The Case For McCain (Continued)

I had no intentions of antagonizing, Steve.  But this came up on RCP.  Jeff Jacoby, along with Mark Steyn, is one of my favorite conservative columnists.  He is not lukewarm.  He is not moderate.  He is a fierce conservative columnist that writes for the Boston Globe.  He has been the impetus for many of my blog posts.

I won’t go as far as Jacoby in advocating McCain over Romney, but his logic is right-on and deadly accurate.  This article comes from a staunch conservative writer.  It’s time to take notice.

I don’t usually post full articles, but here you go.

IT IS NOT news that much of the conservative base bitterly opposes John McCain and is appalled that the man they consider a Republican apostate could soon be the GOP’s presidential nominee. From talk radio to the blogosphere to the conservative press, many on the right are outraged that what Mitt Romney last week called “the House that Reagan Built” – the modern Republican Party – might anoint as its standard-bearer the candidate who by their lights is the least likely to follow in the Gipper’s footsteps.

Conservatives bristle at the thought of a Republican president who might raise income and payroll taxes. Or enlarge the federal government instead of shrinking it. Or appoint Supreme Court justices who are anything but strict constructionists. Or grant a blanket amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.

Now, I don’t believe that a President McCain would do any of those things. But President Reagan did all of them. Reagan also provided arms to the Khomeini theocracy in Iran, presided over skyrocketing budget deficits, and ordered US troops to cut and run in the face of Islamist terror in the Middle East. McCain would be unlikely to commit any of those sins, either.

Does this mean that Reagan was not, in fact, a great conservative? Of course not. Nor does it mean that McCain has not given his critics on the right legitimate reasons to be disconcerted. My point is simply that the immaculate conservative leader for whom so many on the right yearn to vote is a fantasy. Conservatives who say that McCain is no Ronald Reagan are right, but Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan either. Neither is Mike Huckabee. And neither was the real – as opposed to the mythic – Ronald Reagan.

The conservative case against McCain is clear enough; I made it myself in some of these columns when he first ran for president eight years ago. The issues that have earned McCain the label of “maverick” – campaign-finance restrictions, global warming, the Bush tax cuts, immigration, judicial filibusters – are precisely what stick in the craw of the GOP conservative base.

But this year, the conservative case for McCain is vastly more compelling.

On the surpassing national-security issues of the day – confronting the threat from radical Islam and winning the war in Iraq – no one is more stalwart. Even McCain’s fiercest critics, such as conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, will say so. “The world’s bad guys,” Hewitt writes, “would never for a moment think he would blink in any showdown, or hesitate to strike back at any enemy with the audacity to try again to cripple the US through terror.”

McCain was never an agenda-driven movement conservative, but he “entered public life as a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution,” as he puts it, and on the whole his record has been that of a robust and committed conservative. He is a spending hawk and an enemy of pork and earmarks. He has never voted to increase taxes, and wants the Bush tax cuts made permanent for the best of reasons: “They worked.” He is a staunch free-trader and a champion of school choice. He is unabashedly prolife and pro-Second Amendment. He opposes same-sex marriage. He wants entitlements reined in and personal retirement accounts expanded.

McCain’s conservatism has usually been more a matter of gut instinct than of a rigorous intellectual worldview, and he has certainly deviated from Republican orthodoxy on some serious issues. For all that, his ratings from conservative watchdog groups have always been high. “Even with all the blemishes,” notes National Review, a leading journal on the right (and a backer of Romney), “McCain has a more consistent conservative record than Giuliani or Romney. . . . This is an abiding strength of his candidacy.”

As a lifelong conservative, I wish McCain evinced a greater understanding that limited government is indispensable to individual liberty. Yet there is no candidate in either party who so thoroughly embodies the conservatism of American honor and tradition as McCain, nor any with greater moral authority to invoke it. For all his transgressions and backsliding, McCain radiates integrity and steadfastness, and if his heterodox stands have at times been infuriating, they also attest to his resolve. Time and again he has taken an unpopular stand and stuck with it, putting his career on the line when it would have been easier to go along with the crowd.

