McCain is okay *UPDATED*

Now that McCain looks inevitable, I’m becoming sanguine. More than that, I’m hunting for his good points, and they are many:

1. He’s a hawk.

2. He will almost certainly nominate strict constructionist Supreme Court justices — and certainly more conservative than anyone Hillary or Obama would nominate.

3. He’s a hawk.

4. He claims to support lower, not higher taxes — unlike Obama and Hillary, who explicitly support higher taxes.

5. He’s a hawk.

6. He supports the Second Amendment — which Hillary and Obama most emphatically will not support.

7. He’s a hawk.

8. He’s pro-life, which is not a huge issue to me, but which is for many others — and Hillary and Obama are not.

9. He’s a hawk.

I’m going to ignore, because the above strengths are so important, his bad history and bad advisors when it comes to border control (and you know that’s a problem for me), because he’ll still be better than Hillary and Obama; as well as his dismal history on free speech, because he’ll still be better than Hillary and Obama.

Most importantly, give his real strengths, I’m going to focus on the fact that McCain can win. I can’t find the link now, but I definitely recall reading a week or so ago that, if the Presidential election were held right now, McCain would win. Certainly I know that Mr. Bookworm, staunch liberal though he may be, would vote for McCain over Obama. He’s terrified of Obama and would cross the aisle to vote against him. And given Hillary’s negatives, a lot of people would also cross the aisle.

I refuse to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. McCain is very much not perfect, but the good of America will not be served by seeing conservatives get into a snit and turn their back on the un-Hillary or un-Obama candidate. After all, this is how democracy works. Unlike other countries, where candidates are selected, we have the luxury of joining with our fellow citizens to select our own candidates. And if our fellow citizens, in their collective wisdom, select a centrist Republican rather than a conservative Republican, that’s our blessing and we have to live with it and optimize it.

One last thing: if McCain is inevitable, it does not behoove conservatives to alienate him. If top conservatives are too terrible to him and if, God willing, he beats Hillary/Obama, he may ending up feeling so hostile to his fellow conservative that he gets his revenge by closing the doors on them and turning to liberals for succor and advice.

UPDATE:  Here’s a comment that Mike Devx left at another post on this blog, and I think he’s absolutely right:

The level of hatred and vituperation against McCain is simply astonishing to me.  Politics is a rough-and-tumble business, but this level of divisiveness seems profoundly harmful to me.  I’d be personally comfortable with any of McCain, Romney, or Huckabee as the candidate, so I’m perhaps a terrible judge of this.

A few points:

McCain is staunchly pro-life and has promised to appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court.  For abortion voters, what else could be more important?  Consider that Reagan had a less than stellar record on Supreme Court appointments.

McCain carried the water for George Bush on the Shamnesty bill.  This was George Bush’s baby too.  Yet all the criticism goes to McCain.  Hardly fair, and there is more than whiff of hypocrisy.  Bush was more than ready to sign the bill had it passed.  And Bush signed McCain-Feingold with nary a protest, too, of any sort.  And then there’s the Reagan Shamnesty…

McCain is NOT a higher-taxes politician.  He demands spending cuts in concert with tax cuts.  A tax cut without a spending cut amounts to little more than printing free money and saddling future generations with more debt.  Cuts in taxes do increase revenue, but there’s a limit.

The antagonism appears to be related entirely to the fact that he’s got no respect for the evangelical wing of the Republican party.  On all the issues themselves, it’s hardly clear to me that there’s a good reason for the level of hate when other Republicans, including President Bush, hardly come in for anything near that level of criticism.

If you want a Reaganism, here’s one: “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”   The Slick Willie response to that is to declare the McCain is not a Republican.  I’m ashamed of that kind of facile, Clintonesque response at avoiding responsibility.


14 Responses

  1. Hello Bookworm,

    I can live with McCain. I don’t like his temper and how he takes personal umbrage at so many things. I don’t like his immigration policy. I don’t like the fact that he has a pen ready and waiting to sign Kyoto, which to me is tantamount to insanity in this shaky economy of ours. I don’t like his attitude about many things, but I can live with him if my choices were either Hillary or Obama.

    HOWEVER, I do recognize that he may just be the right person for the right office at the right time. His irascibility may be exactly what we need in the office to make the wolves back off, i.e. China, Iran, Russia, Pakistan, etc. Also, rather than the constant unity talk from the feel-good religio-politicos, it is possible for McCain to interject civility into the national political discourse with the proviso that he would be willing to put drop or override his pique at everyone who hints at crossing him.

