Why I Won’t Be Voting For John McCain
Every time I post something about the problem for liberty-minded conservatives with the direction the Republican Party has been taking since the first George Bush administration, I get a lot of pushback that can generally be divided into two types. The first comes from what I call “Shit Sandwich Republicans,” because that is exactly what they are more than willing to eat, as long as the filling bears the label “Made by the GOP.” These are the types who often lapse into hysterics if somebody refuses to swallow their “lesser of two evils” logic, and who would cheerfully vote for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John McCain if any of them achieved the status of official Republican nominee. They can safely be disregarded as being beyond hope, help, or argument. Their political reactions are as reflexive as those of a flatworm, although not quite as intelligent or reasoned.
The second type is that for which this post is written: Here is an example from a commenter named Scott Martin:
Iâ€™m still confused about the intensity of the hatred towards McCain. I know he has bucked the conservative movement on a few occasions but the level of animosity is amazing.
I don’t ipso facto ascribe this sort of response to wilful stupidity or robotic submission to a political party, but I do ascribe it to ignorance. And the cure for ignorance is facts. If you can read the following and still vote for John McCain, fine. But don’t consider that you are doing yourself, your country, or your party any favors.
1. The McCain-Snowe-Dorgan S. 2328, Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2004.:
This is a scheme cooked up by McCain and two other liberals to permit US drugs exported to Canada to be reimported to the US at the controlled prices Canadians pay for those drugs. The libertarian Cato institute, nominally a fan of free-er trade, hates this idea:
Indeed, the sponsors of this bill have issued statements that indicate that they really do want to force prices toward equalityâ€”but equality at levels set by socialized medical systems abroad. Sen. Dorgan writes, for example, â€œThe Pharmaceutical Market Access Act would create a competitive marketplace so that Americans can purchase FDA-approved drugs at the much lower prices available in other countries.â€69 Sen. Edward Kennedy, a bill sponsor, echoes that view: â€œBipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Dorgan, Snowe, McCain, Daschle, myself, and others will, at long last, give American patients a fair deal. . . . It will enable U.S. consumers to buy FDAapproved drugs at the same fair prices as they are sold abroad.â€70Taking a swipe at drug companies in the process, Sen. McCain defends securing that result with the measures just noted: â€œPutting profits before patients, [drug companies] have limited the supply of pharmaceuticals to Canadian pharmacies and wholesalers who export to the United States. . . . . [O]ur bill seeks to close potential loopholes that would allow companies to game the system and unfairly discriminate against pharmacists or wholesalers.â€71 And in a frequentlyasked- questions sheet that Sen. Snoweâ€™s office issued when S. 2328 was introduced, the sponsorsâ€™ misunderstanding of market principles is clearly indicated: â€œ[This bill] merely extends the benefits of free trade to buyers of prescription drugs. . . . Drug manufacturers today are subverting the free market by charging higher prices to Americans for drugs than they charge to patients in other countries. . . . â€72 If market practices donâ€™t â€œforceâ€ uniform prices, these senators apparently will. But under current conditions, those will not be market prices. Instead, they will be prices set by foreign diktat.
Think about it: “Drug prices set by a foreign diktat…at levels set by socialized medical systems abroad…”
There are more ways to socialize your medicine than you believed, my friend. And John McCain knows all of them. This is nothing more than a back-door method to institute price controls on the drug industry. I can think of no better “prescription” for the destruction of one of the glories of American medicine than that.
2. Mccain-Feingold – The infamous assault on the First Amendment primarily and doggedly pursued by John McCain: Here is commentary from various angles.
In McCain-Feingold’s Wealth of Hypocrisy, George Will addresses the not-much-mentioned aspects of what some have called McCain’s “Incumbent Protection Act”:
Davis wants the Supreme Court to rule that the Millionaires’ Amendment unconstitutionally burdens the First Amendment right of political advocacy and violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the law. The Millionaires’ Amendment does both — and it reveals how the corruption rationale for campaign finance regulation is a charade.
And Reason Magazine takes on McCain’s pet bill from the statist tyranny point of view regarding its unconscionable abridging of the most precious aspects of our First Amendent guarantees of freedom of political speech:
For the first time in many years a sliver of optimism has peeked through the dark cloud of free speech suppression and political oppression brought to us courtesy of Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) these past five years.