A perfect conservative he isn’t. But he is courageous and steady, a man of character and high standards, a genuine hero. If “the House that Reagan Built” is to be true to its best and highest ideals, it will unite behind John McCain.

Where do you go from there? I’m not posting this to denigrate the Reagan legacy, but Jacoby’s point was that Reagan was not an infallible conservative.  He just did great things (mostly conservative) that made him an icon.  I don’t know that McCain would do the same things, but if he is the nominee, I won’t blink an eye.

 NOTE – McCain personally opposes same-sex marriage, but he (like Fred Thompson) feels that it is a matter that should be left to the discretion of each respective state. Just wanted to get that out of the way.


11 thoughts on “The Case For McCain (Continued)

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Mike Harmon

  2. McCain is an absolute abysmal imbosol!! He’s a RHINO republican and tried to shove amnesty down our throat 2 times with “HIS OWN BILL”. HE IS FOR TAXING USA companies only to solve a so called GLOBAL warming problem. Well what about the rest of the WORLD? You people drink the kol-aid of the press and are completely UNINFORMED.


    You want to know something else, STUPIDY BREADS ITSELF. You will believe anything someone tells you if you are uninformed and that is what the liberal media is counting on.


    John McCain should be renamed as JUAN McCain. Have you noticed who his heading up his HISPANIC outreach group for this race. If not, Google “McCain and Dr. Juan Hernandez.

    I WILL NOT, SHALL NOT AND CAN NOT VOTE FOR JUAN McCain, I would rather the Republican Party dissolve, period!

    1. John McCain teamed with Ted Kennedy and attempted to give amnesty to every illegal alien in America, and even wished to grant them access retroactively to Social Security benefits accrued under illegally used numbers while here against the current law.

    2. John McCain (along with the regular cohort of lefties) removed your right to speak out against political candidates (including him) through advocacy ads in the 30-60 days before a primary or general election. The infamous McCain-Feingold legislation proves he couldn’t find an originalist judge if the man was sharing a pair of pants with him.

    3. John McCain considered leaving the GOP to become an independent caucusing with the Dems, and only balked when Jeffords beat him to it. Daschle and others swear its true.

    4. John McCain proved himself to be a populist anti-capitalist when he called the pharmaceutical companies “the enemy” during the most recent South Carolina debate. George Will is even wondering why John is a Republican and hasn’t switched yet.

    5. John McCain has swallowed the “Man Made Global Warming” pill whole. He has teamed with Lieberman to offer legislation to create a carbon cap and trade system that the Congressional Budget Office believes will add energy costs to each family of between $560-1800 per year, with the money raked in dispersed out in R&D grants, or government pork barrel goody contracts as I interpret it.

    6. John McCain voted against the “Bush” tax cuts more than once, voted for amendments to keep the death tax alive, and along with our faithful Governor Pawlenty calls huge tobacco tax increases “fees”.

    7. John McCain believes waterboarding for US Servicemen is normal during training for capture situations, but calls it unconscienable torture when applied to important organizational terrorist figures caught plotting to kill Americans. This American serviceman disagrees.

    8. John McCain supported gun control measures with rules that would have effectively shut down gun shows and gun sales between private parties. He teamed with Andrew McKelvey’s Handgun Control spinoff called Americans For Gun Safety. A real champion of the little guy our McCain. Gun Owner’s Of America rating – F

    9. John McCain has stated he would vote for the international anti-sovereignty Treaty of The Seas if it was “tweaked” a little. This compact would give an international body the jurisdiction to dictate naval forces movement, oceanic weapons and technology testing, and set and collect fees and divy up rights and royalties to all energy resources found and recovered at sea in current international waters. One country, one vote. How do you think Iran would vote for our rights to traverse the Straits of Hormuz?

    10. Midwest Jay really can’t stand the guy, and he reminds me too much of a pissed off Huck-a-jerk without the Chuck Norris sidekick. Leading a fighter squadron gives you leadership experience to lead a fighter squadron of 24 guys. Reagan made war bond films. Who cares. American hero or socialist? Probably both.

