Assuming John McCain gets the GOP nomination, it will show how whimsical history can be. It would be the first time in living memory that a Republican presidential nomination went to a candidate who was not merely opposed by a majority of the party but was actively despised by about half its rank-and-file voters across the country -- and by many, if not most, of its congressional officeholders. After all, the McCain electoral surge was barely able to deliver a plurality of one-third of the Republican vote in a three-, four- or five-way split field. He has won fair and square, but he has driven the nomination process askew.
But what was left after the two strongest candidates couldn't run was one venerable candidate (McCain), one suspiciously newly minted conservative (Romney), one not-quite-plausible factional figure (Huckabee), one social liberal (Giuliani), a quixotic anti-war candidate (Paul) and an older Southern gent with a smashing younger wife for whom he seemed to be saving most of the energy he should have used in what was risibly called his "run" for president (Thompson).
So, the mischievous gremlins and elves inside the wheel of history have served up John McCain to lead Ronald Reagan's party into November battle. McCain is both the finest war hero since Eisenhower to run for president and the one senior Republican who has gleefully put his thumb in the eyes of his fellow Republicans and conservatives for a decade and a half.
Meanwhile, Kathleen Parker asks "What if..."?