As has been noted in many places in the last several days (for example), there is a debate concerning exactly how “Republican” and/or “conservative” that John McCain actually is. It strikes me that while the remaining primary process will not settle the issue of McCain’s conservatism (nor will it necessarily help refine the current understanding of that term within American politics), the issue of McCain Republicanism will be definitively settled.
Consider: what is more “Republican” than being the party’s nominee? Indeed, once he secures the nomination he will be the titular head of the party and will have direct influence over the RNC itself. As such, not only will McCain’s GOP bona fides be rock solid, he will have more influence over the party than those who currently find him distasteful.
Indeed, to reach the position of the party’s nominee he will have to have won the support of a majority of Republican voters, which again undercuts any argument that he isn’t a “Republican.”
As such, Republican he is, and many in the commentariat will simply have to get used to the idea.
Really, all of this should be self evident, but clearly some within the GOP are having an identity crisis at the moment and they do not understand how political parties and party labels work.