ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

McCain: Bob Dole for the 21st Century

All of the talk by the McCainiacs and the MSM about how lack of support for the MaverickTM is inexplicable and based on emotions is just ridiculous. Nothing could be further from the truth.

My beef with McCain isn't over "personality, emotions, or feelings," rather it is purely on the issues. In fact, I could argue that the much of the criticism of Romney is based on emotion and personality, but I don't want to stray to far off topic. Here's a quick rundown of the problems with McCain, followed by my analysis of why he won't win the White House (regardless of who he faces):

  1. Economics & Free Markets - The Republican Party's centerpiece of economic policy is tax cuts (aka letting people retain the wealth that they created). Yes, the GOP likes spending cuts as well, but we don't pass up a tax cut even if spending cuts aren't included. How well would our economy have performed without both of the Bush tax cuts? And it is not just McCain's positions on tax cuts, it's also his class-warfare rhetoric - such as when he said he opposed the tax cuts because the benefits go those who don't need it.
  2. Illegal Immigration - I am a fan of a guest worker program, but only if English is the official language and the borders are secured. McCain is out of step with the base on this one and there is little doubt that McCain-Kennedy will be signed by him if it were passed again
  3. ANWR and Energy Policy - One of the big opponents of opening up ANWR for oil exploration. His rhetoric often mirrors that of the enviro-left and Algore.
  4. Global Warming - President McCain will reign in our sluggish economy even further with taxes and regulations which the Asians and Europeans can't wait to impose.
  5. Campaign Finance Reform (aka Incumbent Protection Act) - McCain tied the hands of average Americans who are willing to pool their resources to make political speech on the airwaves. It wasn't just that McCain was wrong about this as a matter of the Constitution - he could be forgiven for not being a Constitutional scholar. Rather, the problem was that he sought to attack the motives of conservatives who had valid arguments against the bill, saying that they were bought & paid for by corporate interests.
  6. The War On Terror - Yes, he is better than Clinto or Obama here. Yet there is no difference between McCain's position on using "enhanced interrogation techniques" on illegal, nation-less combatants and Obama's or Clinton's. Given a rhetorical question about a ticking-timebomb scenario, McCain promised that he would not use these enhanced techniques which he considers too be torture.
  7. His disdain for the Christian conservatives who have played a critical part in the success of the GOP; As the Dems begin courting these voters, is it a good idea to nominate a guy who has shown utter contempt for them?)
  8. His fondness for John Kerry.
  9. His dislike of Alito's conservatism
  10. His fondness of Hillary Clinton
  11. His fondness for the MSM, from his chumminess with Don Imus all these years to his habit of finding the nearest camera to criticize fellow Republicans
  12. the looks of joy on the faces of Keith Olberman, Chris Matthews, and Norah O'Donnell on the night of the Florida primary, all proclaiming that this was a re-alignment of the Republican party. (If they know McCain's not a conservative, why don't we?)
The biggest issue with McCain is that, when push comes to shove, he'd rather be disliked by conservatives than by the New York Times' editorial board. While his legislative position on abortion is comforting, the very judges required to overturn the ridiculous ruling of Roe v. Wade are the same type of judges who would laugh Campaign Finance Reform out of the books.

The man has a great biography and his patriotism cannot be questioned. However, loving your country doesn't mean you don't make some boneheaded decisions.

Now, here's why McCain's current lead over Hillary and Obama won't hold:

McCain's current appeal to the primary voters is his strength in national security, especially his steadfastness with regard to Iraq. Unfortunately, there's no way that this position can be enhanced.

Clinton certainly has a higher negative than McCain with independents. However, if Iraq starts to go sour, it's unlikely that the country will turn to McCain - the very guy who's been touting that his strategy has been working for the past year. If Iraq continues to improve and our troops are on their way home, there's no need for us to reward McCain for his foresight - Bush, McCain, and the GOP will be the victims of the positive results.

If Al Qaeda makes some terrorist attack, either on US soil or against US interests overseas, the MSM will cover it as a failure of the Bush administration and the GOP. There will be a clamor for a new approach and new ideas, not a continuation of policies which McCain has championed for 7 years.

The GOP is viewed by most Americans as having a serious approach to the War On Terror, but are uncomfortable with the duration of the war in Iraq are willing to give the Dems a chance to end that front. McCain is the single-issue candidate for the War in Iraq and leaves much to be desired by conservatives in other aspects (as documented above). If the War in Iraq isn't popular with the American people, why would we nominate its cheerleader who brings little else to the dance?

The contest will be closer if it's Clinton vs. McCain, but only because Clinton has such high negatives. Obama will have a blowout tsunami over McCain, after Obama thrashes him in the debates and on the stump. Obama will rise above it all, thanking McCain for his service and his patriotism, but it's time to transform Washington and bring about the Change that the people so desperately want in this new century.

The Democrat base is energized and if their choice is between a candidate who's a real liberal and a candidate who merely wants laudatory coverage from the liberal press, they'll choose the former.