  3. I am supporting Romney over McCain. You’ve obviously thought this out, and have likely posted this same message on any blog that will take you. To be honest, I didn’t even read your whole comment. I got bored.

    I understand McCain’s sins. But I, unlike you, would not rather see the GOP dissolved. Your assertion that I am uninformed is idiotic. My site-partner, Steve, who violently disagrees with me on this matter will attest to that.

    I also detect a hint of racism in your remarks about McCain. “Juan McCain?” Obviously a xenophobe.

    I could be wrong, but it’s probably pointless to even reply to you. I’m sure you auto-post this crap everywhere someone says something positive about McCain.

    I’m about done with all this. I echo Steve’s frustration.

  4. Dear God,

    Please don’t let McCain get the nomination. Ugh.

    I get your point- I hear the RNC good ole boy network is to blame for the McCain Frenzy. They’re supposedly out of touch?

    And I must say, I love it that we can all agree to disagree.

  5. Phil,

    I know why you’re frustrated. My whole point is that with all the facts posted by Richard (that I know you already knew because you’re very smart) it isn’t going to matter. It will basically be over in my eyes for the rest of the year. All there will be for you and I for the next four years is criticism and leading our friends here in group prayer for our safety.

    BTW tell me the “Juan McCain” didn’t make you chuckle a little bit, LOL. 😉

    I got from that – a jab at McCain for his amnesty position.

  6. Just to point out – typing something like “STUPIDY BREADS ITSELF” is not exactly the best endorsement for brain power.

    I’m big on typos, myself. I often type too quickly and mis-spell things or use rotten grammar.

    However, if I’m trying to point out how dumb someone else is while pointing out that I’m the enlightened one, I generally try to go back and at least proofread before posting.

    But, apparently I’m an idiot. And since I’ve reproduced quite extensively, I’m also “breading” stupidy. Or something.

    I’m also LMAO at that comment, which most likely wasn’t the point of it in the first place.

  7. We in the conservative community bear the majority of blame for this predicament. I didn’t hear the loud vocal criticism of Huckabee and McCain early on. And conservatives split themselves up rather than coalescing around one truly conservative candidate. I blame us bloggers. I blame the conservative talk shows and talking heads on the news shows.

    We were naive if we thought we could ignore McCain and Huckabee – hoping that they would go away. Maybe we could have under the old primary system where you had 2 or 3 weeks between primaries and caucuses. But when you have only “days” between and 38 states voting in one day, there is not time for that. That was our mistake.

    This expedited primary schedule is for the birds.

  8. I personally think that all the small states should have their primaries on one day, and then all the large states on another day a few weeks later.

    This ensures that Delaware gets visits as well as California, and also means that people like Fred and Rudy won’t drop out before -say – Texas gets to vote for them.

    I think the “bounce effect” of victories in other states is for the birds. People should make up their minds without the media making up minds for them.

  9. I don’t blame any of us!

    We let the media virtually pick our candidate for us. All the Romney bashing is why tonight we face having John McCain as our candidate.

    If anything is to be learned, it’s that we don’t take the media seriously when we hear stories that are headlined like “Romney Flip Flops.” But it isn’t our fault.

    We all picked our candidates, had our favorites, debated them, discussed them, etc. I do not take responsibility for John McCain nor should any of you.

    Guys, let’s face it – it’s going to be four crap years coming up. We need to not lose focus on our principles though. It’s even more reason to keep on fighting. With acceptance comes clarity. We need to keep fighting and keep hope that somehow, we’ll manage until 2012.

  10. Many of us who served in the GOP structure in Massachusetts launched ABM’s (Anyone But Mitt votes). I cited some reasons in my “The House That Mitt Built”. Jacoby, whom I also admire touched on some of the best reasons for McCain.
    Remember, Churchill’s record was one mis-step after another until it was deemed that the hour called him as the man for the hour of greatest peril..

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