Saturday, February 27, 2010

McCain Letter

This is a letter to the editor I sent to National Review during the Republican presidential primary fight. Ramesh Ponnuru was singing the praises of John McCain. I am posting it here because it is a good example of why in many areas so called moderation should not be tolerated. At the end of the letter I say that if McCain is nominated it will be time for some creative destruction. Here we are over 18 months later and that process has begun. We shall all be the beneficiaries.

It was shocking to read Ramesh Ponnuru's NR cover story, The Coming McCain Moment. In order to properly understand John McCain, a few modifications and additions to the article are needed.

McCain was a member of The Keating Five, where he traded influence for campaign contributions. It was long ago, but it plants a seed of doubt as to his willingness to sell influence.

Ponnuru says "He supported a scheme of taxes and regulations to fight smoking"...It was a scheme all right, hatched in the back rooms of liberal politicians and trial lawyers. McCain was the point man for legislation and the trial lawyers to punish American Corporations that had not only been operating legally, but had been given a hold harmless by the congress and the Surgeon General by virtue of warning labels on cigarette packages. This was a blatant attack on private property and a classic abuse of government power. It created a government backed feeding frenzy among trial lawyers costing (mostly the poor) billions of dollars, and provided a wealth of talking points for Democratic operatives.

Ponnuru says campaign finance reform is not the issue it once was. Perhaps he is right. But should conservatives support McCain who sponsored this restriction on free speech, enhancing the unelected Democratic media's power? By lending his name and support, the media misleadingly represented the bill as bipartisan. Bush's abandonment of principle by signing the bill in no way excuses McCain's part.

McCain fought Bush on interrogation methods for suspected terrorists. The author charitably explains this as a principled act resulting in part from his being a POW in Vietnam. I am not so charitable. I see this and many other positions he adopts as attempts to ingratiate himself to the mainstream media by joining in their Bush bashing flavor of the month.

McCain's support of "free market solutions" (lol) to global warming is somehow seen by the author as "more prescient than most conservatives." This presupposes global warming needs a "solution". Many disagree, and even under the highly questionable assumption that global warming is man made, and under the further questionable assumption that it will be harmful, nothing proposed by any group, McCain and Kyoto included, would make any meaningful change in the warming trend. McCain's position does however, once again, give ammunition to the enemy.

"McCain has never voted for a general tax increase" says Ponnuru. He surely advocated one. In the 2000 presidential campaign he took a page from the basic Democratic playbook and argued that we should raise taxes on the rich. I don't know if his understanding of economics is so poor that he believed it would be a good thing, or if he was trying to score cheap political points, but either one is roundly unattractive. It may not be a vote to increase taxes, but when he voted against the Bush tax cuts he got in bed with increases first cousin.

In 2000 McCain trashed Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. These men are/ were not perfect, but they represent a wide constituency and have done tremendous good for their followers and all Americans. Recently he went after Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, two highly ethical, highly accomplished, great Americans. If he believes what he said, he is out of step with the people in his own party. If he driven by political calculations, one must question his rationality.

How many of these misconceived initiatives can be excused as the behavior of a maverick, or a principled maverick as the press would say? Irrespective of Ponnuru's assertions to the contrary, he disagrees with far too many basic conservative principles. Should Republicans look the other way in order to get this RINO elected? Is he a political opportunist, or simply out of touch, and does it matter? If McCain is the best Republican hope, it is certainly time for some creative destruction.

John McCain's record indicates he is better qualified to be president of than President of the United States.

Michael Sall, Villanova PA

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