I’ve got to give John Hawkins credit for trying to dump a few cups of sugar into the Jonestown punch that our Republican primary season has become, but there are a lot of positive assumptions radiating from that Townhall column. Far too many. I’m not completely against giving McCain my vote in the general, if it absolutely comes to that in order to deny power-mad Hillary or Oblivious Obama the White House, but let’s not start deluding ourselves into believing that a McCain presidency will be anything but a smaller magnitude disaster.
The common theme in dashing cold water on John Hawkins’ column will be easy to spot, but I’ll lay it out for you right now. You can’t trust John McCain. He isn’t flip-flopping; what he is doing goes beyond any cutesy slogans. John McCain is saying whatever serves his immediate purposes, be it about a rival candidate or himself, without any regard to the truth while offering fleeting glimpses of his real beliefs through off-the-cuff responses as a result of his poorly managed emotions and temper.
More to the point, although we cannot know exactly how things will play out, it’s very easy to imagine a scenario where a McCain presidency would be very good for the country and for conservatism.
Don’t think it sounds possible? Well, imagine this: John McCain selects Fred Thompson as his Vice-President and defeats Hillary Clinton in November. Although he has many negatives, McCain is a fiscal conservative and it’s easy to see him balancing the budget, which would burnish the fiscal credentials of the Republican Party.
First of all, Fred Thompson has stated that he has no intention of being Vice President. He was only half-interested in being the most powerful person in the free world, so he doesn’t have any desire to play second fiddle to someone he doesn’t respect. If you want a more realistic running mate, take heed of the coordination that seems to be going on between the McCain and Huckabee camps in splitting Romney’s vote. The only reason I don’t believe that Giuliani is an option is because of just how powerful his campaign collapse was. Huckabee still has a solid 10-15% to bilk, and he is closer to McCain than Romney or Thompson for sure.
Assuming that McCain could defeat Hillary, something that I’m nowhere near convinced of, McCain’s fiscal conservative label might as well be drawn in crayon because of a simple fact. The man twice took pride in rejecting the most basic fiscal conservative policy, namely large scale tax cuts. Tax cuts that have unquestioningly helped the economy over the last six years.
McCain is now scrounging to rewrite the record of his opposition to the Bush tax cuts. Even if we accept his revised history and believe he opposed them on the grounds that Congress wouldn’t limit spending to make up for the lost tax revenue, this shows a misunderstanding of economic policy. Tax cuts generate revenue, proving to be a positive whether accompanied by spending freezes or not. It is childish to oppose sound fiscal policy because you don’t get the utopian ideal of limited government in one fell swoop. In other words, you don’t turn down a hot fudge sundae because they forgot to put nuts on it. And you certainly don’t attack the person offering you the tasty treat, which is what McCain has done time and time again.
If we don’t accept McCain’s revised history, and go back to the original reasoning offered– that rich people don’t deserve tax breaks, we end up with Democratic talking points and find a man who in addition to admittedly not understanding economics doesn’t understand Reaganomics at all. Something that is quite disturbing given McCain is grabbing at the Conservative Reaganite candidate crown more and more with every speech. This interpretation of McCain’s reasoning can be supported by his recent comments during the debates. “There are some greedy people on Wall Street who need to be punished” sounds like its out of John Edwards’ one note playbook, not out of the mouth of a Man with an R next to his name.
Just another reason not to trust the Straight Talk express.
That means a number of important cases, including Roe v. Wade, will probably be decided once and for all by the Supreme Court appointments of the next President of the United States. May God forgive us if we condemn a million plus children a year to death by abortion because we’re angry at John McCain.
Once again, there’s no reason to trust that John McCain will give us judges that can be called conservative any more than he is. We had a denial that McCain had said he wouldn’t have appointed someone like Alito, because he ‘wore his conservatism on his sleeve’, but multiple sources have come out now affirming that McCain disparaged Alito while suffering the choice of Roberts. It’s also somewhat tactless to attach the stigma of ‘a million dead babies’ to any candidate choice.
Then there’s immigration, where we know McCain is just dying to put the illegal immigrants in this country on a path to citizenship. However, he has pledged to secure the border before he does that. In all honesty, with the glacier-like speed that the federal government moves, there is zero chance that is going to be completed in the next four years. Yet, as security improves, more and more illegal aliens will leave the country on their own. So even though McCain’s motives wouldn’t be pure, enforcement by attrition would still occur during his first term and if conservatives hold McCain to his promise, it’s very possible that he wouldn’t be able to implement amnesty by 2012.
McCain created the line “I learned my lesson” and stuck to it for about six months, when he was running in the single digits. Ever since he began to move up, we’ve seen a quick hardening of his rhetoric in support of the Amnesty bill that he helped create this summer. McCain refused to acknowledge he had made any change in his position when asked, in a softball way about it by Hannity a few weeks ago. This flies directly in the face of his new “enforcement first” lesson. Yet again, there is no reason to trust John McCain.
Depending on the slow crawl of government to prevent the advancement of liberal ideals is always foolhardy. If the Amnesty bill had passed last summer, it wouldn’t have been a “zero chance” of amnesty being implemented over the next four years, it would’ve happened within the next four days. McCain will not renounce his willingness to sign the Amnesty bill in its current form, dodging the question poorly when it came up. Hopefully it will continue to come up, but as John McCain has shown in Congress, he isn’t going to be “held to” anything once he gets into a position of power. The reason illegals are leaving, if they are at all, is because they see their prospects dwindling because of the failure of the Amnesty bill. With a major proponent in the White House, is it really likely that the outward flow of illegal immigrants really increase or continue? Very, very doubtful.
So, think about where we could be: a balanced budget, the war in Iraq won, a conservative Supreme Court, border security increased, the Republican Party’s reputation much improved, and McCain leaving office in 2012. Can you really tell me that sounds so bad?
The Democrat Congress cares nothing of a balanced budget, and McCain will not have the power to enforce such an agenda in 2008, even in the rosiest of scenarios. The rest of this positive list can sadly be written off as a dream for the reasons above. So, unfortunately, it really does sound that bad.
Does that mean you should, “vote for John McCain in November and like it?” No, but it does mean, that if John McCain is the nominee, you should think very hard about holding your nose and voting for the viable candidate who would do the most good for our country.
I think a lot of people have been holding their noses throughout this entire primary season; we’ll all be blue in the face by the time the general election rolls around.
Update: Bryan reminds us of McCain’s only real saving grave, the Iraq war. Fortunately for Straight Talk, this is a massive plus in his column. Remember that if a Democrat gets into office, they will hurt our national security with whatever policy choice they take in Iraq, be it withdrawal or a lackluster dwindling commitment given how important Iraq truly is.