Friday, February 08, 2008

John McCain

With Mitt Romney's decision to suspend his campaign, the pundits would have you believe that John McCain is now guaranteed to be the Republican presidential nominee. He may well end up such, but I don't think it's anywhere near that certain; to this point, Sen. McCain has received less than half of the votes cast in Republican primaries, and if most of Gov. Romney's supporters go to Mike Huckabee, I think the convention could well end up deciding this race. (On the Democratic side, I think that's highly likely to happen. Heaven help Denver.) Still, the odds would seem to favor Sen. McCain at this point—which has a lot of the conservative talking heads completely apoplectic. "McCain's not a true conservative," etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum, combined with dark suspicions about his stability and the like.

Now, as a Navy brat, I know a lot of people who knew Sen. McCain back when he was still, say, LCDR McCain, and I trust them to have more of a perspective on the man than your typical pundit. Here's what one of them, as true-blue a conservative as anyone I know, had to say about him a while back (this is posted with permission):

Lt. John McCain was a flight instructor in VT-7 based at NAS Meridian, MS in the summer of 1964 while I was a student Naval Aviator there. Based on my observations and those of my best friend then and now, it is my opinion that the best thing that ever happened to him was doing hard time in the Hanoi "Hilton." He had a violent, hair trigger temper and was arrogant, self-serving and vindictive. Following his experience as “ground zero” of the Forestal fire (a lesser man would likely not even have survived that) he needed to find a way to get his now-denied combat experience to stay competitive for promotion. I have no doubt that he used his considerable political influence to immediately get a set of orders to CAG-16 deploying on the Oriskany.

During his tenure as a POW he demonstrated immense courage and resourcefulness. He was tough and I admire him greatly for the way he handled himself and I think that experience took the edge off of his most negative qualities. Just a side note here for those younger folks who may read this and for whom the Viet Nam war is little more than a few pages in a dusty history book, the gutty conduct of most of our POWs in that war was nothing short of incredible. And Senator McCain was right near the top.

I had the privilege of quaffing a couple of beers with him and a few of his pilots in Yuma following his repatriation while he was CO of VA-174 (the East coast A-7 RAG). He was mellow and gracious and a pleasure to be with then.

I was a big fan of his until he started his first run for president and I became aware of his inconsistent positions on several issues that I held dear. In short, he didn’t appear to have a coherent conservative worldview. I also think he blew his chance for the nomination in 2000 because he didn’t understand and embrace the evangelical grassroots. He had that block for the taking early on when they were still skeptical of W. Instead, he thumbed his nose at them (us) and lost the nomination. Most of the grassroots energy in the party comes from the so-called “Christian right” and McCain missed his chance (although he may never have been any more able to connect with them than, say, Hillary).

The problem with the entire Republican field is that there is no “Reagan conservative” anywhere to be seen so we are back to asking, “which one will we settle for?”

On the plus side: McCain is pro life, anti spending and spot-on on the WoT. Negatives are: Soft on immigration, voted against tax cuts and McCain-Feingold was a disaster that gave us Soros, Lewis et al. Also, have to give him credit—though I was unhappy with him at the time—for getting our Supreme Court nominees through.

Senator McCain may end being my man though I think the governor from Arkansas is the best of the bunch in debate and thinking on his feet.

Now, this is far from pure adoration of the "he's the ideal candidate" type. Clearly, he isn't. However, while there are certainly reservations here about McCain (reservations which I share), I don't think there's reason for hysterical opposition, either. Yes, he's a man of great pride and greater temper who can be a bit short in the fusebox; no, that doesn't make him "unstable" (the kindest insinuation I've heard). And yes, he's spent too much time poking conservatives in the eye, and yes, he needs to give up the adulation of the NY Times and come back to his conservative roots on some things; but I agree with John Weidner: once he's no longer a thorn in Bush's side, but instead the guy standing between the MSM's favored candidate and the White House, the NYT's gloves will come off, and that will solve the problem.

The bottom line: if Sen. McCain is the nominee, I think folks like Rush who are suggesting conservatives are better off if he loses have gone clean 'round the bend. As Dan Lehr says, if he isn't the nominee we wanted, we need to grow up and get over it. Two reasons: one, we will get far better judges out of Sen. McCain than out of Hillarack Oblinton (two peas, one pod). Even if you don't trust him on nominations, anyone he'll come up with will be much, much better than anyone either of those two would put forward. And two, he will prosecute the GWOT, and probably far more effectively than the current administration; the Democrats will concede our gains. We have turned the corner in Iraq; we can't afford to be in thrall to those who want us to turn back around it. I'm still voting Huckabee in Indiana, but if it's McCain in November, then my vote is McCain all the way.