    This is imminently doable for him. I’ve seen him do it on occasion. If he goes this route, he could govern more effectively than Hillary or Obama by orders of magnitude. Unlike Hillary, who also has that pique characteristic about her, McCain doesn’t do blackmail and does not serially destroy women because of the risk of scandal.

  2. You’re right, Thomas — and you’re right that I forgot that he’s a greenie when I mentioned his deficits. Again, though, I’m certain he’ll be less of a loony greenie than Obama and Clinton. More importantly, the fact that he is a greenie may help people who are scared off by Obama’s lack of experience or Hillary’s meanness, but need to feel that they’ll still be protected from what they think is the biggest danger facing them — not Islamists, with bombs; but warm temperatures.

  3. One last thing. As far as electability goes, I think it will depend largely on who he chooses as VP. If it’s Huckabee, a man I don’t trust farther than I can sling a piano, then McCain is going to have problems.

    Huckabee is a Leftist in the cloak of a Right Wing Fundamentalist. Having this man in the VP slot, which is clearly what he’s angling for, could possibly sheer off moderate voters who would otherwise have voted for him.

    Interesting times, interesting times…

  4. I’ll buy that he’s a hawk. After that, some divergence.

    I’m less sanguine about your Point 2. He was one of the instigators of the “gang of fourteen,” and while he will probably nominate judges who are somewhat to the right, they will likely be far from “strict constructionists.” Given his history of “trying to reach across the aisle” and “get along,” it is in fact highly unlikely that he would nominate judges who are very far from a sort of squashy, mniddle-of-the-road orientation. His history of “reaching across the aisle” has generally seen him abandoning any pretense of principles. McCain/Kennedy was 98% Kennedy. McCain/Feingold was 95% Feingold. His history is to “reach across the aisle” – and turn into them. You need to have some convictions somewhere, something that you actually believe, and won’t be talked out of for the sake of “getting along” or any other reason.

    Your Point 4 is again not borne out by his record. he buys right into the “rich don’t pay their fair share” BS, voted against the Bush cuts, for the Clinton raises – and I don’t remember where he was with Reagan, but whaddaya think? Not to mention he’s totally bought into global warming, and the cost of supporting that nonsense is going to be beyond belief.

    McCain, Environmental Defense, the Center For Environmental whatever-it-is (I forget), and the Pew Center – they have united to support incredibly expensive carbon emission controls- and what is not broadly known is this bill he’s sponsored with Lieberman (right now, he’s a co-sponsor) is an energy-rationing bill, which puts a legal limit on the amount of energy that can be gotten from coal, oil, etc. – and there is a tax that kicks in whenever an energy company wants to raise its output. If a refinery wants to produce more gas, they have to pay to get permission. Who will that be who pays? That’ll be you, folks. In a country whose energy needs are only expanding, that’ll amount to just about the largest tax increase ever imagined. By anyone.

    “Can win” is not a basis for voting for anyone for anything. And even that may not be true: he beats Hillary in most polls, but if it’s Obama he may well not win, according to current polling.

    Far from perfect is absolutely correct, but it’s equally correct to say he just isn’t very good, either.

    I am not hugely enamored of the ease with which he lies, either. McCain is many things, but “okay” is probably not one of them.

  5. Look for Texas governor Rick Perry to be on the short list for a McCain VP.

  6. Here’s a link about the energy bill. $776 billion out of GDP. Real republican principles.

  7. […] Now, as predicted by Dick Morris, McCain is now the frontrunner. He wasn’t my first choice for the Republican nomination, but I can live with it. […]

  8. In some speech I’ve heard – maybe last night when good results started coming in? – he said something about the Republican party being the party “in which he had found a home for the last 24 years”…. I found this to be a curious comment. 24 years would be 1984. What party did he belong to before that? was he politically inactive? when did his military career end?

    Guess I’ll have to mosey over to his blog and see if I can find out something…!

    Got a candidate call last night (recorded) – from Sheriff Joe Arpaio. First one I listened to(out of 6 calls). He recommended voting for Romney. That was a bit of a surprise.