And do keep in mind that even today McCain has no regrets whatsoever about his unconstitutional assault on our liberties, and, in fact, values “clean government” over the Constitution itself:
“He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform….I know that money corrupts….I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, Iâ€™d rather have the clean government.”
I’m sorry, but this is not the stance of a man who loves our constitutionally-guaranteed liberties. It is, instead, the approach of a man who will even betray his sacred oath to support the Constitution in order to achieve his own politically self-aggrandizing goals. Unfortunately, this is not an anomaly. It is, rather, a thread that runs through Senator McCain’s entire career.
3. Mccain-Kennedy – The Amnesty and Open Borders Act:
First, the Heritage Foundation destroys McCain’s ludicrous protests that his bill wasn’t an amnesty:
Undeniably Amnesty: The Cornerstone of the Senateâ€™s Immigration Proposal
Everyoneâ€”from President Bush to his critics to
Ted Kennedyâ€”is dead set against â€œamnesty,â€ and
yet the word overshadows all else in the immigration
debate. Despite its proponentsâ€™ claims to the
contrary, amnesty is the cornerstone of the Senateâ€™s
immigration bill. Indeed, this legislation, with its
many provisions, guarantees one thing only: that a
population of individuals defined solely on the basis
of their illegal status will receive legal status and a
privileged path to permanent residency and citizenship.
Next, Mark Levin blasts it from the border security aspect:
It bothers me to no end that those who write so eloquently about national security ask that we downplay McCainâ€™s record on border security, given that 9/11 hijackers used our still-broken immigration policies and unsecured borders to attack us.
The most salient fact about McCain and his amnesty for illegal aliens efforts is not just the self-aggrandizing aspects of attempting to offer amnesty to illegals, but the familiar contempt for law when it gets in the way of his ambitions.
Just as he would trash the First Amendment for his notion of “clean government,” he would trash immigration and border laws for his notion of “comprehensive immigration reform (amnesty and open borders).
Keep in mind that McCain also voted for the Vicente Fox-approved amendment that would have given veto power to the Mexican government over any efforts on our part to build a physical fence along our border with Mexico.
He also voted for the Specter amendment, which provided that the government of Mexico, among others, would have to be consulted before building physical barriers along the southern border. Six months later, McCain says he was wrong.
He gets it now. Secure the border first. I donâ€™t believe him. And as others have pointed out here and elsewhere, he still supports amnesty despite claiming otherwise. The American people said â€œhell no!â€ It wasnâ€™t that long ago that he suggested they were motivated by racial animus rather than good thinking.
4. The Mccain-Edwards-Kennedy tort lawyers wet dream, otherwise known as “The Patient’s Bill of Rights.”
Heavy hitters Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), John Edwards (D-N.C.), and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) joined a smattering of influential congressmen for a confident display of legislative resolve. A few hundred enthusiastic interns and union representatives waived signs and shouted frantically, oblivious to the rising late-morning heat. Republican presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain was part of the main display. He was there to bask in accolades, having crafted the proposed legislation in “maverick” bipartisan fashion with Ted Kennedy.
The Club for Growth was on to him, too:
A deeper look at Senator McCain’s record, however, reveals a number of votes and bills that reflect much less favorably on his commitment to free market principles and his claim to being an economic conservative.
Most egregious is Senator McCain’s leadership role in two bills that would have drastically restricted free enterprise. The first was the Patients’ Bill of Rights, which he sponsored with Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and former trial lawyer John Edwards (D-NC). The bill allowed the government to impose a set of onerous mandates on insurance coverage instead of allowing individuals to make their own decisions about healthcare plans in the marketplace.
5. The Keating Five Corruption Scandal: Again, Mark Levin sums this one up:
McCain was one of the so-called “Keating Five” senators. He was investigated by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics in 1991 regarding the acceptance of favors from Lincoln Savings & Loan Association (Lincoln) and its owner, Charles H. Keating, Jr. Simply put, the issue was whether McCain and the other senators used their official positions to attempt to pressure Federal Home Loan Bank Board officials to go easy on the troubled institution. Eventually Lincoln went bust, costing depositors and taxpayers millions.
