Monday, January 21, 2008

John McCain

This is going to more of a link-fest than my own commentary. He's a little bit of my own commentary though: No. Please, please, please, no.

In Favor of McCain

Michael Medved, How to Identify a "Real Conservative". In Summary:
  • Don't listen to the "talk radio titans and sharp-tongued pundettes" (except Michael Medved apparently?)

  • "But they should listen carefully to heroes like Tom Coburn, the Senator from Oklahoma who's universally esteemed as one of the strongest conservative voices in Washington ... and earlier this week the Oklahoman endorsed his Arizona colleague for President."


The commenters of Michael Medved's How to Identify a "Real Conservative". (Pretty much every single one is against McCain. Ouch.)

In Favor Of

Gerard V. Bradley, Pro-Life, Pro-McCain: A candidate with an unmatchable record on life issues. In Summary:
  • If you don't count "embryo-destructive research", "McCain's track record makes him the best of a small number of good choices." (Umm, problem: I do count his miserable and non-pro-life record on "embryo-destructive research", so does National Right to Life.

  • "Of the remaining Republican candidates, only McCain (so far as I know) has plainly said that all torture is wrong, and that Americans simply should not do it. I agree with him." (Dear Gerard, all the candidates have denounced torture. The debate is with how to classify water-boarding. Which. Has. Nothing. To. Do. With. Abortion. Or. Destruction. Of. Embryos. Nice try to reach though?)

In Favor Of

Patrick Hynes, A McCain Coalition?. In Summary:
  • Well, he coins the phrase "McCain Derangement Syndrome" ... Oh please.

  • "McCain won South Carolina by putting together a remarkably broad coalition of mainstream Republicans, evangelicals, seniors, veterans and Independents." (Let me boil this down to 'general election appeal', which is a very valid point.)


George Will, Fact-Checking the Straight-Talk. (Note: Since Will defended McCain in April, I found this column surprising.) In Sumary:
  • "In ABC's New Hampshire debate, McCain said: 'Why shouldn't we be able to reimport drugs from Canada?' A conservative's answer is: That amounts to importing Canada's price controls, a large step toward a system in which some medicines would be inexpensive but many others ... would be unavailable. Setting drug prices by government fiat rather than market forces results in huge reductions of funding for research and development of new drugs."

  • "Because McCain is a 'maverick' -- the media encomium reserved for Republicans who reject important Republican principles."

  • "He has indeed worked with Ted Kennedy on immigration reform, with Russ Feingold on restricting political speech (McCain-Feingold) and with Kennedy and John Edwards -- a trial lawyer drawn to an enlargement of opportunities for litigation -- on the 'patients' bill of rights.'"

  • "He promiscuously accuses others of 'corruption,' the ubiquity of which he says justifies McCain-Feingold's expansive government regulation of the quantity, timing and content of campaign speech."

  • "McCain says he would nominate Supreme Court justices similar to [Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito]. But how likely is he to nominate jurists who resemble those four: They consider his signature achievement [(McCain-Feingold)] constitutionally dubious."

  • "McCain asserted that corruption is the reason drugs currently cannot be reimported from Canada. The reason is 'the power of the pharmaceutical companies.' When Mitt Romney interjected, "Don't turn the pharmaceutical companies into the big bad guys," McCain replied, 'Well, they are.' There is a place in American politics for moralizers who think in such Manichaean simplicities. That place is in the Democratic Party."

  • Concerning the question of whether human activity is causing catastrophic warming, [McCain's joint op-ed with Lieberman] said, 'the debate has ended.' ... People only insist that a debate stop when they are afraid of what might be learned if it continues."


Riehl World View, Three Reasons Why McCain Can't Win The General Election. Summary:
  • "Once we reach the General, [Clinton] will take away McCain's only real strength with his own words. He conveniently provided a video: 'Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.' They'll weave a narrative between his well-known temper and foreign policy, making him look like a loose cannon a war weary general electorate won't go near."

  • "'[McCain] threw [his ex-wife] over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona [Cindy McCain, his current wife] and the rest is history.'"

  • "The disaffection with McCain among the most loyal of the GOP base, conservatives, will suppress the vote enough to make winning the presidency an ocean too wide ... McCain will sink as Bob Dole II"


Hugh Hewitt and Mark Levin. See here. At issue: The Gang of 14, "Conservatives ought never to throw fellow conservatives up for confirmation and especially judicial nominees under the left's bus. The Gang of 14 did just that. It's leader was John McCain."


Mark Leven (again), Speak Up!. In Summary:
  • "In his campaign to close Guantanamo Bay, McCain has led the effort to confer constitutional and international rights on the enemy."

  • "His muddled thinking as applies to interrogations - comparing water-boarding to torture (a rarely used technique that has, in fact, saved American lives according to our nation's top intelligence official) makes it difficult for any interrogator to do his job without concern for his career and financial well-being."

