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Monday, February 4, 2008

John McCain

                                        John McCain
Since Senator McCain is now the presumptive front runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, he deserves a second look.

I’ve made it clear that I’m not a McCain fan. Why? Is it because I had a run-in with the Senator more than 20 years ago? No, not really. It was a bad experience, but frankly I was treated much worse by then-Senator John Ashcroft, who I still respect as a committed conservative.

I honor John McCain for his valiant and courageous service to our country as a Naval Aviator and POW. I’m told by my good friend, who was himself a POW, that John McCain was one of the worst treated POWs because his father was, at that time, CINCPAC commander. He was also one of the most injured POWs. He is a hero in my book, but that alone doesn’t automatically qualify him to be President of the United States.

I appreciate the fact that he supported Ronald Reagan for President and supported him as a member of Congress. I’m sure the fact that then-Governor Reagan worked to free our POWs was part of the reason for John McCain’s support. If I had been a POW, I would have appreciated those efforts. Regardless of his reason, I appreciate his past support of Ronald Reagan, but John McCain has proven he’s no Ronald Reagan.

McCain-Feingold is exhibit number one. It expanded the size of the federal bureaucracy known as the Federal Election Commission. It limited free speech for individuals like you and me. It strengthened the power of the mainstream news media. It strengthened the power of the unions. It was a law that no reasonable conservative would have supported and certainly would never have co-sponsored. 

So why did John McCain back such a bill? There are two reasons. First, he was caught up in the Keating Five scandal which revolved around five members of Congress who have received financial favors from Charles Keating (Lincoln Savings and Loan) in return for legislative votes that benefited Mr. Keating and Lincoln S&L. The co-sponsorship saved John McCain’s political bacon.

But it’s also a lesson in John McCain’s political philosophy. He may be a conservative in his mind, but John McCain is always willing to sacrifice any principle to save his hide or advance himself politically. What’s good for John McCain is his primary political philosophy.

And then there’s McCain-Kennedy, a bill that calls for amnesty for illegal aliens. He now says he wouldn’t vote for his own bill and that the borders must first be secured, but the truth is that a McCain presidency means a "path to citizenship" for illegal aliens. You can bank on it.

McCain-Lieberman is yet another bill where McCain teams up with a liberal Democrat to impose a "Global Warming" tax on Americans. Any honest scientist will tell you that it is yet unproven that global warming exists and if it does, it is highly questionable that it is caused by humans. It is a documented fact, CO2 levels started increasing before the industrial revolution, therefore, statements that humans are causing global warming is suspect at best. In reality, global warming is a scientifically unsettled issue. Taxes and other economic changes such as John McCain seeks would without a doubt damage our economy for the long term and limit your freedom and mine.

It’s also hard to forget (or swallow) John McCain’s vote against the Bush tax cuts. I simply can’t imagine Ronald Reagan opposing tax cuts, can you? What kind of a conservative opposes tax cuts? When you can decide what to do with your hard earned dollars, that expands your individual freedom. When the government decides what to do with your dollars through taxation, your personal freedom is limited.

And what about John McCain’s leadership of the so-called "Gang of 14" that derailed efforts by the Bush White House and conservatives in Congress to circumvent the unconstitutional road blocks being thrown up by Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, et. al. to approving conservative judges? Just what kind of a conservative would do that?

More recently, there’s John McCain’s comment that while he would be willing to nominate judges like Roberts and Scalia to the US Supreme Court, he would not nominate someone like Alito because he wears his "conservatism on his sleeve." Translation—I don’t like Alito because he was active in the conservative Federalist Society. Just what makes you think that Senator Compromise would appoint conservative judges and be willing to fight the very same people he is so anxious to co-sponsor liberal bills with? Don’t bet on it.

If John McCain wants to prove he’s a conservative he can do so. Just say this: "I was wrong on McCain-Feingold. I was wrong on McCain-Kennedy. I was wrong on McCain-Lieberman. I was wrong on the Gang of 14. I was wrong on the Bush tax cuts. I was wrong to oppose drilling for oil in Alaska."

When John McCain does that we will know that he is now indeed a conservative. But don’t hold your breath.

There are other problems with John McCain. When he was first elected to the US Senate I was told that he was nearly kicked out of the Republican Senatorial Caucus. The reason was an out-of-control temper, his personal attacks, and language that would make a sailor blush. In fairness, I’m told that he now has his temper under control and his language has improved.

But John McCain has also shown himself to be capable of personal arrogance. When he was unable to convince the airlines to give him a nonstop flight from convenient Reagan National Airport (instead of Dulles National Airport a few miles further out), he put a hold on construction of the underground transportation system, thus inconveniencing tens of thousands of travelers just to suit his own needs.

The bottom line is that John McCain is not a conservative, he’s willing to change positions to advance himself politically, and he has some very bad personal failings. I have to admit that I have some bad personal failings, but then again, I’m not running for President of the United States. Because Senator McCain is not a conservative, because he has flip-flopped on issues, because his arrogance scares me, I won’t be voting for John McCain this year. I hope you’ll think long and hard before you do either.

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