September 27, 2006
McCain Has Disqualified Himself for the Presidency
If you look
at any of the early polling for the 2008 Republican presidential race,
you will see the same two names at the top: John McCain and Rudy
Giuliani. I have no doubt that this is due to name recognition and a
liberally biased media wanting to promote the two most liberal
Republicans they can, rather than that the GOP rank-and-file are really
all that fired up about either man.
Nevertheless, having that sort of attention builds its own momentum. And
by the time the first primaries roll around a little more than a year
from now, the GOP may find that it has no choice but to accept a liberal
candidate (likely paired with a strong conservative running mate) in
order to keep Hillary Clinton out of the Oval Office. That risk
notwithstanding, I cannot in good conscience support John McCain. In
fact, I find him to be fundamentally unsuitable and unfit to hold the
most powerful office in the world for the following reasons:
Campaign finance. The President takes an oath to "preserve, protect and
defend the Constitution of the United States," so help him God. Yet by
sponsoring the McCain-Feingold “campaign finance reform” law, Sen.
McCain deliberately and knowingly trashed the First Amendment solely to
protect incumbent congressmen and senators from electoral competition.
There could not be a more flagrant violation of our most fundamental
constitutional rights than to silence and muzzle political speech at
election time. Yet that is exactly what he did with the help of his
fellow politicians, President Bush (who was too scared of media backlash
to veto it as he should have) and five Supreme Court justices (who
didn't throw the McCain-Feingold law out as they should have). Someone
so caught up in his own power that he would even consider, much less
perpetrate, such an offense against the Constitution has disqualified
himself from the presidency before ever running for it.
Media darling. In line with the above, anybody whose main constituency
is the mainstream media is not suitable to the presidency. The main
reason they supported him in his Constitution-trashing was that doing so
would increase their power. The mainstream media would be the only
outlet for electoral information, since much direct advertising would be
illegal. And you can bet they would use this monopoly to aid (however
informally, for the sake of plausible deniability) whatever candidates
they wanted to win (liberals and Democrats).
GOP traitor. This logically follows the previous reason. McCain has
gone out of his way to stab the GOP in the back, solely to curry favor
with the media, who lovingly call him a "maverick" for doing it. If he
thinks he can just swoop back in and get the GOP base to fall behind
him, even with the specter of Hillary looming, he's got another thing
coming. Those bridges have been burned and McCain cannot re-cross this
Rubicon. Whatever conservative principles he may once have had, he threw
away for short-term popularity, as we also see with his on-again,
off-again relationship with President Bush, whom he alternately embraces
and undermines, depending on which is most politically expedient at the
Prisoner treatment. Senator McCain's behavior on the terrorist prisoner
treatment bill has been nothing short of deplorable, if mystifying. I
know what you're thinking as you read that: "But he was a prisoner in
Vietnam! Who else would know better? How dare you pass judgment
on someone who served, sacrificed and suffered so?" But that's exactly
the point. McCain's personal history makes his position all the more
incomprehensible. He admits that torture affected him, but then claims
treatment of a less severe nature than what he received - sleep
deprivation, noise bombardment, etc. - would have no effect on Al Qaeda
captives. (Never mind how quickly Khalid Shaikh Muhammad cracked and
sang like a canary.) Is he inadvertently saying that our present
treatment is too soft to be effective? Or that the average Al Qaeda
terrorist is mentally tougher than he was? Frankly, I've given up even
trying to determine a coherent position out of this contradictory
rule in war against an enemy as ruthless as Al Qaeda is victory. And if
McCain cannot bring himself to do what has to be done, for whatever
reason, when the number one responsibility of the president is
protecting the country as Commander-in-Chief, then he's not fit to hold
the office. His past, however heroic and noble, and however much credit
he deserves for it, is irrelevant.
to be seen whether McCain can get the GOP nomination, and what he may do
if he does not. If he's half the Republican he still routinely claims to
be (though he rarely behaves like it), he'll fall in line and support
the party’s nominee. If it's Giuliani, this is a distinct possibility.
If it's a rock-ribbed conservative, I wouldn't count on it. Then it
becomes a question of whether McCain launches a Quixotic,
media-supported, independent run ala Ross Perot.
hope it doesn't come to that, but there is no way I'm going to presume
it couldn't. And if the only way McCain can win over conservatives is to
use the specter of Hillary – pointing out the only alternative is
demonstrably worse – that says it all.
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