  • "McCain-Feingold is without question the greatest assault on free political speech since Buckley v. Valeo, and is far more draconian."

  • "McCain filed a brief in the Supreme Court with several Democrats against the Wisconsin Right to Life organization challenging its right to run informative ads prior to an election. Wisconsin Right to Life won. Ironically, as best I can tell, this is the most aggressive action he has taken in all his years in Washington on the right-to-life issue, which probably explains why the vast majority of these groups have endorsed other candidates."

  • "The McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill was among the most irresponsible and reckless budgetary and economic legislative efforts of all time."

  • "McCain has repeatedly demanded that federal power be used to tame perfectly legitimate private enterprises, from energy and pharmaceutical companies, to media companies and anything else he considers 'corrupt'."

  • "Time and again McCain resorted to class warfare propaganda, asserting that he opposed the tax cuts because they 'favored the rich.'"

  • "McCain has proposed everything from a massive database of carbon emitters, capping carbon emissions, trading carbon emissions, taxing carbon emissions, and so forth."


Deroy Murdock, Not Right for the Right: McCain won't do. He starts with some positives:
  • "His torturous Vietnam experience demands the deepest respect."

  • "His eternal vigilance against absurd and costly government boondoggles is unsurpassed."

  • "He forcefully backed President Bush's military surge."

Then, the negatives. In Summary:
  • "McCain diligently has stymied conservative, free-market policies."

  • "While he generally is appropriately hawkish overseas, he is dangerously soft on captured terrorists."

  • "It often is anyone's guess whether he will support the Right or sandbag its efforts"

  • Rejected Bush's tax cuts

  • McCain-Feingold

  • McCain-Kennedy

  • "As barrels of oil oscillate between $90 and $100, and rising energy prices make driving, flying, and heating costlier, GOP voters should know that McCain rejected drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at least four times."

  • "The McCain-Lieberman bill would combat alleged 'global warming' by making power producers pay to exceed government-imposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions."

  • "McCain opposed the Death Tax's repeal in 2002.

  • "'I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues,' McCain admitted to Wall Street Journal editorialist Stephen Moore in November 2005. 'I still need to be educated.'"

  • "McCain vocally resists waterboarding, even though that interrogation technique finally elicited intelligence from taciturn al-Qaeda leaders and September 11 conspirators Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Their revelations helped U.S. officials capture and imprison at least 10 hardened Islamo-fascist terrorists - including the architects of the deadly U.S.S. Cole and Bali nightclub bombings - who collectively had murdered 3,216 and wounded 8,795."

  • "'I served 12 years with him, six years in the Senate as one of the leaders of the Senate,' former Senator Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) told radio host Mark Levin January 10. 'John McCain was not only against us, but leading the charge on the other side.' Santorum ominously warned: 'There's nothing worse than having a Democratic Congress and a Republican president who would act like a Democrat in matters that are important to conservatives.'"


Bill Hollis, "An Open Letter to the Grand Old Party". Quoting liberally:

Perhaps this letter is presumptuous of me. After all, I'm not a Republican and never have been. But I am in a group of voters the GOP needs to win. I'm in that freedom-oriented, libertarian-leaning, small government, low taxes group that was part of the Reagan coalition. Granted I'm a bit more minimal government than most in that group; I'd like to see the government down to less than a quarter of its current size. Anyway, you guys are going to have a hard time winning without we small-government afficiandos. Very hard.

So let me say this plainly. If you nominate Mike Huckabee or John McCain, you've lost me. I won't vote for your candidate. Period.


Let's look at these guys. First, McCain sponsored the worst rollback of free speech in this nation's history. He thereby shows utter contempt for the rights and freedoms of his fellow citizens. He also demonstrated that he will do anything - anything - to bolster his own reputation with people across the political spectrum.

He looks to me as if he has a 'great man' complex and is convinced that he's a world-historical figure. Such men are dangerous. George W. Bush, as mediocre a president as he's been, does not have those problems. Therefore, I must presume that a McCain presidency would be worse by far than the Bush presidency has been in the erosion of freedom and the continued expansion of the size and prerogatives of the federal government. For example, I'm convinced that McCain would 'reach out' to create a form of universal healthcare, giving in to the largest expansion of the federal government since the New Deal.

McCain tried to flex his world-historical muscles last year, by giving us a disastrous immigration bill that would do absolutely nothing to solve the problem, but would (he thought) give him another line in the history books. Having realized the magnitude of his misjudgment, he now utters mealy-mouthed assurances that he's 'learned his lesson' I suppose that's true, if the lesson he's learned is to do a better job of deceiving the citizenry next time he wants to jam something we don't want down our throats in the pursuit of yet more mentions in the history texts. (Oh, I realize he personally doesn't see himself that way. Too bad. That's the way I see him, and I've never seen a single example of behavior that would make me doubt that assessment.)

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