
• Jennifer Rubins points out that bloggers and talk-radio hosts are “beside themselves” and wonders how they’ll spin the fact that McCain won without their support or consent. [NYO]
• Mike Madden writes that a generically named group, the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, will start airing ads comparing McCain to…Hillary! [Salon]
• Josh Marshall points out that Republican officeholders seem to back McCain, and where he is “extremely unpopular is among what you’d probably call professional conservatives — talk radio hounds, full-time activists, heads of the major organizations, conservative opinion journalists, etc.” [Talking Points Memo]—Dan Amira
For a complete guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.