In its final report (November 20, 1991), here is what the Senate Select Committee on Ethics concluded about McCain’s conduct:
“Mr. Keating, his associates, and his friends contributed $56,000 for Senator McCain’s two House races in 1982 and 1984, and $54,000 for his 1986 Senate race. Mr. Keating also provided his corporate plane and/or arranged for payment for the use of commercial or private aircraft on several occasions for travel by Senator McCain and his family, for which Senator McCain ultimately provided reimbursement when called upon to do so. Mr. Keating also allowed Senator McCain and his family to vacation with Mr. Keating and his family, at a home provided by Mr. Keating in the Bahamas, in each of the calendar years 1983 through 1986.
“â€¦[F]rom 1984 to 1987, Senator McCain took actions on Mr. Keating’s behalf or at his request. The Committee finds that Senator McCain had a basis for each of these actions independent of the contributions and benefits he received from Mr. Keating, his associates and friends.
“Based on the evidence available to it, the Committee has given consideration to Senator McCain’s actions on behalf of Lincoln. The Committee concludes that, given the personal benefits and campaign contributions he had received from Mr. Keating, Senator McCain exercised poor judgment in intervening with the regulators without first inquiring as to the Bank Board’s position in the case in a more routine manner. The Committee concludes that Senator McCain’s actions were not improper nor attended with gross negligence and did not reach the level of requiring institutional action against him. The Committee finds that Senator McCain took no further action after the April 9, 1987 meeting when he learned of a criminal referral.
Levin notes the typical McCain hypocrisy:
McCain was the only Republican implicated in the Keating Five scandal, yet today he lectures his party and his president about “the corrupting influence” of money in politics. He rails against the so-called “wealthy special interests” and their ability to buy access to elected officials, yet this is precisely what the Keating Five scandal was all about. And, of course, under McCain’s current standard, a politician who takes a principled position that may benefit a donor is corrupt, even if no law has been violated.
The John McCain of old should be thankful that his political fate wasn’t determined by John McCain the reformer.
6. McCain’s attack on swift boat vets:
But the 60-second television commercial, being aired in three battleground states in the presidential race, sparked a furious response Thursday from Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, who called the ad “dishonest and dishonorable” and urged the White House to condemn it.
Of course, there was nothing dishonest or dishonorable about the charges brought forth by the Swift Boat Veterans, as this extensively argued and supported post by John Hindraker at the Power Line Blog amply demonstrates:
So: what I wrote, in connection with the nomination of Sam Fox, was precisely correct. The only ad that engendered significant factual dispute was the first one, relating to Kerry’s medals. Otherwise, there is little or no disagreement about the facts. As I wrote: “Most of what the Vets said in their ads has never been disputed, let alone discredited.”
Of course, never let it be said that John McCain let the truth get in the way of him defending his liberal-left pals against the honest truth about them from concerned conservatives.
7. John McCain’s class warfare against â€œthe richâ€ and the Bush tax cuts:
First, the Club for Growth:
Second, Senator McCain’s stated reason for opposing the Bush tax cuts rhetorically allied him with the most radical anti-growth elements of national politics. Senator McCain argued, “I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.” Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) sounded a similar theme, saying, “Now, they are proposing more of the same, more tax breaks benefiting only the wealthiest among us,” as did Democratic Representative Maxine Waters (CA-35): “I voted against the Republican tax cut plan, which is an irresponsible tax cut that will further undermine the nation’s struggling economy at the expense of middle-class American families.” Senator McCain’s eager embrace of grossly inaccurate class-warfare demagoguery demonstrated, at best, a painful ignorance of pro-growth economic principles.
