So I went up to NYC a couple of days ago for some meetings, and I was coming back yesterday on Amtrak. Sitting behind me I hear some guy coming up and greeting another guy, sitting behind me. I don't know who it is because they were sitting behind me, but I can hear the conversation. The one guy is being kind of a suck-up, and they start talking about being in conservative politics and that they need to deal with McCain. Then the other guy says great to see ya and walks away. So then the guy sitting behind me starts making phone calls on his cell. He's got a fairly loud and authoritative voice, so I can't help but overhear, and he's making call after call after call to tell various people that we've gotta find a way to beat McCain, just would be just awful, and going on and on about how much McCain sucks and that even having Hillary or Obama would be better than having McCain because he would just be horrible for the conservative movement because he just doesn't get the movement and he's always using liberal language to talk about things and how that's a terrible thing. And in one conversation with one person he was talking to, he was trying to talk him into coming out with a terrible story about McCain from five or six years ago, and he's like yeah, what he did to you was just incredible, and you should go public with that story, etc.
After a while I got up to go get something from the café cart, and it turns out the guy sitting behind me was Rick Santorum, which makes it all the more fun and all the more interesting. So pretty much the whole trip this guy is working his cell phone, talking to people about how anyone is better than McCain and Giuliani would be better than McCain because then at least he wouldn't betray the conservative movement… yeah, Giuliani is bad on some issues like abortion, but at least he would stand with the conservative movement. He was saying that there are people like Susan Collins who vote moderate sometimes, but at least she is a team player who always plays with the team and never plays against the conservative side even if she has to give the liberals a vote because she's from Maine. But McCain will sometimes go against the team even when he doesn't have to. Anyway, he's just calling person after person after person on his list, trying to rally them against McCain to give money against him, be uncommitted to the national convention- apparently he was talking to some committed delegates- and he was thinking the best thing for the conservative movement would be a brokered convention, because then at least the conservatives would still have enough pull to pick the nominee.
Call after call after call, speaking in a relatively loud voice, trashing his party's likely nominee, he says, I probably shouldn't talk about that on a train, I'll call you later on that topic. And it really made me wonder how bad the topic could be. At some point I started feeling a little guilty about hearing all this stuff so I turned around, introduced myself, and said "Hey, I'm in politics, I'm on the other side, I'm a Democrat," in part to see if he would keep doing the phone calls trashing McCain given that a Democratic activist was sitting in front of him. And he did keep doing them, call after call. Apparently, it didn't bother him at all that a Democrat was listening in as he kept trashing McCain.
Anyway, it was a pretty damn interesting return home. The conservative attitude about McCain, represented by Santorum, reminds me a lot of the attitude toward George H.W. Bush in 1992, where a lot of them just decided that it would be better for their movement in the long run for him to go down in flames. The Republican dynamics make their race pretty fascinating.