Danny Vice said...

While I fully understand the angst of Conservatives in their policy opposition to John McCain blunders like Illegal immigration, Conservatives are beginning to amaze me in their inability to see what's really at stake here. This election is about more than McCain and his inability to follow conservative principals.

Many talk radio hosts to battle a McCain nomination that is already a done deal. Even Focus On The Family Director Dr. Dobson (who I admire ) has declared his refusal to vote for McCain.

This astonishes me because it’s the same as saying “if I don’t get the conservative I want, I’ll let the country go to hell in a hand basket:” . Now how in the xXxX is handing the whole country over to liberals the answer to McCain?

Anti McCain commentators such as Rush Limbaugh have ventured the idea that perhaps we should sit this election out and let the Dems have a term in office, claiming it might pave the way for a future shot at a candidate he and others will like in four years.

Imagine the damage our country will endure if Democrats control all three branches of government for 4 to 8 years.

This would give liberals what they will treat as a clear sign from America that is it ready to move sharply to the left. Not slightly to the left.

Conservatism will lose most of it’s teeth and the liberal agenda could easily reverse all of the progress we’ve made in the war on terror, Tax reduction, Pro Life, and other extremely important issue.

We can always address the issue of immigration again in 4 years. What we cannot afford to see happen is a liberal agenda that makes illegal immigration the least of our country’s problems. Our country may be so torn up, it won’t have the time to even visit the issue, like we can today.

There is no such thing as a quick recovery from 4 years of liberalism unchecked. We may be facing what will take years and years of damage to undo. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that it WILL be undone. The passage of even one single liberal law is extremely difficult to outlaw - as if Roe V Wade hasn’t taught us this already!

As Evangelical Conservatives know, Pride commeth before the fall, and I hope they will study that verse before deciding to approach this election with dismay rather than enthusiasm.

Wear nose plugs if you have to - but this is the man our party has chosen and griping relentlessly about it only assures you 4 to 8 years of Hillary care. Now how in Blazes is THAT the right answer?

Questioning McCain was right and highly useful for a time and a season. Many of us wish we had acted sooner to support Romney or Huck.... But staying home on election day allows liberals a pass to capture all THREE branches of Government. Do you want your kids growing up in that kind of environment?

I'm not asking anyone to sacrifice their own belief or convictions, but we have a serious serious problem here, that we can't afford to fall asleep on. Too many of our men and women have died in Iraq, just to hand the whole government over to liberals who have already vowed to throw away all that we've accomplished there.

Please think twice before bailing out on our party on election day. We need every single warm blooded body possible to make darn sure our country isn't sacked by a pure liberal agenda that is left unanswered. Punishing McCain by staying home doesn't hurt McCain. It hurts our Party.

Give it some thought, friends.

Danny Vice

Rob said...

OK, this looks to me like a form comment intended as much as anything to generate hits for your blogs (which aren't, btw, particularly impressive). Still, that doesn't make what you have to say unworthy of comment, so I'll leave it up. From your blogs, you don't look all that much like an evangelical conservative, but I'll certainly second you on the need for humility, and the real difference between a term or two of McCain and a term or two of Oblinton.

Danny Vice said...

No Rob, I'm here reading your comment...

My blogs are in fact with purpose, as they are aimed at putting a spot light on those who molest and rape our children.

Read the articles...

our laws are so watered down that most offenders do little to no jail time - and so I've gone to another resource - public pressure.

But you are right... I do not inject my faith directly into those blogs, as I'd lose 50% of the audience I want to appeal to - to get laws stengthened that protect our kids.

Yes, it's a trendy appeal blog... which gets my articles ranked high in Google, but that's the method I'm using to get the message to more people.

And I know you can appreciate that.

But as to your blog's article here. I most certainly feel strongly that conservatives just cannot afford to sit this one out.

Especially since liberals have the wind in their sails following a long, draining war.

A John McCain, as liberal as he is, may help us avoid a complete departure from conservative values over the course of the next few years.

We will have less damage to recoup when we get our next chance.

Hopefully Romney will run, as he'll be a seasoned candidate by then.

Who knows...

All I know is a liberal mandate would reverse much of what we've built during the Bush Presidency...and those have been very very hard fought victories.

Danny Vice
no tag =)

Rob said...

I'm glad to hear that. (One does get a little cynical from the tricks people play . . .) I certainly agree with you about the importance of not rolling over and conceding this round, especially as I don't think McCain is really all that liberal; that's a perception, I believe, that's based more on a few high-profile pieces of legislation and a lot of media wishful thinking than it is on reality.

Thanks for your comments.