And at worst, McCain’s usual concern for his own political future at the expense of any principle even remotely conservative. Human Events agrees:
John McCain’s Top 10 Class-Warfare Arguments Against Tax Cuts
But that isn’t all: McCain has waved the flag of class warfare elsewhere, too: Check out his opposition to the abolition of the Death Tax:
“I am concerned that repeal of the estate tax would provide massive benefits solely to the wealthiest- and highest-income taxpayers in the country.” â€“ Sen. John McCain (Sen. John McCain, “Statement Of Senator John McCain On H.R. 8, The Death Tax Elimination Act,” Press Release, 6/11/02)
He waffles back and forth on this, but always returns to his class warfare roots:
Sen. McCain: “I Think The Estate Tax Level Ought To Be At About $10 Million, And Then At Approximately 15% In Taxes At That Point.” SEN. MCCAIN: “I think the estate tax level ought to be at about $10 million, and then at approximately 15% in taxes at that point. In other words, so we take care of 99% of the family farms, businesses in America. … not complete elimination of the estate tax, but certainly at a level that would take care of 99Â½ % of all American families, farms, and businesses in America.” (Iowans For McCain YouTube Website, www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfI_KJACAvg, Posted 12/17/07)
He’s in great company, though. His pal Ted Kennedy, with whom he has hatched so many liberal legislative landmarks, is in full agreement:
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): Death Tax Cut Goes To â€œOnly The Wealthiest.â€ SEN. KENNEDY: â€œNow, they are proposing more of the same, more tax breaks benefiting only the wealthiest among us.â€ (Sen. Ted Kennedy, â€œStatement By Senator Edward M. Kennedy On Defeat Of Estate Tax Repeal,â€ Press Release, 6/8/06)
Liberal vultures of a feather, I guess.
8. McCain’s “Gang of 14” betrayal of his party in favor of Democrat filibusters against GOP judicial nominations: Mark Levin and Andy McCarthy have the goods.
McCain and the Gang of 14
Thereâ€™s no defending it.
By Andrew C. McCarthy & Mark R. Levin
In their attempt, in a Weekly Standard article, to defend Senator John McCainâ€™s elevation of senatorial privilege over efforts by the Bush administration and the Right to get conservative judges confirmed, Adam White and Kevin White miss important points, simultaneously providing an incomplete version of history.
McCain never met a Republican back – especially a conservative Republican back – he wouldn’t knife in service to his own overweening political ambition.
And as for those poor saps who think they must vote for McCain in order to get conservatives nominated to the Supreme Court, there is this:
John Fund nails it:
More recently, Mr. McCain has told conservatives he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief Justice John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito, because “he wore his conservatism on his sleeve.”
Therein lies the problem that many conservatives have with John McCain. It is the nagging feeling that after all of his years of chummily bonding with liberal reporters and garnering favorable media coverage from them that the Arizona senator is embarrassed to be seen as too much of a conservative.
Of course, McCain denies it, but as is often the case, his memory seems a bit, um, faulty:
I found what McCain could not remember: a private, informal chat with conservative Republican lawyers shortly after he announced his candidacy in April 2007. I talked to two lawyers who were present whom I have known for years and who have never misled me. One is neutral in the presidential race, and the other recently endorsed Mitt Romney. Both said they were not Fund’s source, and neither knew I was talking to the other. They gave me nearly identical accounts, as follows:
“Wouldn’t it be great if you get a chance to name somebody like Roberts and Alito?” one lawyer commented. McCain replied, “Well, certainly Roberts.” Jaws were described as dropping. My sources cannot remember exactly what McCain said next, but their recollection is that he described Alito as too conservative.
And Andy McCarthy exposes the flimsy depth of McCain’s understanding in differentiating between Roberts and Alito:
But if Ramesh is right, this is suggestive of unseriousness. Youâ€™ve got to be on drugs if you think Chief Justice Roberts is inherently more acceptable to liberal Democrats than Justice Alito. I mean, câ€™mon: This canâ€™t be divorced from context. Roberts got a relatively easy time of it because, as it worked out, he was replacing Chief Justice Rehnquist. Confirming him made the Dems look reasonable at a time they were blocking Bush nominees to the Circuit Courts without changing the ideological balance on the court. It was a lay-up.
By contrast, Alito was replacing Justice O’Connor and thus shifting the Court to the Right. THAT, and not something about Alito that was purportedly absent in Roberts, is what impelled Democrats to rake him over the coals.
McCain has never let these little problems of accuracy and common sense, let alone depth of understanding, get in the way of what is important to him, which is, basically, whatever he wants to do.
9. McCain, Gitmo, and full constitutional rights for terrorists: It must be conceded that, thanks to his captivity in Vietnam, John McCain has ample personal reasons to abhor anything the he thinks smacks of mistreatment of prisoners of war. And that is perfectly okay, as long as his feelings are kept on a personal level. Unfortunately, when he elevates his personal feelings to the level of national policy in time of war, he goes badly off the rails.