  9. Hi jj, I just heard a minute or two of it on the fly, but I think Rush Limbaugh was talking about the McCain/Leiberman energy-rationing bill this morning, including the restrictions and limits and what that will mean in terms of costs for carbon based energy, and also for every product that’s produced using such energy (doesn’t that mean EVERYTHING?). I shudder to think what the cost of living will be when these guys get going.

  10. McCain may be a hawk, but how does he effectively manage the war when the Dems are constantly nipping at Bush’s heels. I have to believe that if the Dems increase their majorities in Congress then they will defund the war. Then what?
    I have no doubt a very spiteful McCain would sign a new Fairness Doctrine bill, for example. McCain has already displayed his disdain for the Constitution.
    My roundabout point is that McCain is too much a social liberal and he would not hesitate to sign into law myriad liberal plans.
    On the positive side, I live in Will County, which borders Cook County (Chicago). Obama alone garnered about the same number of votes as all the Republicans combined. About 1 in 5 of my fellow residents voted. This county had traditionally leaned conservative, but now has had too Chicagoians move in and diluted the voting pool.

  11. Rockadalian makes a very good point. McCain is unlikely to be able to follow through on his good intentions, including Iraq and judges, because he’s going to be opposed by a Dem Congress. Who remembers what happened to the S. Vietnamese, despite the fervent support of the President.

    Furthermore, all the bad stuff he supports will be more likely to be enacted if HE is President, rather than Hillary. Very few Republicans will vote with Hillary on this nonsense, but many more will use the cover given by President McCain, and they will be joined by the Dems to pass business-suppressing regulations on Global Warming, and a lot of other “stuff”.

    I posted on this subject here:, saying that I think Ann Coulter may well be correct in saying that
    the country would be safer with Hillary than McCain. This has
    started quite a little discussion with my brother, but he hasn’t convinced me, yet.

  12. I don’t even hate Hillary or Obama; I just consider them profoundly foolish. Liberals refuse to accept economic inevitabilities due to deliberate blindness. I think their policies would be utterly ruinous. Their economics are ruinous, their social policies would be ruinous (ie, the War On Poverty leading to the ruination of the inner city, creating truly desperate conditions for the very people it was supposed to help.)

    I’m NOT a McCain supporter. I liked Romney’s positions more than McCain’s. In my case, I doubted Romney’s strength of principle and I thought he’d be likely to succumb under any sort of Democrat pressure on most issues.

    McCain makes quite a few statements I find just terrible. He takes a few positions I find alarming – especially on the religion of global warming. But on sum I still think his conservative principles are relatively sound, and he’s got proven backbone. Amidst his weaknesses he does have strengths.

    My only point was that the *extremity* of the sudden hatred for McCain seemed unreasonable and unfair. But then again, political battles lead to overheated responses, and the last ditch effort to “save Romney” can cause that kind of response.

    Some, such as Hannity and Laura Ingraham, were reasonable but perhaps only slightly over the top in their heat. Some, like them, listed their opposition to McCain with compelling point by point arguments. I continue to have deep respect for them and I continue to pay attention to anything they say. Others, and I won’t name them, were simply… utterly ridiculous… to me. They’ve lost any credibility with me and I wonder if they’ll get it back.

  13. btw, this is great satire, from Scrappleface.

    If only the Bush team had been smart enough and quick enough to actually say this!

    (2008-02-06) — President George Bush today intensified his push for the Senate to approve his $150 billion economic stimulus package because, the president said, “Hillary Clinton’s campaign staffers need those tax rebate checks pronto.”

    The remarks come on the heels of news that Sen. Clinton recently loaned her campaign $5 million, and word that some top aides may now work without pay, while rival Barack Obama raked in $32 million in January.

    In an impassioned plea to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, Mr. Bush said, “The thought that even one Clinton consultant might go to bed hungry, or have to start shopping at Wal-Mart, should be motivation enough for Sen. Reid to lead his colleagues toward rapid approval of the bill.”

  14. >>My only point was that the *extremity* of the sudden hatred for McCain seemed unreasonable and unfair.>>

    That’s a little like saying that when the guy stuck his head up from the barricades that the suddenness of his getting his head blown off seemed unreasonable and unfair.
    Prior to stepping up to run for President, McCain was just one of 100…the Senator from Arizona. If I didn’t like him, so what – he didn’t represent my state. When he announced his Presidential candidacy, however, he announced that he intended to represent _all_ of us, no matter which state we lived in. _That’s_ when you started getting the reaction of “not only ‘NO’, but ‘HELL ,NO’ “

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