If McCain does win the Presidency, we will be able to take one comfort - If he were to pass a tax cut, appoints an Alito-style judge, or says something flattering about a vocal conservative, it would be a pleasant surprise.

I'm not a fan of Ann Coulter - well documented that I think she's off her rocker most of the time - but I think she hits the nail on the head with McCain; McCain is Bob Dole 2.0:
John McCain is Bob Dole minus the charm, conservatism and youth. Like McCain, pollsters assured us that Dole was the most "electable" Republican. Unlike McCain, Dole didn't lie all the time while claiming to engage in Straight Talk.

Of course, I might lie constantly too, if I were seeking the Republican presidential nomination after enthusiastically promoting amnesty for illegal aliens, Social Security credit for illegal aliens, criminal trials for terrorists, stem-cell research on human embryos, crackpot global warming legislation and free speech-crushing campaign-finance laws.
Or, as Joe Scarborough pointed out on Tuesday night, John McCain's straight talk express in 2008 is 1) More War; 2) More illegal immigration; and 3) Fewer jobs.

Me? I'm leaning towards Romney on Feb 5th... However, I might be inclined to vote for Ron Paul, on the hopes that some less-crazy libertarian Republican - someone who values the Constitution, individual liberty as the result of limited government, and a sane foreign policy - will run sometime in the near future.

If my outlook is correct, the next 4 years will be good years to own stocks in cheap Scotch Whiskey distilleries. Although Michael Graham apparently favors the Irish variety...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (4)
Monterey John said...

Saint, this so unlike you to be this breathless!

I got as far as your first point, the tax cuts of 2001. I know you know why McCain opposed them, i.e. not spending cuts went with them yet you go to the talking points.

We all know McCain has "issues." But what is the transcendant issue of the day? Defeating the jihadists clearly is issue one. McCain's record is crystal clear on that point, and it's a good one.

For me, Romney has no record on this transcendant issue.

Can you convince me otherwise? (My ballot is still on my desk.)

Everything is secondary to survival to me.

I'm no McCainiac. I would much rather have had Thompson and after that Rudy. But I don't have them, and that leaves me McCain.

BTW, McCain's voting record on issues considered by be important conservatives is 85%, and that is not so bad.

George said...

You have all the objections to McCain that I do. In essence he is an insufferable egotist, not just the ordinary egotist making a run for POTUS.

He and I are both military men. He acts and thinks like a military man. That's not enough qualification for him to be President.

St Wendeler said...

Monterey John - If the choice comes down to McCain and HRC or Obama, I'll show up at the polling place with a clothespin on my nose - at least if McCain continues in the same fashion as he has for the past 7 years. I would vote for him solely because of the War On Terror. Unfortunately, I don't think this is Issue 1 with a majority of Americans and it's unlikely to change in a way that would bring people back to the GOP.

Perhaps I'm wrong on this...

Certainly events can change things and McCain has the power to come home to the conservative side of the party.

But, as I said to Brian last night on the phone... I'd rather vote for a guy who's trying to win me over by taking conservative positions than a guy who seems to get a glint in his eye when he sticks it to conservatives or throws about leftist rhetoric in casual conversation. (BTW, I cringed at Romney's position on illegal immigration and McCain's position may help put many states with a large % of Hispanics in play.)

I'd even prefer Huckabee over McCain, but I realize that the nomination has already been decided. It's McCain's turn - just as it was Bob Dole's turn in 1996.

In the end I will support whoever the nominee is. If McCain is the nominee, it just means that he has until November to placate the base.

As you saw last night, McCain is a terrible debater. His exchange with Romney was ridiculous and he didn't even know the meaning of the quote he was referring to... As Bill Bennett pointed out, Reagans (and even Dole's) jabs would always have some humor in them that would soften the blow; McCain's were all snarky and difficult to watch.

In my opinion, Huck would be the best in the debates, followed by Romney and McCain. At the end of the day, I think we're looking at a bloodbath by an energized Democratic base.

Monterey John said...

Amen to Huck as a debater. He's the best I have seen in a long while. I liked what he said about Sandra Day O'Connor, a Reagan appointee: I'm not stupid enough to come to the Reagan library and question one of his decisions. That even made Nancy smile. The man is a natural.

You are also correct that a lot of what I don't like about McCain was on display last night. Kind of makes you cringe, I can only hope that improves as time goes on. But, you know what they say about old dogs.

In-so-far as to whether most Americans are most concerned about global jihadism, all I can say is they damn well best be!

This economy thing is crap. We are not even in a recession and people are running around like the Great Depression is just around the corner. Puh-lease! I really wish people would just shut up and let the over-bought markets correct themselves.

But what do we get? The government intervening trying to bail people out of their own bad decisions, bad decisions in the housing and stock markets for instance. Political pandering of the worst sort.

Oh well, time to mark the old ballot.