Mark Levin explains:
One of the primary and most compelling criticisms of the Clinton administration’s approach to terrorism was that it treated terrorism as a criminal rather than national-security matter. The enemy declared war on us years earlier, attacking various U.S. targets and killing U.S. citizens, and we indicted them if we could muster enough evidence. Despite 9/11, today many in Congress and the judiciary, with prodding by the media and left-wing (legal) activists, continue to treat the war on terrorism as Clinton did. And one of the most vocal sponsors of this approach is John McCain.
Levin sums up:
It just so happens that in each of these casesâ€”detention, interrogation, and intelligence gatheringâ€”McCain has adopted the litigation agenda of some of the most radical antiwar activists, including the ACLU. If Mona Charen decides to update her book Useful Idiots, she might want to add a new chapter.
Indeed. For McCain, the personal is indeed political. Perhaps not so much for the rest of us who worry about the safety of our country, rather than non-existent civil rights for terrorists.
10. Is McCain, the current front-runner for the GOP nomination, even a Republican? Maybe not so much as you thought.
“I believe my party has gone astray. I think the Democratic Party is a fine party, and I have no problems with it, in their views and in their philosophy.”
McCain said this in 2004 when speaking at a DEMOCRAT Party shindig at the time he was being TOUTED by the MSM and quite a few Democrats (and maybe McCain himself?) for a possible shot as Kerry’s VP nominee.
He thinks the GOP has gone astray, but the Democrats haven’t. Therefore, we must vote for him, because he’s not a Democrat. Of course, he came with a hair of changing even that:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.) famously announced his decision to become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions.
In interviews with The Hill this month, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and ex-Rep. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) said there were nearly two months of talks with the maverick lawmaker following an approach by John Weaver, McCainâ€™s chief political strategist.
I think the GOP would be far better off today if McCain had followed through and removed himself from the political party he apparently has little use for except as a vehicle for his own vaunting ambitions.
Okay, this has metastasized far out of what I originally started with – although when discussing John McCain’s betrayals of principle, overweening ambition, dishonesty, oath-breaking, and his general role as anathema for liberty-minded conservatives, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface here.
Other have also taken significant whacks at John McCain’s feet of clay. Read’em and weep for your country, your party, and your future.
The Real McCain Record
If anyone has lingering doubts that Sen. John McCainâ€™s current success rests more on image than issues, one need look no further than his own campaign and supporters.
Meanwhile, Republicans should not take too much comfort from McCain’s performance in polls against Clinton and Obama this far from November. The McCain I saw in the California debate last week didn’t look particularly electable. With the economy emerging as the overwhelmingly central issue in the campaign, with McCain’s nasty streak increasingly on display, and with his reputation for straight-talk diminishing before our eyes, I’m not prepared to base a vote for the Senator on electability.
The decision thus comes down to policy and effectiveness. I give Romney the edge on both counts.
Rick Santorum says that when he was in the Senate, there were three parties — the Democratic party, the Republican party, and the McCain party. This is an exaggeration, but it contains some truth. Think of McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, “McCain-Byrd” (the gang of 14 deal), and now McCain-Lieberman.
He’s still saying he’d sign the fucking thing if it comes to his desk! Fucking still!
So the little bastard is telling us he “gets it” that we want border security first, and he promises to give that to us — unless 60 Senators pass a version of McCain-Kennedy without border security first, in which case, fuck border security, he’s signing it into law.
That’s it for now. I could go on, literally at book length, about why a vote for John McCain is a vote for the death of conservatism in the Republican party. Instead, I think I’ll leave the last bleakly ironic note to the inimitible Ace (although the thought has also crossed my mind):
Ace of Spades HQ
Which makes this story sadly ironic in a way. I remain convinced that had Mr. Irrelevant, Jim Jeffords, not jumped, and had his moment of glory for staging the one-man Senate coup, John McCain would have done so. And the GOP would not now be considering nominating him as the standard bearer.
So, if McCain can convince the country to elect him President, he’ll have Jim Jeffords, and his desire to beat McCain to the punch, to thank.
Which doesn’t make me feel any better about the prospect of a McCain nomination.
As you may have by now figured out, me, either.
Oh, and Scott Martin: If, after reading all of this, you still find yourself “confused,” you’re not really confused. You’re willfully hiding your head in the sand.